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The Endless Hiring Cycle of Contact Centres

The contact centre industry faces a revolving door of attrition, driven by factors from stress to inadequate pay. However, a new wave of empowerment and flexibility in the sector is showing promise. Dive in to see how a fresh approach is changing the landscape, bringing benefits for both employees and clients.

a woman and a man looking at a screen being worried about the high attrition rates in their BPO
31 March 2023
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Why do contact centres have to replace 80% of their team each year?

The attrition rates are much higher than those found in other professions. It varies from one company to the next, but an attrition rate of 80% is considered normal! Is that normal in any other industry? You start the year with 100 people on the team, and you lose 80 of them by the end of the year. It means that most contact centres are constantly hiring just to stand still.

Why is this so bad in the customer service industry? One of the most significant causes is job dissatisfaction. Contact centre employees often work long hours, deal with high-stress situations, and handle a large volume of calls and customer complaints. If they don’t feel valued or supported in their work or don’t see opportunities for career growth and development, they may become dissatisfied and look for other job opportunities.

Understanding the Exodus

And that’s precisely what most of them do. There are some other factors that can contribute to contact centre attrition, such as:

  1. Poor management
  2. Employees who feel they are not receiving the support or guidance they need from their managers may become frustrated and leave.
  3. Inadequate training
  4. Contact centre employees need to be trained to handle a wide variety of customer inquiries and problems. If they feel unprepared or unsupported, they may become overwhelmed and leave.
  5. Burnout
  6. The high volume of calls and stressful nature of the work can lead to burnout, which can cause employees to seek less stressful jobs.
  7. Low pay
  8. Contact centre employees may feel they are not being compensated fairly for their work, leading them to seek better-paying jobs elsewhere.

It all sounds pretty bad. It doesn’t make the profession very attractive. I saw a British movie a few years ago called ‘Sunshine on Leith.’ It’s all about a group of Scottish soldiers building a new life after they leave the army. One is in rehab back in Edinburgh after losing his leg to a mine in Afghanistan, and he hears that one of his old mates is now working in a contact centre. He says: “And I thought I had it bad…”.

What can customer service specialists do to make the role of the customer service adviser more attractive, so attrition is minimised – or at least comparable to other industries?

Rewriting Contact Centre Rules

I believe our team at yoummday has some answers. First, we don’t talk about agents or advisers; we call our people talents because that’s precisely what they are. By the time the customer is on the phone - or chat - with one of our talents, they have probably failed to find the answer to their problem on Google, so they need expert attention - not a script. The talent has to be better than Google.

We solve many of the other issues by empowering the talents. They work from home, so they don’t need to spend hours commuting to an office. They can choose the days and hours when they work. They can choose which brands they work with, so they only spend time supporting the brands they really like. So people who love games can focus on supporting gamers. People who love fashion can focus on all those e-commerce fashion brands. They can also take a day off without asking for permission.

yoummday values its talents and ensures they get the training they need to perform well. We generally pay for each customer helped rather than for time at the desk, and this usually works out to more than double the rate a typical contact centre pays. It may seem strange to some, but we have found that most of our talents work much less than they would in a traditional contact centre job - usually around 20-25 hours a week.

Because they can earn more with fewer hours, most of them decide to enjoy more time with their family or doing whatever they love. This flexibility directly answers most of the common reasons why contact centre workers become dissatisfied.

Beyond Traditional Models

This flexibility is also great for our clients. Many of our clients have seasonal demand for customer service operations - they don’t need a big team in a contact centre for 12 months of the year. If they need a team operating for a three-month season, they can work with us to build a talent pool they can draw on. We see the same people returning year after year to work on projects like this.

It just couldn’t work with any traditional contact centre model. Imagine an airline or other travel company with a massive peak for the holiday season and quiet once summer is over. Our team can scale up and down as you prefer. The talents migrate to other clients and return when you need them again.

We also know that our talents hit quality and productivity targets that are almost impossible to see in traditional contact centres. This is because they work with the brands they like and at the times that suit them. So they are always ready to go, not just punching the clock and trying to get through another shift.

We can even identify the super talents that ace productivity targets and encourage them to work a few more hours by raising the rate for an individual or offering a bonus. This system dramatically improves customer satisfaction for our clients and creates talents that are happy in their work.

Attrition is almost non-existent. Some people move on because their life circumstances change. Still, we create customer service teams where attrition isn’t a big concern, unlike the contact centres where the HR team is walking up the down escalator endlessly hiring to replace everyone that is leaving.

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