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Improve employee retention in your call center

Valuable strategies for attracting and retaining the best employees

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Many businesses struggle to retain their best call center employees. It’s probably no surprise, as employees don’t typically view call center work as a long-term career option. After all, fielding calls from angry customers and working long hours can get old fast.

However, some of the best call centers are recognizing the high cost of turnover — an average of $4,000 to hire a new employee and another $4,800 to train them — and are doing something about it. You can, too.

Here are three proven strategies for attracting and retaining the best call center employees:

Invest in employees

Most call center employees leave their jobs because they feel they don’t have access to the support and training necessary to be successful. Matt McConnell, CEO
of Intradiem, a leading provider
of call center technology, says that those companies that have focused on training, engaging employees and developing clear career advancement paths have been the most successful in reducing turnover.

McConnell suggests establishing formal mentoring programs and supervisor-agent coaching programs. He also recommends communicating and advertising available training and career path opportunities.

Recognize good work

Everyone likes to be praised for
a job well done. However, it’s especially important to those working in challenging and stressful environments–like call centers. In fact, studies have shown that positive recognition motivates call center employees almost as much as an increase in pay. Recognition can come in many forms — tickets to a sporting event for top performers, written and broadcast recognition in newsletters and at staff meetings, even a simple “thank you.” Recognition doesn’t have
to cost you a thing, but it can pay off big time. HR World Magazine recently highlighted 25 free ways to reward employees.

Offer flexibility

A recent post on Call Center on Demand explored the connection between workforce flexibility and retention. Giving your agents the option to work from home can greatly reduce turnover and can prove to be more cost-effective for your company overall. Shifting to an at-home contact center model can also expand your pool of potential candidates beyond your local area. Of course, not every agent can work from home, but the most successful at-home call center agents tend to be older, more educated and more committed to their jobs.

In addition to offering your agents the ability to work from home, you can also consider offering flexible schedules. Employees appreciate the chance to set their own schedules, and you can expand your coverage times and service capabilities to meet customer demand. According to a recent article in Call Center Times, the approach can help reduce turnover “with schedules that work around the agent’s life instead of the agent’s life working around schedules.”

Turnover is an unfortunate reality in a call center. But, by taking some relatively simple and proactive steps, you can hold on to your best employees while making a positive impact on your bottom line.