February 27, 2006 11:57 AM
You enter the contact center on Monday morning after a restful weekend and all seems right with the world. You begin your day by reviewing the weekend performance statistics. “Not bad,” you say. “Revenue is up. Average hold time is down.” You clear your phone messages—nothing pressing here. There’s no one at your door declaring the sky is falling. You had cleared your “in” box over the weekend; those reports due this week are finished. You take a deep breathe and enjoy a fresh start to the week.
After your computer boots, you check your e-mail. It is here that the day begins to go wrong. Six of your top performers have been recruited by the new call center opening across town. You stare at the screen trying to comprehend the loss to the center. Then, you think about what you can do to stem the tide of defection.
It’s probably already too late to take action. Employees don’t leave on a whim and usually can’t be wooed back easily. Any plan you put together now won’t reverse what has already happened; however, you may be able to change what could become a trend.
Our studies show that a call center with 100 frontline agents can expect to lose 26 percent annually, and a large percentage of the loss is in voluntary termination—the agent leaves for another opportunity. We also know that the average cost per hire is close to $4,000 and the cost to train a single agent is approximately $4,800. In a latter blog entry, I intend to cover the cost of turnover in exquisite detail.
Simply reacting to employee loss is no longer an option. When it comes to stemming the tide, we all need to be proactive. Rather than searching for the “one size fits all” solution, we need to be smart about:
1. market and economic conditions that influence employee turnover;
2. the uniqueness of our turnover (causes, consequences, and cost); and
3. strategies to reduce turnover that work in our situations.
These are some of the issues I’ll be addressing in future entries. You'll be as amazed as I am about the options that we have to turn the tide of employee defection.