Call centre work can be both repetitive and stressful at the same time. Agents have reported numerous reasons for leaving these work environments- ranging from poor remuneration to stringent targets and inflexibility around time (read more here). With the industry having some of the highest attrition rates in South Africa, call centres that solve this problem will indeed gain a competitive advantage.
South African call centres continue to grow despite the otherwise shrinking economy. Even for a growing sector with a constant supply of medium-skilled job seekers, employee turnover remains expensive- On average, managers’ report that it costs ~R20k to recruit, screen and train each new agent. This amounts to over 20% of the average annual salary.
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 2 of a two-part series that explores the top retention strategies for call centres. Read part 1 here.
#4 Offer vocational qualifications.
Some of the more successful call centres we work with offer their staff opportunities to work and study at the same time, resulting in better retention and staff that increase their future employability. Call centres can:
- Offer NQF certifications through company sponsored development initiatives. Call centres can do this by partnering with training companies that are accredited
- Sponsor employees who show promise to further their studies. Staff members can in turn work back the loan over a predefined period of time
- Sponsor practical qualifications like giving employees an opportunity to apply for their learners or driver’s license through the company. Helping staff achieve personal goals like these builds loyalty and commitment
#5 Offer better supervisory support.
Supervisor support positively enhances feelings of organisational fit. Such feelings include satisfaction with feedback, feeling valued and being rewarded and recognised for ideas and work well done. These feelings motivate employees to stay with the organisation. Supervisory support is also the extent to which employees feel their KPI’s and targets are reasonable and reachable. There is clear evidence that the current focus on efficiency measures in call centres can be counter-productive to achieving customer satisfaction. We suggest the following interventions to help make employees feel more supported:
- Treat staff with empathy and care. It pays to look after your people; they will in turn look after your business
- Measure the right things: Most call centres seem to miss the important link between employee satisfaction, service quality, customer satisfaction, and profitability. Focusing too much on straight productivity metrics will compel agents to do whatever it takes to achieve their targets. We suggest focusing on outcomes as primary metric and effort as a secondary metric.
- Distribute feedback fairly and frequently to all employees: establishing a connection with employees as a regular routine, whether it’s a weekly meeting with co-workers or a monthly check-in can have a real impact on staff morale.
#6 Offer special incentives.
Compensation plays a vital role in attracting employees; it enhances employee’s organisational commitment and ensures employee retention. Call centre positions that fail to offer a basic salary typically have higher attrition rates compared with those that offer a basic pay. Since not all environments operate under the same circumstances, we have listed a number of additional incentives that can motivate employees and build job satisfaction.
- A tenure bonus: These bonus’ are geared to reward long staying agents. For example, agents who stay for at least 6 months get an extra R1000 bonus
- Competitive performance bonus- eg: the first agent to close 5 deals today gets a voucher
- An attendance bonus is an incentive that rewards employees who show low rates of absenteeism. For example, agents below an absenteeism threshold every year get rewarded with time off
#7 Be conscious of your employer brand and take measures to improve it.
This is probably the most overlooked by companies, especially those that deal with an oversupply of candidates. A strong employer brand will drive inbound referrals of the right type of candidate. A poor brand will result in good candidates actively avoiding applying to work for you. Call centre managers and recruiters should look at Glassdoor, Google reviews and Facebook to see what their staff have to say about them. Take the feedback seriously and act on it! Ask yourself these questions:
- What measures does our company take to ensure candidates are treated like customers?
- Do we treat candidates like we do our more specialist hires?
- Do we know what candidates think of our company brand? Are we a brand that candidates want to be a part of if they had a choice?
The call centres that move away from treating employees as hands to perform pre-defined tasks will be the ones that ultimately succeed in what is an increasingly competitive sector
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
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!