How to Attract and Retain Top Contact Center Talent

Attracting and retaining top customer service representatives is a crucial factor of contact center success. Yet CSRs have one of the highest turnover rates of any industry, easily between 30 and 45 percent.1 And under-performing agents can cost an average 300-seat contact center over $1.5 million annually.2

Most contact center operators know the importance of offering workers competitive pay, comprehensive training, clearly defined objectives, recognition and rewards, and the right tools to succeed. 

It's the most-successful contact center operators who also recognize that enabling remote and home workers can play a successful role in recruiting efforts and higher agent retention and performance. No other trend has had more of a positive impact on employee satisfaction.

It used to be that contact centers were centralized. The thought was that call consistency, analytics, operational expenses and communication would be superior to a de-centralized approach. But times have changed, and today's technology—especially the mainstreaming of cloud contact center solutions—is so scalable, secure and reliable that savvy managers are taking advantage of new workplace flexibility in order to cultivate new pools of contact center talent.

  

Get better recruiting results

Hiring agents with specialized industry experience can be a major challenge for centralized operators who depend solely on a local workforce. Recruiting and hiring "context-qualified" CSRs no matter where they live can reduce training time and improve first call resolution.

Once you've found the right rep, discuss and execute a formal telecommuter agreement that sets expectations for both parties. If you utilize a cloud-based contact center as a service solution (CCaaS), all your new agent needs is an Internet connection, computer, headset, and they'll be ready for business.

 

Enjoy higher retention rates and agent performance

Because CSRs are often the first contact customers have with your brand, it's vital to retain top talent who deliver the right tone in addition to great service. So it's important to note: retention rates for remote agents can be 30-50 percent greater comparedwith on-premise agents. 

Work-at-home agents feel empowered by the autonomy and trust shown by their employer. And the lack of commute, better work-life balance, and cost savings are real benefits. Permission to work from home can be a real motivator, and onsite employees will work hard to earn the right.

 

Keep agent workflow engaging

"Boredom" is often listed as a reason why employees leave. So is "stress." Balancing workloads and rotating duties are ways to boost employee job satisfaction. Workforce management applications integrate with the better contact center solutions, making this relatively easy.

The same technology that enables home agents can be used to scale your workforce up or down as volume demands.  And CCaaS solutions can handle spikes exceptionally well as you can create virtual contact centers on short notice from anywhere in the world.

Encouraging employees to work remotely offers companies more benefits than workforce retention. There are also compelling financial incentives.

 

Reduce facility and operational expenses

By moving employees out of a centralized facility, managers can shed hardware costs and eliminate operational overhead. And making the switch from an on-premise contact center system to an easily scalable cloud-based solution allows for pay-as-you-go monthly subscriptions, rather than upfront fixed-fee licensing.

Ziff Davis reports that 28 percent of operators deploying CCaaS do so "to enable rapid scalability." One can assume that these companies will use that scalability to become leaders in agent acquisition, retention and workforce management as well.

  

Related Resources: 

  

E-book: Practical/Tactical: The Process, Technology and Tactics to Maximizing Agent EfficiencyWhen you hire, train, motivate and monitor well, you can gain both quality and efficiency.

White Paper: 9 Reasons to Move Your Contact Center to the CloudExplore one compelling reason after another why now is the time to begin moving your contact center to the cloud. 

Case Study: NexRepThis BPO hires home agents exclusively and has a 90 percent retention rate for CSRs who work with the company for over one month. Learn what they're doing right.

 

 

1 http://www.qatc.org/winter-2015-connection/exploring-call-center-turnover-numbers/

2 Agent Desktop Optimization: Three Strategies to Maximize Agent Productivity &Customer Experience, Aberdeen Group, October 2015.

3 http://www.sitel.com/news/will-call-center-agents-working-from-home-be-the-demise-of-the-call-center-experts-say-no/#sthash.EVZTCv9x.dpuf"