Thursday, August 25, 2011

Call Center Work - Impacts on Attrition

Does the type of call center really impact the attrition levels?

You bet it does!

As with any type of work, (i.e.: manufacturing, construction, retail sales, warehouse/distribution, etc.) there are always variations in the work being done based on the type of company and company needs.

Call center work is no different – the work varies greatly based on the business unit’s focus and the policies, procedures, and performance metrics. There are outbound call center groups focused on sales, surveys, or collections, and inbound groups handling sales, customer service, and technical support.

It is very well known that outbound groups have much higher agent churn than inbound groups. And customer service groups have less attrition than sales teams. And, once a tech support group is fully established, they can be as steady as customer service groups.

Some of this seems very intuitive – in that outbound groups are calling people out of the blue, interrupting their day and then trying to obtain information or money from them, and they usually have sales (or collection) quotas they have to meet. Emotionally, this is a very difficult role – due to customers being upset at being interrupted or feeling harassed for payments.

With inbound groups on the other hand, the customer is calling in for help to resolve a problem or concern. And even if they initially are grumpy about having the issue, if the agents are empowered to, they can usually turn the situation around and the customer leaves the interaction with positive feelings towards the company.

Another factor that makes a difference for agent attrition, is the size of the center. Smaller centers (less than 100 agents) have lower attrition than large centers (over 100 agents). This is most often due to agents in large centers feeling like they are “just a number” and that their work doesn’t really make that much of a difference in the big scheme of things.

Common annual attrition levels:

  • Outbound groups: 100-250%
  • Inbound groups: 60-150%
How does your group compare?

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