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Focusing on Agent Retention and Customer Loyalty: How to Reduce Call Center Agent Turnover Amidst an Aggravated Economy

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August 03, 2012

Focusing on Agent Retention and Customer Loyalty: How to Reduce Call Center Agent Turnover Amidst an Aggravated Economy

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

When it comes to call centers, most research and news focus on customers and customer loyalty and how to retain them. In the wake of a shaky economy, however, call centers are now placing emphasis on their agents as well as their customers in an effort to maintain encouraging relationships on both sides.

1to1 Media highlighted a white paper that discussed the topic of improving loyalty of customers while maintaining agents. The fact of the matter is, call center managers need to focus on keeping their customers happy while simultaneously keeping their agents happy. When successfully achieved, the two can lead to financial success in the long run.

One major reason to reduce agent turnover is that, simply put, it’s is expensive. The cost of call center agent turnover has two components; hiring and vacancy costs. Hiring costs are the costs associated with recruiting a new call center agent, including job advertising fees, costs for screening, and the cost of interviewing and processing candidates. Vacancy costs include the cost of replacing the former employee, including compensation for interim replacement or overtime for work assumed by current staff, productivity losses, and loss of business knowledge.

For a call center that is minding their pennies, maintaining agents is key.

There are quite a few options to consider when strategizing a retention plan. As a call center manager, maintaining flexibility for employees is one sure fire way to keep those working happy. Flexibility also lets agents fit their job better to their individual lifestyle. Call centers have increased flexibility by offering virtualization as an option, meaning call center agents can work remotely, alleviating the stress of commuting and adding the comfort of working in their home offices.

Another way call center managers can retain their agents is by ensuring that they’re hiring good workers all around. An agent who feels isolated or finds fellow employees unfriendly and supervisors difficult, for instance, isn't likely to stick around. It’s up to call center managers to hire staff that can get along to preserve and increase team effort.

Above all, call center managers should value their employees. That alone will reap many benefits when it comes to retaining agents. Praise, individual recognition, daily performance reports, positive reinforcements – all do a call center good.

While employee churn may seem moot considering the number of available candidates due to the economic climate, it’s not so much the amount to pick from as it is about the cost to keep adding or replacing staff that can hit a call center’s coffers.

It’s always in a call center’s best interest to keep both its customers and its employees satisfied.

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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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