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The 1-2-3 Guide to Retaining Contact Center Employees

Low call center employee retention is a major problem for companies of all sizes. Historically, call center turnover rates have ranged from 30 to 45 percent. These numbers are still about the same today – Calabrio’s Health of the Contact Center 2021 report revealed that one in three agents is considering leaving their job within a year.

High turnover can lead to a range of issues. Low morale. High training and onboarding costs. And, inconsistent customer support.

If you want your company to excel at customer service, you need to address call center retention. To do this, there are a few steps your business can take. First, make sure your employees have the tools they need. Two, provide enough support. And three, give your contact center team the flexibility they need to thrive.

Let’s dive into the details of each of these steps so you know what you can do to help your contact center employees.

1. Empower Your Contact Center Agents with the Right Tools

The first question you need to ask is – do your agents have the tools they need to work effectively? Are they able to address customer concerns in a timely manner and through customer-preferred channels, or are they flooded with calls and wasting time on calls better suited to agents with specific experience?

In the Calabrio report, one in three agents said that their biggest challenge is too many customer calls. A large queue can put stress on your employees (96 percent of agents say they feel stressed at least once a week) and pressure them to rush calls, which can negatively impact customer service.

To resolve these issues, ensure your employees have the tools they need to work efficiently, such as:

  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to ensure all calls are answered and increase first-call resolution. IVR streamlines the call center process for both callers and employees.
  • Advanced call handling features such as callbacks and call classifications. These tools can reduce wait times and help agents mentally prepare before answering a call.
  • Smart routing that automatically directs callers to the right agent based on their skill or experience level. With this tool, agents aren’t wasting time redirecting calls to the proper agent.
  • Integrated systems so your agents can quickly access up-to-date customer information. Your contact center software should integrate with your other customer management and cloud communications tools so all relevant data updates in real-time.
  • Omnichannel options. Agents should be able to connect with customers via chat and email, as well as voice. This way, they can communicate using the channel the customer prefers.

2. Provide Ongoing Support

Another key to improving call center employee retention is support.

If agents are in over their head dealing with difficult customers or too many calls, they’re probably not feeling fulfilled at work. But identifying issues before they create employee dissatisfaction can be challenging for managers.

To help contact center managers understand where agents may be struggling, be sure to use a contact center solution with built-in reporting features and real-time time insights.

Advanced business intelligence will reveal where a negative trend is emerging so managers can jump in, explore the problem, and create a workable solution.

With call recording, managers can also assess how well agents are doing managing calls and determine who might need extra training.

3. Allow Your Team to Work Remotely

And finally, if you want to maintain a strong contact center team, give your agents the option to work remotely.

During the pandemic, the number of people working remotely jumped dramatically. This gave both employees and employers a taste of what could be – more flexible hours, lower real estate costs, less time wasted commuting to and from the office.

Now, most employees want to work for a company that lets them work from home, at least part-time. In Harvard Business Review’s July 2021 survey of 10,000 American employees, 80 percent said they want to work from home at least one day a week.  One-third want to work remotely the entire week.

Over 40 percent said they would quit or start working for a new job if their employer expected a full return to the office.

To keep your contact center employees, hybrid work should be a part of the equation. Allow your agents the freedom to work from home either full-time or part-time.

You can do this with cloud-based contact center software. With the right technology, agents should be able to log into advanced, feature-rich contact center software from home, make and receive calls, emails, and chat responses, and enjoy a high call quality.

You can also use tools such as video conferencing software with screen sharing, screen annotation, and engagement features for training and meetings. With cloud-based technology, it is possible to manage an effective contact center team and to provide a positive work experience for every member of that team.

Get Ready for the Post-Pandemic Contact Center

The reality is, a lot of businesses have already gone remote with their call center. According to a study done by Metrigy Research, by April of 2021, nearly three-quarters of the 524 participating organizations had decided to let their contact center agents work from home.

To be a company your call center employees want to work for, a remote work option is essential. You also need to provide them with the right tools and support so they aren’t struggling to do their job.

With today’s technology, any type of business – from small startups to global companies – can have a remote contact center. Find out how easy it is to support your agents with Intermedia’s Contact Center – a cloud-based solution that lets employees work from wherever.

About The Intermedia Team

Intermedia is a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and business applications provider hyper-focused on delivering easy-to-use and secure communication and collaboration solutions to SMBs and the partners that serve them. More than 120,000 business customers and 6,600 active partners rely on Intermedia for greater reliability and productivity.