Do you ever feel like you’re running a cost center rather than a contact center? Without performance management you may be experiencing high attrition rates and training costs, or low productivity and engagement rates, which can make the contact center feel like a necessary evil – rather than the true value-added function it is.
I’m here to tell you that it does not have to be that way! Contact centers can play a powerful role in improving customer experience, as well as increasing brand loyalty and revenue. And frontline agents can feed invaluable insights to other areas of your organization. However, your contact center may continue to drain your finances if you do not understand the causes of your agent turnover and allocate the money necessary to improve it.
So, let’s start with breaking down typical contact center expenses
In the contact center, expenses usually fall under three categories: technology, admin, and labor.
Technology is usually about 15 to 20 percent of annual contact center expenses. It consists of things like:
- Automatic Contact Distributor (ACD)
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
- Quality Management (QM) software
- Performance Management software
- Human Resources (HR) software
- Accounting systems
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Workforce Management (WFM) software
- Network considerations
- And any other technology you use!
Admin is usually about 15 to 20 percent of a contact center’s annual expenses. It consists of items like:
- Depreciation of equipment
- Office supplies
- Corporate wages
Labor is usually about 60 to 70 percent of a contact center’s annual cost, and consists of:
- Agent wages
- Supervisor wages
- Rewards and recognition
Now that we’ve broken costs down, it’s obvious that the majority of your money is spent in the “Labor” category. So ask yourself this: Are you allocating 60 to 70 percent of your time and energy to get the most out of this labor investment?
If the answer is “no” then labor and attrition costs could be sabotaging your contact center culturally and financially. And you aren’t the only one — according to Daily Pay, the average yearly attrition rate for agents in US contact centers range between 30 to 45% which is more than double the average for all occupations in the US!
So, what contributes to high attrition?
- Low agent engagement
- Low job satisfaction
- Non-challenging work
- Low compensation
- Limited or no recognition
- Inflexible work environment
- Lack of opportunity for growth
What are the consequences of high attrition?
According to McKinsey & Company 2020 research, “attrition costs organizations as much as $10,000 to $20,000 per contact center agent depending on an organization’s geography, employee tenure, and the level of training required for the position.” Costs associated with attrition are recruitment, hiring, training time and materials, trainer/supervisor costs, period of poor service levels, missed business and more.
Lack of Frontline Experience & Knowledge
High attrition means less tenured employees, which can be problematic considering that consumers rank lack of agent knowledge as a top frustration when dealing with contact centers. So it’s in your best interest to be deliberate about reducing agent churn to ensure you have more knowledgeable agents available for customers. But how do you do that? By improving agent satisfaction. According to ICMI, having happier and more tenured agents reduces customer churn, improves net promoter scores, strengthens company brand and helps company growth.
If your contact center claims to be “customer-centric,” you should make sure it is “employee centric” first. Organizations that keep service agents on the job longer not only reduce operating costs but also improve customer satisfaction (McKinsey & Company 2020). It’s necessary to give your employees proper training, coaching, knowledge, recognition and access to performance data. If not, it will be nearly impossible to retain your agents and give your customers the high quality interactions they expect.
Poor Company Culture
Agent turnover has a domino effect. When employees are constantly cycling in and out, it is detrimental to a company’s culture, which leads to low productivity and engagement rates – and ultimately contributes to even more turnover. A positive company culture is linked to improved employee engagement, increased productivity, and higher profit margins (Built In, 2019).
What retention strategies should you consider?
Invest in a performance Management software
Performance management software keeps agents engaged, challenged and competent. Software like CXone Performance Management aggregates and visualizes data on role-based dashboards to keep everyone accountable, invested in contact center performance, and in-line with performance goals.
The dashboards highlight KPIs important to each person in the company hierarchy. By giving agents their own dashboards, they can receive personalized performance tracking and feedback. Gamification motivates agents to improve behavior – while having fun – and provides recognition through incentivized rewards that align with the KPIs most important to their organization.
Performance Management can boost company moral and decrease turnover.
Offer flexible or remote work options
Benefits like remote work or flex-time can lead to increased retention rates. A 2019 Stanford University study among 500 people who worked remotely and in a conventional workplace found that there was a 50% decrease in attrition compared to those who worked remote (. However, you cannot send agents home with a computer and hope they stay with your company forever. They need technology that allows them to communicate with leadership and co-workers, monitor performance in real-time, and be recognized and rewarded.
Implement a rewards and recognition program with automated gamification
According to a 2019 ICMI study, the number one factor that contributes to agent satisfaction is a rewards and recognition program. Recognition can come in the form of an extra break, shout-out on social media, thank you note, virtual currency, or a name on a Wallboard. Keep in mind, it is important to have a clearly defined recognition program so that employees can know what to expect and get excited! We’d recommend a solution like - like CXone Performance Management - that automates games, payouts and everything in between.
Find out WebHelp uses CXone Performance Management and Gamification to improve productivity here.
Employees need to feel like someone cares about their success and growth. Giving them a mentor or coach is critical to developing long-lasting employees. According to McKinsey & Company, “real impact comes from supervisors who take the time to provide meaningful coaching, give recognition, and consistently act as a role model.”
Return on Investment (ROI) of Performance Management as part of a comprehensive agent retention strategy
Too many organizations look at the above retention strategies as expenses, but they are minor investments compared to the high cost of attrition. After all, an investment is a purchase that is made to pursue future wealth!
CXone Performance Management will enable you to implement all the above retention strategies and still save you nearly five times more than what it costs!
How? Well, think of it this way. Let’s say…
- You have 100 Agents
- Paid at $13.00 an Hour
- A 75% Productivity Rate
- A 30% Attrition Rate
And CXone Performance Management helps you increase your productivity rate to 80% (a very common improvement), and drop your attrition rate to 25% (also a very common improvement) you would see:
- About $141,960 increase in annual productivity savings with 10,920 more productive hours
- About $141,523 increase in annual attrition savings
- And a net ROI of about $229,483
Plus, happier agents, better reporting, less stressed supervisors, and more time to spend strategizing to drive the needle!
If it seems too good to be true, you can learn more about how Vera Bradley experienced a 10% reduction in agent attrition and 15% increase in agent engagement with CXone Performance Management and gamification here.
The benefits of a solution like CXone Performance Management far outweigh the cost. See how you can improve productivity and attrition rates with CXone Performance Management and gamification.