Retention of call center customer service and lead generation representatives is a critical corporate function and top management priority.
Call center staffing stability is:
- Crucial for the development of representatives’ expertise in processing phone, email and live chat contacts with customers. That is, the longer agents work on a given program the better they become.
- Critically important for enabling high-skill employees, who have been with the call center for an extended time, to transfer those skills to other client programs and share them among the call center staff in general, to the advantage of everyone.
- A training ground for agents to become supervisors and managers; agents who stay with a call center tend to move up, enabling clients and colleagues to benefit from their experience.
- A strong indicator of a happy, positive company, a barometer of the call center’s environment and attractiveness as a workplace.
- The key to maintaining “institutional memory” – the knowledge of best practices, of mistakes to avoid, of vendors to trust, of staffing combinations that are effective.
In short, think of stable call center staffing as an investment that pays increasing dividends.
So the question becomes: how can the outsourced call center create an environment where employees want to stay? Some methods are obvious, some subtle. Let’s take a look at both.
Among the most obvious ways is to provide salaries and employee benefits. Attracting a skilled, qualified pool of job applicants means rewarding those who are offered jobs with financial stability that will discourage staff members from looking elsewhere for work.
Another is giving employees a good management team. That means managers who are highly capable, who are nurturers, who bring out the best in the people who work for them, who create a fun and positive atmosphere, who are fair and reasonable, and who show an active interest in the upward career paths of their employees.
Another is giving call center employees a voice in the work they do. It’s important to listen to them, ask about the kinds of programs they prefer to work on. A wise man once said, “Do what you like, you’ll probably be good at it.” Employees working for clients and programs they are naturally inclined toward will be more successful, happier, will want to keep their jobs, boosting call center staffing stability.
It’s always a good idea to regularly review the IT infrastructure in which your agents work. Check out the workflows, processes, reporting procedures, HR practices – all the forms and follow-through that representatives are required to do. If they have too much tedious, repetitious work it’s smart to look at new systems that automate some of those tasks.
Partner with a training company that boosts the skills of your employees. Your clients will benefit from this and your employees will feel valued.
Look for ways to boost morale. Have summer and holiday outings, announce rewards for outstanding work, make a big deal out of internal promotions, send congratulatory emails when new business is won or an existing client program is expanded. Let people know that they work for a growing and vital company. In all of these ways, call center staffing stability is promoted.
Mark Fichera, CEO
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