As big of a problem as attrition is, very few companies take the proper action to reduce their employee turnover. In no other industry is this a bigger problem than support teams working in call centers, where staff turnover rates are astronomical compared to other industry sectors.
Support team turnover is the act of an employee leaving, whether voluntary or involuntary, and the company having to replace the employee. Attrition is similar, except the employee is not replaced by a new employee.
Customer support teams attrition and turnover rates can reach as high as 50% in some industries, which is substantially higher than the average turnover rate of around 17%. It can take as long as 10 weeks and cost your organization thousands to hire and train new employees.
Calculating support team turnover can be done in just a few steps. First you divide the number of staff who decide to leave in a time period, and divide that by the average number of employees on payroll in that same period of time. Then, simply multiply that number by 100 and you have your turnover rate! We’ll do a quick example below:
If a company has an average of 45 employees on payroll in a given year, and 7 leave in that year, the calculation would look like this: 7/45 * 100 = 15.55% turnover rate.
There really isn’t one thing in particular that causes turnover within support teams, and will likely vary from organization to organization. However, there are a few recurring themes that cause turnover:
Probably the largest complaint when someone leaves an organization was the lack of training they felt they got. Managers often times have to cut corners to get new employees ready to work since turnover rates are so high. When staff lacks proper training and other tools, they feel as if they will not be as successful at their job, which can eventually lead to attrition.
No Upward Mobility
Many support team members feel directionless because they feel as if there is no upward mobility. Agents may feel like this job is simply a placeholder job, and only temporary.
Working as a support agent isn’t easy to begin with, and getting paid less than you think you’re worth is even worse. When you deal with upset customers all day who sometimes may not even treat you like a human can wear even the toughest person down. At a certain point, employees may decide it’s not worth it, and seek other employment.
One often forgotten about reason employees leave is micromanagement. When you have a manager who is constantly looking over your shoulder or listening to every conversation you have, it can make you a little uneasy. Many employees use different methods to get to the same result, but some managers think their way is the only way. Allowing your agents the freedom to solve problems how they see fit can help lower support team attrition.
Lowering Support Team Attrition
1. Look For The Right Traits
Before you begin hiring employees, make sure you know what qualities you are looking for in an ideal employee. Make a list of a few traits that you know make for a good employee. Not only are there certain technical skills to look for, but there are some unseen skills that some employees have and others don’t. There are certain qualities that make for a great customer support agent such as:
- Good communicator
- See the bigger picture
- Team player
- Think critically
2. Create a Good Workplace
How many times have you or your friends complained about having to go to work? Creating a place where people actually want to go to work is a major key to reducing attrition and turnover. Ensure your employees realize just how important they are to your company. One thing many great workplace leaders do is offer constructive criticism to help fill skill gaps employees might have. Another thing managers can do is offer incentives to high performing employees, such as gift cards or bonuses.
Working in support doesn’t have to be a drag, and having a great company culture will help keep employees engaged and looking forward to work every day.
3. Train Your Employees Well
Studies suggest that almost half of employees don’t receive proper on the job training. This is absurdly high, and a contributing factor to high attrition rates. Creating an in-depth training program is vital to making sure your staff is ready to tackle any issue that may come their way. It can take upwards of 10 weeks to properly train support team agents, so make sure you’re using all that time to both you and your staff benefit.
Similar to training, making sure employees know they are empowered, and CAN solve any problem that comes their way is critical. Everyone is different, and handles customer issues differently. Allow your agents to creatively solve issues. Adding a personal touch can make customers better enjoy their experience with your support team. There are many different tools your can use to train your employees.
In order to gain insights into your customer interactions, you’re likely using some sort of customer service call center software. Utilizing this type of software can allow you to gain better insights into your team with features such as:
- Call recording
- Call barging
- Live call monitoring
All of these features allow you to either listen to live conversations and coach your reps in real time, or go back and see where they could improve in the future. It’s a great way to help coach your agents and help them gradually improve with each call they take.
4. Show Them A Career Path
You want to hire employees with aspirations, right? Many new employees will decide to leave if they feel as if there is no upward mobility in their company. Great managers will create a clearly defined growth path to show their employees how they can achieve their goals. Giving staff the tools and resources to further their career is an important aspect of management. Employees like knowing management is “rooting” for them and wants to see them grow professionally.
Create metrics to show new employees the direction the company is heading in, and give them the tools to show how they can meet those metrics.
5. Other Ways to Keep Employees Happy
No matter where you look, attrition and turnover will always be an issue. However, if you take these things into consideration, you can help drastically lower your turnover rate. Treat your employees like the valuable assets they are, and not expendable laborers. The bottom line: treat staff like they matter, show that you care, and see a big drop off in turnover.