When you hear the words “call center,” does it immediately bring to mind endless rows of people chattering away on headsets? If so, you have a pretty accurate idea of what a call center is like. One thing associated with many call centers is an extremely high turnover rate. As a matter of fact, the average time a U.S. call center representative remains at one job is about three years.
Keeping good employees in a potentially monotonous job can be challenging for some businesses. If you’re considering hiring a call center, you may want to understand more about the employees you’ll be hiring to represent your company.
Why Call Center Employees Leave
There are a number of reasons why employees leave their call center jobs. The age of the call center employee seems to be a deciding factor in their tenure with a company, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The statistics show that the younger the employee, the shorter their stay:
- Average tenure for ages 20 – 24:1 years
- Average tenure for ages 25 – 34:7 years
Here are some other factors of call center employee turnover:
- Wages and benefits
- Lack of career opportunities
- Poor match for the job
- Training and performance challenges
- Supervisory issues
- Low morale or burnout
Employee turnover tends to be higher in routine positions, while employees in more specialized trained positions stay with companies longer.
The Cost of Call Center Turnover
There are many costs associated with hiring a new call center employee. If an employee doesn’t stick around for long, these costs can be doubled or sometimes tripled in a single year. Some costs may also cause collateral damage to your business.
The costs associated with hiring and turnover include:
- Recruitment and hiring – advertising, job fairs, human resources time and salary
- Training time – getting paid when the employee isn’t actively taking calls
- Training materials and resources – including the trainer’s time and salary
- Possible poor customer service due to low staffing
- Lower morale for other employees who may be overworked
- Lower productivity
- Risk for more employee turnover
Retaining Call Center Staff
Retention of employees may take more effort on the part of the call center, but will soon pay off when examining the cost of turnover. Let’s consider each step of the process and tweaks that may keep employees around longer:
- Hiring: A well-examined hiring process may go far in correcting the challenges with poor job match. Assessing the personality traits and current skills of an applicant may help determine if the person is a good fit.
- Wages and Benefits: Retaining quality employees means offering a salary that is competitive with other businesses in your market. Benefits can be expensive to offer employees but compared to the cost of employee turnover, they are worth considering.
- Staff Training and Career Opportunities: A documented training plan, legacy employees and opportunities for advancement go a long way in impressing a new employee. If the employee can be ramped up quickly, they are going to feel as if they are valuable, contributing to the company sooner rather than later.
- Employee Morale: Little perks like breaks, snacks and downtime help keep employees from suffering burnout. Creating a great workplace environment allows employees to decrease stress and love their job.
In the end, keeping high quality and trained professional staff in a call center may take extra effort, but those efforts are valuable.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.