How important is good customer service?
62 percent of B2B customers and 42 percent of B2C customers admit to spending more with a particular business after a positive experience, according to a survey.
Meanwhile, more than half of consumers in both markets switch to a different provider after receiving bad service.
To deliver a quality customer experience, you need a quality customer service team. But one thing that makes this so much harder is a high turnover of staff. Retaining employees is just one of the many management challenges of a customer service center, but it’s one that demands careful consideration.
How does high call center turnover affect your business, and what can you do to prevent it?
What are the Negative Effects of High Customer Service Team Turnover?
High call center turnover can lead to the following negative effects:
Of all the management challenges of a customer service center, effective training is high on the list. It takes time, money and resources you may not have to spare.
If you don’t have a training specialist in your business, an experienced agent, team leader or manager will be required to give newcomers the guidance they need.
This disrupts their own workflow and means they’re unavailable for others who may need them. As a result, employees and tasks dependent on said individual could suffer, leading to further problems.
You’re basically starting from scratch again and again, especially if you hire staff with no experience in customer service. Expense can be high if specialist or external training is required too.
Losing agents with experience and knowledge
You’ve spent time and money training agents. You’ve delivered feedback and helped them develop new skills. You’ve equipped them with the experience and knowledge they need to advance in the customer service industry.
And now they’ve left.
Not only do you lose their valuable expertise, you’ll be at a disadvantage if they start working for a competitor. You may struggle to find a suitable replacement with the same capabilities.
Disrupting consistency and quality of service
Every customer service representative has to start somewhere: they’ll spend their first few days or weeks on the job learning and adapting.
It’s a necessary process — but, sadly, it also means your customers may not receive the level of service they expect. 73 percent of consumers want consistency across all channels (live chat, phone etc.), and may take their business elsewhere if they don’t get it.
A customer service team with years of experience, training and knowledge will deliver a consistent experience. But this is disrupted when agents come and go within a matter of weeks. The overall quality of service you provide is likely to slip too, as customers are forced to continually deal with agents still finding their way.
Poor service generates poor word of mouth, which will have a negative impact on your reputation. And a staggering 88 percent of customers’ buying decisions have been influenced by an online customer review, so never underestimate the power of a powerful social-media post.
Makes building loyal relationships harder
Following on from the point above, high call center turnover makes forging loyal relationships with consumers much more difficult.
When regular customers interact with the same representative multiple times, they may build a rapport and bond, making overcoming any difficulties a little easier. They can start to see your business’s human side and receive more personalized care too.
Likewise, said customer will have less need to repeat their story (though a good CRM prevents this anyway). Sadly, all this changes when customers are greeted by a different agent each time.
What are the Main Reasons for High Customer Service Team Turnover?
What causes high call center turnover?
Lack of engagement
Engaging employees is one of the toughest management challenges of a customer service center. Unengaged agents place no value on their job beyond the regular paycheck, feel no connection to customers and have little loyalty to your business.
There may be different causes for this disengagement. Perhaps they feel they get no support from management and are totally disrespected. Maybe they simply see no incentive to provide customers with quality service, and never truly apply themselves.
Too little motivation
Motivation is part and parcel of engagement. Your customer service agents must feel driven to deliver great service and keep improving their skills.
Again, there are various factors to blame. One could be no hope for progression or increased pay for aiming higher. Another might be if they feel undervalued, with no recognition for pushing themselves.
Poor management and bad decisions
Managers should make an effort to recognize and appreciate agents’ work, but a packed schedule (or a sense of superiority) makes this just one of the many management challenges of a customer service center.
A lack of interest from and poor decisions (such as changing policies for no good reason, extending shifts, reducing hours etc.) can all alienate staff too.
Ineffective evaluation processes
Evaluating agents’ performance is essential to identify flaws and keep improving your CX overall. A quality assurance program is essential for all customer service teams, and can help to boost engagement, increase motivation and improve job satisfaction over time.
However, sensitivity and respect is critical. If agents feel they’re being criticised without any guidance on improving, they could see it as a personal attack. They’ll also feel undervalued and disrespected.
Quality assurance must involve agents and be a collaborative process.
How can you Boost Retention for Better Service?
Increasing agent retention in your call center is obviously vital, but how can you do this?
Offer real rewards to aim for
Reward programs are increasingly common, and with good reason. They’re easy to integrate into your everyday processes and can be tweaked to suit diverse tastes.
For example, you could offer gift cards, tickets to a movie or sports event, extra paid time off and more. Establish clear rules for this, though: ensure agents know exactly how they can earn rewards and stick to them. This is essential to maintain trust.
Provide chances to learn
Helping agents grow and develop boosts engagement, rather than just forcing them to do the same repetitive tasks endlessly without hope of progression.
Coaching sessions are part of an effective quality assurance program and can make a big impact on staff. For example, an agent could feel frustrated by their inability to engage customers or use a database properly.
Good coaching is crucial to overcome such drawbacks over time.
Avoid the ‘us-versus-them’ divide
Management and agents should interact: seniors must avoid staying in their office all day without taking an interest in customer service teams.
Otherwise, agents may feel as if they’re just another anonymous cog in the machine and start looking elsewhere for more respect. Focus on encouraging collaboration, breaking down barriers and forging stronger bonds between employees at all levels.
Being a hands-on, friendly manager workers trust is one of the top challenges of a customer service center, but make it a priority.
Deliver real-time feedback and tailored training
A good QA system makes real-time feedback and targeted training easy. Both help team leaders and managers provide customer service teams with practical guidance on how to improve, without the need for a formal feedback session.
Training tailored to each employee is more relevant and engaging than generic programs too: agents can get help to overcome their personal obstacles and make themselves more valuable to the business.
Every business has to minimize customer service team turnover as much as possible. Otherwise, you’re basically pushing employees out of the door and leaving them no choice but to look elsewhere.
Keeping your team engaged, motivated and happy will boost retention in the long term. It may demand some serious re-structuring, but it’ll all be worth it when customer satisfaction rises.
Have you found a way to reduce call center turnover and keep staff engaged? If so, how did you go about it? Let us know!