Contact Centers Need to Do More to Keep Talent
The nation's 3 million contact center agents are part an industry that faces one of the highest employee turnover rates: 40 percent leave their jobs within 12 months. Research from ASAPP found that problems with training/coaching, technology, and career opportunities were among the top reasons.
"Seventy-four percent of agents view themselves as company brand ambassadors and the voice of the brand they represent. When companies fail their agents with dysfunctional technology, training, and coaching, they risk not only a frustrating employee experience, but a poor customer experience that will have consumers looking elsewhere," said ASAPP Chief Experience Officer Michael Lawder in a statement. "Contact center agents want to be empowered and do their best to help consumers. They operate in a difficult environment with a frankenstack of poorly designed legacy systems that are difficult to use; policies and processes that prioritize cost and liability over resolution and customer satisfaction, with a lack of ongoing coaching and training that does not help accelerate their progress."
While companies often look at ways to reduce the time it takes to train agents, reduced training lowers the confidence and competence of agents, which can lead to higher absenteeism. Thirty-eight percent of agents stated that training and career growth opportunities would improve their jobs. The impact of training at the start of a job and throughout agents' careers directly impacts their happiness. Ongoing coaching and support for agents has been inconsistent in the shift to work from home, with 37% of respondents indicating it had been difficult to receive feedback during the pandemic.
Forty-five percent of agents indicated that technological advancement in contact centers is behind the times. Self-serve technologies such as interactive voice response systems and chatbots are shifting agents to focus on more complex calls, while the majority (72 percent) of agents are motivated to solve simple customer problems. As contact centers look to align business objectives, they are turning to artificial intelligence to maximize human productivity, increase automation and enable a company to radically scale services. Yet, agents are still unaware of the value that AI platform can offer.
Although 53 percent of contact center agents expressed optimism about their jobs, overall agents expressed a desire for career growth above all other improvements. Allowing agents to experience a range of roles and growth provides empowerment and optimism for their careers. Beyond collecting a paycheck, agents expressed their motivations to help customers as their priority.