September 5, 2018
An age-old problem in contact centers is high turnover rates among agents. But contact-center leaders are starting to see improvements through various digital customer experience initiatives.
Overall, organizations reduced their annual turnover rate from 24.2% to 16.8%, following their digital transformation initiative. The success was even more pronounced with large organizations with more than 2,500 employees. For them, the rate decreased from 35.3% to 23.9%, according to Nemertes’ 2018-19 Digital Customer Experience (DCX) research study.
What projects caused such success? I’ll review the top three in this blog post, though we tracked success metrics around nine DCX projects in the research.
1.) Automate/improve customer-facing workflow (34.9% reduction in agent turnover) – This takes the guesswork out of agent-customer interaction. What should the agent say next, and will that script lead to a sale that generates commission for the agent? After an order, should the next step be a video conference or screenshare to add value to the interaction? How can collaboration apps help to resolve a question quicker? Does a closed sale or answered question automatically deliver forms or surveys to the customer? All of this automation improves agents’ job satisfaction, ultimately reducing turnover.
2.) Analyze agent performance (34.5% reduction in agent turnover) – Most contact center platform providers are investing in agent performance analytics, along with other contact-center apps providers. Of course, each provider looks at different metrics. Among those active in the agent performance analytics space: Aspect, Avaya, Call Miner, Five9, Nectar Desk, Nice inContact, and many others. The analytics help the agents improve their efficiency, identify problem areas, and generate opportunities. In doing so, job satisfaction improves, ultimately reducing turnover. (See this recent blog for more information on agent performance analytics.)
3.) Add customer-facing digital channels (video, webchat, SMS, screenshare, etc.; 33% reduction in agent turnover) – By adding new channels, customers are happier because they’re interacting the way they want. Happier customers translate to happier agents. Additionally, more channels makes agents’ jobs more challenging and less monotonous. Agents have opportunities to learn new channels, shift between voice calls, webchats, and other forms of communications. It simply makes the job more interesting, satisfying, and opportunistic, ultimately reducing turnover.
Cost Benefits Abound
Naturally, reducing agent turnover has several benefits. Cost reduction is one. Consider a 100-agent contact center with a 30% annual turnover rate. Human resources must hire 30 new agents each year. Though the numbers vary, the average cost for finding, vetting, and hiring a new agent is approximately $1,300, or a total of $39,000 per year. Add to that the typical 80 hours of training time per agent, at an average hourly rate of $22.56, plus 30% loading factor. The costs rise another $70,387 in the example.
By reducing the turnover rate by 35%, the 100-agent contact center’s turnover costs drop from $109,387 per year to $71,101. That doesn’t even factor the benefits of having a larger number of tenured agents who are experienced with upsell (increasing sales) or customer complaints (increasing customer satisfaction scores and referrals).
Of course, many other factors come into play with contact-center agent turnover. These include company culture, salaries, and opportunities for advancement. Reducing turnover can be complex, but we have documented real-world success through executing on a DCX strategy. Nemertes can help you develop that strategy, and provide the details behind the success metrics to validate your plan.