Contact centers—or, as Evergreen calls them, contact care centers—are the backbone of many companies’ customer service operations. Employees within these centers are often the first line of contact for customers who have issues, concerns, or want to find out information. They’re responsible for diagnosing problems, escalating to needed parties, and ultimately helping a business run more efficiently, transparently, and effectively.
However, contact care centers often have high attrition rates associated with them. On average, contact care centers experience a 30-45% attrition rate, which is double the average turnover rate for companies in the U.S. That can be for many reasons, but we’re interested in how attrition rates can improve across the board. Before we get into that, though, let’s talk about what exactly attrition is and what causes it.
What is Attrition?
Attrition is the calculation of how many employees your company lost over a certain time period. This number is expressed in a percentage. This is the formula to figure out attrition: Attrition rate = (number of separations / average number of employees) x 100
For example, if you had an average of 100 employees over six months, and 20 left, you’d have a 20% percent attrition rate over those six months.
There are multiple types of attrition, including involuntary attrition (firing or laying off an employee), attrition due to retirement, internal attrition (moving from one team to another), and voluntary attrition, which happens when an employee chooses to leave the company. For the sake of this article, we’ll talk about how you can solve voluntary attrition from contact care centers.
Causes of Attrition
A high attrition rate can compound. As more employees leave, that can cause existing ones to reconsider their position on your team or at your company. Some of the primary causes of attrition are:
- Poor recognition and acknowledgement of one’s work
- Insufficient training
- Expectations for the position aren’t clear
- Poor company culture
- There’s no balance between work and personal time
- No leadership or growth opportunities
- Lack of compensation
Keeping these causes in mind, let’s talk about how we can address them.
Attrition Rate Solutions
When addressing attrition rates, here are three general solutions to guide your team or company in the right direction.
This may seem obvious, but hiring the right employees from the get-go can vastly improve your attrition rate. This starts from the job description to the interview process to onboarding. Here are some tips to improve your hiring process for a contact care center:
- Set expectations up front. The job description should clearly define the role, and the expectations should be consistent through the interview process and the candidate’s first couple of months of the job. Naturally, an employee may take on new responsibilities as they grow within the company, but be clear about what the first six months on the job will look like.
- Be transparent through the whole interview process about what you’re looking for in a candidate, where they’re at in the interview process, what next steps look like, and more.
- Mention growth opportunities if the job merits it. If it’s just a temporary project, though, be open about timelines.
You should also use the vetting process to see what a candidate wants out of the job. Does the candidate want a leadership role, but you’re looking for part-time work? That might not be a great fit. Lean into it when a candidate’s desires and your needs align, but you’ll only discover this with transparent conversations before they’re hired.
“Hiring right” extends to the onboarding process, too. If an employee isn’t properly trained, clear on the team’s/company’s vision or purpose, or aware of what success looks like, it may reduce their motivation to stick with the job.
Constantly Engage with Employees
Another step in retaining employees in contact care centers is through consistently engaging with them. Contact care centers are just like any other place of work. Regular check-ins with employees should be normal. How are they doing at their job? Where is area for improvement? Have they received great feedback from customers? Let them know!
Employees also need to know they “why” of what they’re doing. This can change with each center, and it can change over the course of time within a single care center. If you’re constantly engaging with employees, though, they’ll be aware of why they’re doing what they’re doing. Keep them up to date with goals and what the care center is trying to achieve. If they’re supporting a certain arm of the business, let them know how it will affect business or how their work has affected the team(s) they’re supporting.
Other ways to engage with employees include:
- Offer opportunities for growth and development
- Ask them for feedback on processes and procedures
- Find out if there are any additional tools necessary to do their job
If you’re consistently talking to employees, listening to them, and taking their feedback seriously, you’ll find more engaged and content employees.
Recognize and Acknowledge the Team’s Work
There are lots of ways to recognize an employee’s or team’s hard work. These include:
- Verbal Praise: Saying “great job” and letting an employee know specifics of how their work impacted the team is a great way of recognizing their work.
- Promotions: A promotion can be a direct acknowledgement of an employee’s work and trustworthiness.
- Cash Bonuses: Performance-based bonuses (or quarterly or yearly bonuses) can make an impact on an employee’s financial situation.
- Tangible Gifts/Parties: You can bring a team together with a party celebrating certain goals, or you can provide individuals with gifts—specific to the person—to let them know you recognize the work they’ve put in.
- Added Perks: An effective way of recognizing an employee comes in the form of perks, whether that be an extra day off, items to spruce up the workplace, or other individual/team benefits.
As we mentioned before, you also want to let employees know how their work has impacted the organization or the team they’re supporting. Connecting individual praise to the overall goal of the company can make them feel more connected to the purpose of the organization.