Challenging turnover head on and winning

No other single word creates more angst for a contact center manager than turnover. Agents leaving is a manager’s greatest ongoing challenge because it affects so many aspects of contact center operations. When workstations are empty, member service suffers, wait times and abandon rates increase, and stress is heightened on the remaining agents. Meanwhile, managers are tied up interviewing, leaving little time to focus on the staff engagement necessary to reduce turnover. Even the best managers struggle to look objectively at this issue—there’s just too much pressure to hit service goals.

Agent turnover is a mass of mixed indicators: good turnover where agents progress upwards, out-of-my-control turnover where a family situation or outside force initiates a change, or bad turnover that can be attributable to management or the organization. Identifying and creating a solution path hits roadblocks when the information is murky or non-existent.

One thing that constantly surprises me when I talk about turnover during presentations is how few contact center managers know their turnover rate. As a key driver of a department’s performance, it’s a number every manager should know—always. With cost-per-agent turnover ranging from $5,000-$8,000 on average, understanding the financial impact can assist in justifying training and engagement programs that will help reduce turnover.


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