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Jul 13, 2022

5 Contact Center Lessons for Combatting High Turnover

Dan Miller
By Dan Miller

Lead analyst and founder, Opus Research

Your organization, if it’s like most, has been fighting what feels like a losing battle to hold onto employees—a battle that’s intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help you reverse the tide, [24]7.ai™ commissioned Opus Research to explore the topic in a white paper, which then formed the basis for a (now-recorded) webinar. The white paper, titled “Five Ways Contact Centers Already Mitigate the Great Resignation,” lays out the contact center’s top hard-learned lessons for driving down attrition rates.

The bottom line: The right AI and automation improves agent satisfaction and productivity—which inclines those agents to stay on the job. We flesh out the details and context below, but in case you want to jump right in, here are the asset links.

Download the white paper.

If you prefer watching and listening to reading, check out the webcast featuring a discussion between me and Nidhin Varghese, Solutions and Product Marketing Sr. Director, and Lisa Matherly, Marketing SVP, both with [24]7.ai.

Watch the on-demand webcast.

FYI: You’ll need to supply your work email to receive your copy or register.

Contact centers aren’t facing high turnover alone

Every organization feels the pain of employee attrition. Higher turnover forces up hiring and training costs. Operating costs go up, too, because new employees are less productive than seasoned ones. New employees are also less effective, which drags down customer satisfaction (at least initially), and which creates all kinds of other negative effects.

Suffice to say, 2021 was probably employee retention’s worst year ever. Prior to the pandemic, the average turnover rate across all US industries was 36.4 percent. (Note: Attrition among customer service, retail, and hospitality workers was, and is, much higher than the average.) That means a bit more than a third of workers left their jobs within a year.

In 2021, turnover rose to 57.3 percent. For the year, over 40 million people left their jobs. Even employers used to high turnover—like those in the contact center industry—had never seen anything like this.

Employee Turnover by Industry

Contact centers meet The Great Resignation

A lot of ink has already been spilled explaining how the COVID-19 pandemic fueled this increase. Some people chose to pursue their dreams, having decided life was too precious to just muddle through. Some chose to camp out on their couches, having decided life was too scary to confront the health dangers “out there.” Many others, mostly mothers, had to stay home to care for children or relatives who otherwise would have been in school or daycare or nursing homes. A lot of people in front-line occupations, especially retail and hospitality workers, were furloughed or laid off.

Of course, even most voluntary dropouts couldn’t just stop working forever. And as the economy resuscitated and businesses came back online, the persistent worker shortage gave returnees an edge, so they generally found new jobs with more pay, benefits, and flexibility—which, not coincidentally, encouraged other workers to leave their jobs in pursuit of better opportunities. Most of this played out at the lower-wage end of the employment spectrum.

5 ways contact centers improve retention

For contact centers, the problem of The Great Resignation is a matter of scale, not kind. That is, contact centers have always struggled with turnover that’s high relative to other industries.

Yet contact centers have learned the more interesting they can make the work, and the more productive they can make the agent doing that work, the more satisfied the agent becomes—and the likelier the agent is to stay in the job.

For all the details, read the white paper and watch the webcast. The five contact center keys to mitigating The Great Resignation are, in brief, as follows:

  1. Embrace conversational AI and automation
  2. Engage agents to train the AI
  3. Enable customer self-service
  4. Provide consistent, cross-channel answers
  5. Ensure AI promotes agent satisfaction as well as customer loyalty

Take the Next Step

All is not lost! Start turning around your turnover rates with these resources.

Watch the on-demand webcast.

Download the white paper.

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