Call centers have notoriously high turnover. The average turnover rate for a call center is 30-40%, but some centers see numbers as high as 100% in a single year. Hopefully, some of this turnover is due to the upward mobility of employees; in other words, people are getting promoted. Unfortunately, a lot of the turnover in call centers is external.
If high turnover is plaguing your call center, then you’re in the right place. We’ve got some helpful tips on how to decrease your attrition using exceptional recruiting and training practices.
Primary Causes of Employee Turnover
There are plenty of reasons that call center attrition tends to be higher than in some other industries. For instance, recruits may not fully understand what they’re signing up for with a call center job. These jobs are typically entry-level positions with lower salaries, and call center employees can deal with a lot of stressful conversations each day to burnout.
Some of these call center staffing challenges are easy to fix. For example, call center employees earn at least $30,000 per year to start a turnover rate of only 10% in the first six months of employment, whereas those who make about $25,000 turn over at a rate of over 25% in the first six months. That’s a big difference in attrition for a small difference in pay.
How Can Recruiting Practices Reduce Attrition?
Hiring call center employees who are ideal candidates for the job can be tough if you aren’t utilizing the correct tools. If you ask the right questions and use technology to your advantage, you’re probably going to have better luck.
Since the number one reason employees quit a call center is that they feel they aren’t right for the job, it’s easy to see where hiring the right candidates can help slow turnover rates. Here are some ways to use recruiting correctly to find the right people for your positions:
- Use pre-hire assessments
- Ask situational judgment questions during interviews
- Utilize past behavioral questions in interviews
- Analyze the candidate’s voice and tone
- Ask candidates to explain complex things as if they are talking to a child
- Look for strong metrics on resumes
When recruiting for a call center without using the ideas above, you’re putting pressure on yourself to see skills within a candidate that you wouldn’t easily notice in a regular job interview or conversation. You need to include questions that will show you how the candidate handles high-pressure situations, whether or not they are empathetic, and how well they solve problems.
When you spend all of your time hiring for call center candidates because you see high turnover, you’re likely aiming for quantity of interviews over quality. Changing your focus to quality might slow you down right now, but it will likely lead to less turnover in the future, and that’s worth the added time.
Improved Training to Slow Turnover
Once your recruiting practices are solidly in place to find the right employees, you’ll need to turn your attention to the employees you’ve already got on payroll. Investing in employee training is a great way to avoid high turnover rates.
Customers expectations of call center employees are higher than ever, and customers are mainly looking for three things from their call experience:
- Quick problem solving
- Personal interaction with employees
- Skilled employees
Luckily, when you’re hiring the right people for the job, you’re much more likely to have employees who can deliver the top two things from the get-go. It’s the skills and understanding of company materials and procedures that you’ll have to help your employees to achieve. Callers don’t want to wait for an employee to flip through a manual to find an answer.
How to Train Employees in a Call Center
Training employees in a call center can be just as tough as hiring for call center personnel. You want to ensure that your new hires know what they are getting into and feel comfortable, but you don’t want to overwhelm them on their first day. There are several steps you can follow to ease them into their new position.
Introduce the Team
To start an employee’s experience in a new job, you’ll probably want to introduce them to the team and company culture before you mention their role. Your new employee’s purpose is to help the company meet objectives and its overall mission and to do that; your employee will have to feel comfortable with their new team and managers.
Talk About the Company
Once your new hires have formally met their managers and team members, you’ll want to introduce it. New hires probably know the basics from their interview process, so this is your chance to detail the company’s values, mission, and short and long-term goals.
Explain the Rules and Start With “Why”
At this point in your training process, you’ll want to start explaining rules and recommendations. The best way to explain rules to new employees is to start with why. If you help your employees to understand why something is important, like attendance, for instance, then they are more likely to commit to it.
New hires aren’t often privy to how much a lack of attendance or schedule adherence on the part of a single employee can affect a call center. Giving them that information in concrete numbers and using relatable examples will help increase their willingness to abide by the job regulations.
Recruit Top Performers to Help
If you want all of your employees to perform at the level of your current top performers, then enlisting the help of those trusty employees is an excellent start. Using top performers in this way also builds their confidence and helps them to achieve even greater success.
Allowing recruits to see what a high-performing employee looks like helps them to understand their role. It also helps them feel like they can ask real questions about the job and get answers from those with their boots on the ground.
People who already work in the same role that your recruits will work in can help them to understand what their most frequent calls will look like and what customers need to hear within their interactions. They can answer questions at a different level than management, and help identify potential problems based on experience before new hires encounter them.
Explain Where to Find Answers
You can’t possibly train an agent on every scenario that they’ll encounter over their time with your company, but you can give them the tools to find the answers when they encounter something new. Giving your employees a place to look for answers helps to empower them, but it also helps to decrease the number of calls you’ll have to handle for new agents.
Remember Every Agent is Different
You’re bound to hire agents from all different experience and education levels. These differences can make it difficult to have a one-size-fits-all plan to train, and that’s okay. You should have a general training for company-specific information, but always have multiple levels of training prepared based on new employee needs.
Having a variety of training courses that focus on the various skill levels of your employees can help you train current employees when necessary and new hires. You can also enlist high performers to help with these more specific training pieces to take some of that burden off of your management team.
Hiring for call center agents is tough, but it’s especially tricky when you feel like you need to hire a large number of people regularly because of high turnover. Focusing on finding the right candidates and implementing the proper training from the beginning can help to bring down your attrition rate and build team morale.
Your goal should always be to decrease the external turnover you see within the first six months to a year of an employee’s career. There are multiple ways that you can do this, but solid training programs are arguably the most effective. You’ll always have people who aren’t cut out for the job, but most confident individuals can succeed if you train them properly.
Make sure your employees get to know their team and managers, understand what the company does, have access to answers when they have questions, and understand what top performers do differently to achieve success.
You should also ensure that you are hiring people who are willing to learn. During your recruiting process, asking the right questions is imperative to hire employees capable of being empathetic with customers and taking constructive criticism or suggestions from management.
There are call centers where turnover is incredibly low, and all of them have two things in common: great training practices and excellent company cultures. You can achieve both when you hone your recruiting and training practices using our helpful tips.