Live from NCOF: Antidotes for High Contact Center Turnover

Orlando, FL— A certain amount of turnover is inevitable in your contact center. But when employees leave you can lose productivity, knowledge, and profitability, so developing strategies for keeping more of your employees is crucial, said Kathryn Jackson, associate of Response Design Corp., during her session “High Turnover Antidotes Employee Retention in the Contact Center” on Tuesday.

Before you can combat turnover you must understand its cost. You can calculate this by adding the expense involved with recruiting, hiring, and training replacements to the cost of negative consequences, such as a decrease in sales or service levels. This helps you determine how much to budget to your retention efforts as well as better enable you to justify any retention-related expenditures to upper management.

That said, giving money to workers in the form of raises and bonuses isn’t necessarily the most effective way to stem turnover. “Money as a cure-all is a myth,” Jackson said. She referred to a study in which 75% of managers thought their employees were leaving because of money although in reality, money was very low on their list of reasons.

Some tactics that Jackson recommended for improving employee retention were cross-training employees and getting new agents up to speed faster.

Turnover decreases when your employees are engaged, Jackson continued. Engaged employees are energized and believe that their work has meaning. They will form meaningful and lasting relationships with colleagues and customers. The root of disengagement comes from poor supervisors. Employees who believe that the supervisor values their contributions are more likely to become engaged, so hiring the right front-line supervisors is crucial.

Hiring home-based agents can also boost your retention rates. There are an estimated 112,000 home-based agents in the U.S., and that number will triple by 2010. “They are more productive and will stay with you longer,” Jackson said.