Friday, October 21, 2011

Mitigating Attrition During and After Training

Are you loosing your agents in these places?  

Two common places where attrition occurs are during training or right after training ends and the agents move out to the production floor. 

Attrition During Training:  When attrition occurs during training, you have to look at several factors. 

First, was it voluntary or involuntary. When agents leave from training on their own, it could be for many reason – a very common one is that while they were out looking for work, they had interviewed with several different companies and a position that they wanted more than the call center was offered to them after they started training, and they decided to accept that other position.  In other cases it may be that they become overwhelmed with all the learning, information, and systems, or they have a personal conflict/issue with the trainer or someone else in the class. 
Second - when agents are involuntarily dismissed from training it is usually either because of attendance issues or because they aren’t able to pass the learning tests or quizzes.  Regardless of the reason, if your agents aren’t showing up for training or can’t pass their quizzes, allowing them to continue through training can be a big mistake.  Statistics have proven most agents who have poor attendance or low performance during the first few weeks of a job will be let go within the first 90 days.  Due to the costs associated with training it is best to let people go early on if they are showing an inability or unwillingness to do the job.

Deep end without safety equipment?
Transition to the Floor:  The next place that attrition occurs is during the transition period from training to the production floor.  This can actually be a very scary or overwhelming time for new agents, when they move from learning into doing.  If this transition isn’t managed well, a lot of people will lose heart and quit due to fear, concern about their ability to succeed, and feelings of lack of support.

To mitigate these agent fears and concerns, successful companies take some if not all of the following steps:
  • Require agents sit with and listen to Sr. agents take calls during training
  • Have agents engage in several hours of role-plays during the training period so their first call isn’t the first time they’ve used the company dialogue or responded to customer questions/concerns
  • Require the agents to take a final test in training.  By passing the test, it gives the agents confidence that they will be able to successfully handle customer calls.

  • After training, but before moving the agents onto their permanent teams, have the training class move into a transition area where they can take calls, but have extra help available to assist with questions.

  • Set up an internal helpline for your agents.  This is usually staffed by Sr. agents, who can help new agents either by phone or through chat.  (Chat is preferred as one Sr. agent can assist several agents on the floor at once.)

  • Provide extra quality monitoring and coaching during this time-frame.  New agents want to know if they are doing all right or need to change anything.  And if they can be corrected right at the beginning, it can prevent the agents from developing poor habits.

  • Meet frequently with their team lead – to review their overall stats (call handle time, number of calls taken, quality numbers, first call resolution, etc.) to see performance improvement, and discuss any issues or concerns.
Keeping your agents informed and feeling confident is key in their ability to positively represent the company.  The worst thing you can do is “dump them into the deep end of the pool” without help after training!

What does your company do to mitigate attrition during training and the transition to the floor?