How to reduce attrition rate in call centers?

The call center industry has been making significant contribution to the economies like India, Philippines and China. Though the call centers have been responsible for employing large number of skilled employees one of the major challenges plaguing the industry is the high rate of attrition. Attrition is a constant hurdle for the growth of outsourcing companies, especially the call centers.

Attrition in Call Centers. Image source

They are constantly looking out for ways to address this issue. There are many reasons which are attributed to attrition in call centers and a lot of studies have been done to find out the reasons behind it. Other than monotonous nature of the job there are some other reasons for the agents to leave their call center jobs:

  1. Rigorous working shifts
  2. Excess physical and mental strain
  3. No personal life
  4. Poaching ( an act of hiring competitor’s employees by offering rewards or high salary)
  5. Poor corporate culture
  6. Less job satisfaction
  7. No career development
  8. Little or no involvement of management.

So how can call centers address these issues? What should be done to lower attrition rates? What changes should the management bring about to improve the performance of their employees and to lower the attrition rates?

Research done on high attrition rate in call centers have revealed that call centers can be made a great place to work with for the employees and which in turn can reduce attrition. For this, the call centers should focus on five core areas:

  • Skill Development of employees
  • Improvement in Communication
  • Progress of their people
  • Change in management style
  • Maintaining work/life balance
  1. Focus on the skill development of employees
    Enhancing the skills of call center agents will benefit both agents and customers and in turn the company. Centers can provide multi-skill training to develop the skills of their agents. The employees can be trained in new skills to reach the desired performance level. This will create a sense of personal achievement for the employees and will help the business to meet the need for efficiency.

  2. Improve your internal communication
    Call centers should make use of virtual technologies to communicate and share information with the agents. They should share with them the goals of the company and what they are doing to achieve those goals.  They should align and communicate effectively the targets they need to achieve with the overall corporate goals.Companies should discuss with them if business is facing any issues, put forward the problem and ask them to give their ideas as to how they can resolve these issues.All this communication exchange will make the employees feel as part of the company and motivate them to give their best part for the business to achieve its goal.
  3. Give employees clear long term career path
    Provide them a career and not just a job.  Give them the opportunity to wear different hats such as hats of a team leader, coach or support role in HR, finance etc. Centers should try to design development opportunities to find out the suitable personnel for the vacancies arising in support roles from the agent population itself.

  4. Bring a positive change in management style
    Change in management style will help the companies to make call centers a place of fun and work. Management should thrive to make their agents say that they are working in a great place.

  5. Maintain Work/life balance
    Both employees and business should understand each other’s need and act accordingly.  Centers can develop lifestyle schedules that will provide more flexibility for the agents meanwhile meeting the business needs. Hiring and training part time employees will enable the companies to swap the agent schedule with part-time schedule in case if an agent wants to meet his personal needs.

Many companies make the mistake by increasing only the pay and benefits and ignoring other variables. Though attrition is a major problem and coming out with an apt solution is tough for the companies, the companies need to understand the areas that motivate and de-motivate the employees first and then focus on the areas that require immediate attention to reduce attrition.

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