Call Center Agent Retention

In the contact center, agents are your most valuable resource. At a fundamental level, they’re one of the reason contact center’s came to be; businesses need someone to answer the phones. But, agents are also your most significant cost. That’s why it’s crucial to understand call center agent retention.

Call center agent retention is your ability to maintain your talent. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘retention rate’, or ‘churn rate’. In essence, it describes how often agents leave your organization, in comparison to how often new employees join.

Attracting new talent is expensive. Lost employees have to be replaced, and no matter the scale of the enterprise, those costs quickly add up. The average annual cost of replacing a lost agent is over £200,000. And it’s easy to see why. For each new agent, you need to advertise the new role, pay recruiters, and then go through the hassle of getting that new agent on-boarded and trained up. In the meantime, your other agents have to take on extra work to keep up. A high call center agent retention rate is a source of real value to your organization, both in terms of brute finance and in terms of critical employee experience.

In this article, we dive into the specifics of call center agent retention. We discuss the causes of high attrition and strategies for improving call center agent retention, before going into detail on call center agent performance metrics, and the AI-powered technology elevating the Agent Experience.

To discover the secrets of call center agent retention, read on.

The Causes of Poor Call Center Agent Retention

Often, poor contact center agent experience is caused by a range of factors, including fluctuations in the labor market. Boosting your call center agent retention has to involve a raft of different measures.

In general, there are a few broad ways to improve your Agent Experience (and thus your agent retention):

  • Upgrade your working practices, by empowering your agents to work flexibly – A cloud contact center solution can be accessed from any location, via any internet-enabled device. This empowers your agents to work flexibly, letting you reap the benefits of hybrid working and improve your agent experience.

  • Upgrade your technology to create a seamless agent experiences – Legacy on-premise systems that lack functionality make life difficult for your agents. A cloud contact center solution is evergreen and continuously updated to adopt the newest functionality. Your agents are working with the most advanced technology, not wrestling with out-of-date systems.

  • Develop insight through call center agent performance metrics – To effectively support your agents, you need to understand their performance. A comprehensive reporting suite lets you view key contact center metrics, such as Average Handling Time, First Contact Resolution, Total Calls and more. From here, you can drill down into individual agent performance to understand which agents are in most need of support, and which may require more specialized training.

  • Look to the future with generative AI agent support – The future of the contact center is powered by AI. Though not suitable for unsupervised customer facing applications, Generative AI can support agents through automatic interaction transcription and summarization, live script suggestions, and personalized agent feedback. Generative AI reduces time spent on after-call work, saving hours of effort for agents.

Each of these strategies enhances a different aspect of the agent experience. To have the best chance of improving your call center agent retention, you need to be acting on each of them. A good place to start is with call center agent performance metrics.

Call Center Agent Performance Metrics

Knowledge of the agents is a business superpower; it lets you refine strategy, develop your talent, build employee loyalty, and boost the total lifetime of every agent you recruit. With so much at stake, there’s no excuse to neglect call center agent performance metrics.

Some of the more popular call center agent performance metrics include:

  • First Contact Resolution - One of the most commonly used call center agent performance metrics is First Contact Resolution. Solving a customer’s issue the first time they get in touch has manifold benefits: Not only will that customer feel satisfied with a speedy resolution, but your agents will have more time to dedicate to the next contact.

  • Average Handling Time - Your customers expect instant contact. Ensuring that an agent is available to answer every customer as quickly as possible is a key concern for contact center supervisors. This is where Average Handling Time becomes relevant. Cutting down your Average Handling Time is a great way to improve the overall efficiency of your contact center. Typically, a customer interaction, including hold time and after call work, lasts 8 minutes 30 seconds.

  • First Response Time - In the digital age, not every interaction takes place over the phone. When interactions cross multiple channels, measuring the quality of those interactions becomes harder. First Response Time allows for a more holistic picture of the contact center, accounting for omni-channel customer journeys.

By drilling down into agent performance at the individual level, you can identify an agent’s strengths and weaknesses. From here, it comes easy to tailor coaching and training to cover those skills gaps. And agents that receive high quality training are those best equipped to do their jobs, and by extension, those most likely to stick with you.

Call center agent performance metrics are valuable, but they’re not the only aspect of Agent Experience. And the future of agent experience looks bright.

AI-Backed Call Center Agent Retention

contact center is no stranger to Artificial Intelligence (AI). From the technology’s earliest days, contact centers have intelligently automated through Intelligent Automation and successive generations of AI, and have found applications in delighting customers and supporting agents; dramatically improving the efficiency of the contact center. Generative AI is set to go further.

Today, some of the most exciting applications for generative AI are in enhancing employee experience.

Call Center Agent Retention with storm®

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Accessible from any location through intuitive, no-code interfaces, storm puts the keys to the contact center in your hands. Content Guru makes boosting your call center agent retention easy.

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