Understanding How Speech Analytics Can Reduce Customer Service Agent Attrition

News   •   Jan 21, 2016 12:08 EST

Speech Analytics has been available to contact centers for the last couple of decades but only recently have leading contact centers come to view the technology as an absolute must-have for delivering a superior customer experience as well as addressing the common causes of agent attrition. There are many causes for agent attrition including ineffective training, inaccurate and unfair agent evaluations, lack of training resources to target coaching, limited opportunity for self-development and no incentives and limited opportunity for income growth. With interaction analytic software immediately providing agent scoring, supervisors spend less time doing evaluations of agents and more time coaching. More training leads to improved agent performance, higher customer satisfaction, fair evaluations, incentive programs and opportunities for income growth.Successful organizations understand that the quality of agent interactions with customers affects customer satisfaction and consequently customer loyalty.

How large is the problem of agent attrition?

In major population centers it is not unusual for attrition to exceed 100% and sometimes even 200%. According to Deloitte Consulting, as shown in its 2013 Global Contact Center Survey, large call centers with over 500 agents suffered from turnover rates of 50% or higher annually. The survey indicated that companies that outsourced more than 50% of their agents also experienced the highest level of turnover. According to experts the dropout rate for a fresh class of new agents can easily be 60% within the first 90 days of employment. New employees that have not worked in contact centers before may find the environment and workplace very different from their previous experiences.

How much does agent attrition cost an employer?

The direct economic costs of on-boarding a new agent can be dramatic. A reasonable average financial cost for replacing an agent and on-boarding a new agent based on our research is $8,800 according to Response Daily ($4,000 for hiring, $4,800 for training). If we assume an annual 15% attrition rate, a 250 agent call center would incur costs of over $325,600 per year. This includes the direct costs for advertising, recruiter fees, testing, screening, interviewing, human resources, training, and extra supervision such as more frequent QM assessments.

How is high attrition rates of call center agents reduced?

The consequences are the high cost of replacing valued employees and perhaps more importantly the impacts on customer satisfaction. There are many operational remedies for reducing attrition. These have been widely discussed in contact center circles and include such actions as establishing a career ladder, delegating more decision-making authority to individual agents, creating a more congenial and less structured environment, increasing compensation, and resolving the product and policy issues which precipitate complaint calls. The constraint is that in many enterprises contact center management does not have the authority to make these changes. However, contact center management does have significant influence over technology investments. We have seen from our research that innovative applications of Interaction Analytics, both vendor and user driven, can effectively address the underlying issues that contribute to agent turnover. With products such as CallMiner, contact centers have a positive impact on reducing agent attrition.

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