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How to reduce Call Centre attrition

Over the past few weeks we’ve paid particular attention to a growing sector of our economy: South African call centres. Driven largely by a healthy financial services sector and the attractiveness of South Africa as an international BPO destination, this sector remains an important creator of jobs in our economy. Despite its growth, call centres struggle with high attrition rates, some as high as 100% per annum! To remain competitive, call centres will need to solve their attrition problem.

Read more about why call centres have the worst attrition rates in South Africa

Even for a growing sector with a constant supply of medium-skilled job seekers, employee turnover remains expensive- losing experienced staff who have started performing well is painful and hiring and training new staff is time consuming and costly. Recruitment and retention should therefore be top priorities and call centres need to get this right.

Read more to understand the main reasons why call centre agents leave their jobs

We recognise that the call centre environment is intrinsically challenging, and so attrition is almost inevitable. But we have seen several techniques that can minimise attrition.

This article is part 1 of a two-part series that explores the top retention strategies for call centres.

#1 Recruit the right people in the first place. 

This advice sounds obvious, and yet most call centres get this wrong. The oversupply of medium-skilled employees means that strategies to attract the right applicants can be overlooked. Proper recruitment strategies to acquire the right staff will reduce retention.

  1. Manage employee expectations. Telling the truth can go a long way; clearly outlining the high-pressured nature of the job, or detailing shift work should be done before an offer is made- and weed out the wrong candidates
  2. Hire people who live close by, thereby reducing the cost and time to get to work 
  3. Use the latest technologies- like voice screening- to find people who have the aptitude and are likely to fit into the organisation’s work culture. Giraffe has recently launched the first automated voice screening tool in South Africa. To learn more click here

#2 Implement employee wellness programmes. 

Call centres are busy and stressful places. Implementing measures to make the environment more pleasant will help minimise staff turnover. Cultivating a culture of support within the workforce goes a long way in fostering employee loyalty. Essentially, work environments are better where employees feel like people and not numbers. 

  1. Implement exercise programmes or group activities made accessible to employees. This can improve morale, teamwork and reduce sick days. This technique is very common in China- which has extremely high levels of staff productivity.
  2. Provide self-help/educational materials or counselling services where staff can access support when necessary. Numerous healthcare and psychological interventions have been linked to lower absenteeism. There are several outsourced Employee Assistance Program (EAP’s) available in South Africa geared for employee wellness and support.
  3. Provide training to foster emotional intelligence. This will help employees build up the emotional resilience and adaptability needed for high-pressure work.

#3 Create and communicate clear career path with visibility on how to progress.  

A lack of career advancement opportunities can have a negative influence on an individual’s attitude towards the organisation. Career growth is generally split into four factors: career goal progress, professional ability development, promotion speed, and remuneration growth. This implies that organisational career growth is both a function of the employees’ own efforts and the organisation’s efforts in rewarding such effort. To aid higher job satisfaction we recommend that call centres do the following 

  1. Establish a visible career path through an established hierarchy, e.g. call centre agent, senior agent, team leader etc
  2. Communicate the career path- setting clear expectations for each level and how to progress
  3. Reward such efforts through promotions and salary increases

To find out more about the reasons for attrition and what call centres can do about it, download our insights piece on 7 ways call centres can reduce attrition here 

In this article we look at: 

  • The different types of call centre in South Africa and their attrition rates
  • The root causes of attrition in call centres
  • Tried and tested ways that call centres can improve staff retention


About Giraffe

Giraffe is a job board that automatically screens candidates so you don’t have to. Giraffe enables South African businesses to recruit medium-skilled staff faster and more affordably than any other recruitment method. Because Giraffe has automated the boring parts of the recruitment process– candidate sourcing and screening– business owners and recruiters can focus on more important tasks like interviewing the best candidates and managing retention. Simply post a job on Giraffe. Let Giraffe automatically screen candidates as they apply. Log in, see which candidates have passed your screening, listen to their voice notes and hire the best ones! 

To post a job on Giraffe click here

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