When your agents
leave everybody hanging

Agents are leaving for a reason. Contact centers must act fast.

When your agents
leave everybody hanging

What’s your strategy for retaining staff?

It’s a fair question, given that 71% of customer service agents have considered leaving their job in the past six months.

That figure, coming from recent research published in a new Salesforce survey, will make unsettling reading for businesses hoping that staffing challenges were largely fueled by COVID and should subside as cases decrease and remote workers return to the workplace.

Not so much, it would seem.

Newly released figures from the US Labor Department tell us that another “historically high” figure of 4.3 million workers left their jobs in December. The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report rounds off an unprecedented year in which 47.4 million people left their current jobs. It’s worth emphasizing that this total accounts only for those workers who quit voluntarily to move to new employment opportunities. It does not include staff who retired or were fired.

In fact, it could, and has been suggested, that the “Great Resignation” is in truth a misnomer, since so many staff are not leaving the workplace at all, just their employer. With 4.6 million more job openings than there are unemployed people to fill them, good workers have reason to feel confident—and pretty picky—when it comes to submitting new job applications.

Let’s just let all that sink in—more than two-thirds are thinking of quitting.

Then back to our opening question. What steps can you take to hold on to your contact center agents or to persuade new ones to join when you’re hiring?

The most obvious one, of course, is to pay more. Not always possible, as we know. But you’d be on the money if compensation is what sprang to mind first. Because your employees are likely thinking it too. A pay increase was top of the list for most when asked what it would take to make them stay.

With most service leaders and agents citing burnout as their biggest challenge, addressing the causes of resignations would seem another obvious, and more achievable, retention strategy. One statistic in the survey really stood out for us: more than half of the service agents (56%) said working with outdated technology systems posed an unwanted challenge.

This seems huge. Especially at a time when organizations know they need to be raising the customer experience bar ever higher while simultaneously reassuring employees their health and well-being comes first.

It’s a conundrum. And unlikely to be solved while they’re still expected to cope with slow, unreliable and outdated communications systems. We’re speaking from experience when we say it’s not the way to win hearts and minds.

Scaling up your infrastructure could be the most productive plank of your staff retention plan. We now know you will never know when you will need the extra scale next.



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