Being a call center or contact center agent is not easy. It’s a position in which you’re constantly potentially talking to people that aren’t happy. Right? You’re potentially in a position where you’re actually not given a lot of ability to make a lot of decisions on your own.
So, you have a limited decision-making ability, but then you also have potentially a lot of people that aren’t happy. That is a pretty stressful position which, among other things, results in high turnover.
What is it that you would say a contact center needs to do, outside of potentially making the environment fun, to be able to manage turnover? Or is that just a reality and it kind of just is what it is?
1. Define Company Culture
Yes and no. I think that there always is the nature of people thinking that this is a job for college kids, right? A job that “It’s kind of my first job and I’ll evolve into it.” And that’s okay. I think the biggest thing that most call centers do not do, and I’ll go back to what I said a couple minutes ago, is define your culture, right? And then hire off that culture.
2.Hire Based on Company Culture
So many organizations and call centers, they get a resume and they say wow, this is a really good rep, they worked at two other contact centers, they’ve worked in the industry for 25 years – probably an older rep. 25 years – it’s a long time, but that might not fit what we’re looking to do. They may not fit the type of program, the type of client, the type of organization that we are. So that’s a huge piece of it.
Recommended read: The Importance of Culture in an Organization, with Steve Bederman
3. Find a Way to Incentivize Attendance
The second thing is: attendance is always an issue. One of the things that we’re doing from an attitude standpoint that I think is super helpful – and we’ve raised our attendance by up to 30% – we’re paying our reps. So they get a base rate. Then they go on, as we call it, they go on a streak. Every single week that they work 100% of their schedule, they make another dollar. We can get up $4 to $5 depending on your program.
Not doing any more work. Right? Not having better stats, better occupancy. Literally just showing up, just coming to work, and then that builds. So an associate knows: if I come to work at Expivia, I get a chance to make a lot of money relative to any other call center in the area, just based on that.
4. Look at the Associate More Holistically to See What Drives Them
So we’re trying – again – to incent the things that are important. Instead of just saying: hey, you get a base rate and then if you have a couple sales, you’re going to get this. To look more holistically at the associate and say “a better associate is somebody that’s here – right? Those things are going to take care of themselves, but how do we get that associate here?
And then I think that helps a lot with your turnover when associates see that you’re kind of really trying to put the effort towards getting them more money, or certain things like that. I think it does help.
5. Gamification or the Culture of Fun
The other thing is your culture of fun. The call center is a difficult place – you know? You should have a game. We have a game going on – at least we did, you know, when everybody was here, we’re still working through some of that stuff.
But when everybody was here we had a game on every single team – whether it was team vs team, individuals vs individuals, we were doing something with one of our games to try to make things as fun as you possibly can. Because again you can get beat up – all day long sometimes depending on the program you are.
So to have some of those things in place I think makes a big improvement.
Definitely. And I mean obviously if you incent the right behaviors then it drives those outcomes. That’s kind of just self-manifest, which is great.
Recommeded read: How to Create Culture and Community in a Virtual Environment
What to Take out of This
Improving turnover in a call center is more a matter of creating a healthy work culture than of desperately trying to keep agents from leaving.
Looking at what Tom said, we can see he and his team have given this a great deal of thought. How is your call center doing with turnover? Do you have any innovative approaches to reduce turnover in a call center? Our readers would definitely love to read about it so comment in the section below and let’s keep the conversation going!
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