How Environment, Job Design and Leadership can improve Retention Rates in Contact Centers
The contact center experience can be the factor that makes or breaks a customer’s decision of whether or not to continue doing business with your company. Hiring one wrong agent could mean losing customers — and revenue — to your competitors.
However, thanks to progress in data analysis technology and workforce psychology, contact center operators now have access to sophisticated tools to help them identify the types of people most likely to succeed in contact center environments, and consequently, increase contact center employee retention rate.
Previously, we shared three ways your contact center can boost employee retention, starting with three common issues including competition, equity, and recruitment. Today, we will discuss three additional hurdles contact centers face when it comes to employee retention rate - environment, job design, and leadership - as well as data-driven methods you can use to improve employee retention.
Environment: Find Contact Center Agents Who Can Handle the Pressure
With performance-driven cultures in which representatives must meet a a number of different quotas and complete duties that are often routine and monotonous, contact center work can be challenging.
Many competencies companies traditionally screen for – such as longevity at previous positions – are actually poor predictors of a candidate’s ability to perform. Even if a candidate has previous contact center experience, it is not necessarily an indicator he or she will thrive in your specific environment.
Dig deeper into agents’ competencies with assessments: Talent assessment tests are far better forecasters of not only how long an employee will stay, but how well he or she will handle common stressors present in the call center environment. Talent selection tools allow leadership to identify predictors of retention through the use of psychometric assessments and realistic job simulations that closely model the tasks (and speed) of the specific contact center environment.
Job Design: Use a Hiring Process that Allows Candidates to Show, Not Just Tell
The role of a contact center agent includes complexities that are rarely discussed. Agents must be rigid when it comes to rules, but also adaptable to change; they must pay close attention to details, but also be able to think outside of the box. It goes without saying that agents who can succeed in these roles are truly special. Virtually all agent jobs are diverse and require individuals capable of adapting to change and different situations fluidly.
Use job simulations to pinpoint high-potential candidates: Realistic multi-media simulations allow job candidates to play the part of a fictitious service, sales, or support representative. This gives hiring managers an accurate measure of a candidate’s skills, such as computer, multitasking and data entry skills. Managers can then use the results of these simulations to determine whether or not an agent will be able to complete the tasks required for success.
Leadership: Set Contact Center Agents Up for Success, Starting with Good Managers
While leadership matters in every industry, there is no place where it is more critical to retention of employees than your contact center. Supervisors who view their roles as overseers without displaying any real interest in mentoring their team quickly drive up apathy and frustration among their staff, and have significantly higher quit rates than supervisors who lead by example and take the time to coach their employees.
Though we’ve probably all experienced some interesting managers, research suggests anywhere from 50 to a whopping 75 percent of managers are incompetent. And in an environment as high-pressure and fast-paced as a contact center, support from strong and capable leaders is vital to agents’ success.
Identify potential leaders with data: Almost all good leaders all have one thing in common: emotional intelligence. Psychologist Daniel Goleman points out in his Harvard Business Review piece the undeniable ties between emotional intelligence and business results. You can use personality-based assessments to find candidates who demonstrate emotional intelligence, as well as show a pattern of optimism and positivity, as well as those who are likely to show a higher level of commitment to their employer.
Topics: Contact Center Hiring