Call Centre Agents and employee retention rates: a challenge for the call centre industry

Silvia Planella/ January 3, 2018/ blog

The biggest asset of the call centre industry is its workforce. Some people will argue that software, especially knowledge management and cloud services, had transformed our industry and while I agree that technology has an important role in any contact centre, it is people who make the difference.

Traditionally, staff retention has been reported as one of the biggest challenges for call centres. In 2011, Amarach research reported, “30% of Call Centre industry feels retention of staff is a challenge”. 3C logic (2016) reported, “the average call center sees an annual turnover of 33%, incurring turnover costs of 25-30% of a full salary and benefits per employee.” In the last decade a large number of changes have come to stay in the contact centre industry; however, the staff retention trend seems to stay still in general. Having said that, we would like to point that there are exceptions.

We have interviewed Sean Hickey, Operations Manager in Arema Connect, to better understand Arema Connect team structure and how this contact centre is able to have the amazing low turnover of the 8%.

Q: Can you describe Arema Connect team?

Call Centre agents team

I have been working in Arema Connect since June 2010.

Since then, I have the pleasure of working with a highly motivated workforce. Kay has been working with us since 2002, this year Kelley will have her 10 years work anniversary… we have a loyal team. Furthermore, in a recent employee satisfaction survey, more than half of our team plan to stay with us for more than 5 years. And that says a lot about our culture and teamwork.

Q:  What makes Arema Connect different to other contact centres?

In Arema Connect we have a diverse portfolio of Clients.  We had dedicated teams but also shared services teams.  The daily calls an Agent handles for our Clients are very varied, especially on our Shared Services Team.   We are now concentrating on providing our clients with First Call Resolution Support with our dedicated teams.  The long-term aim is to provide our clients with a team that are fully trained on the customer journey and have the authorisation to resolve any issues that they may have.   This involves a partnership model and our team are an extension of our client’s in-house team.

Q: What measures are in place to ensure employees retention rates?

Arema Connect have recently implemented a group pension scheme and a gym membership scheme. We will continue to have our own annual internal awards night to formally recognise high achievers and to build relationships with the teams. We conduct employee feedback surveys every year and value the opinions of all our staff. Good suggestions will be introduced & implemented.

Q: How customers benefit from high retention rate?

It stands to reason that a well trained experienced agent will be familiar with the processes & procedures. This results in shorter handling times, the customer experience is more enjoyable as the agent is more knowledgeable and efficient. They can draw on their experience to create positive outcomes.  Our clients can build relationships with our teams and are confident that they can outsource additional work to us with minimum training requirements.

Q: Does recruitment have anything related to your low turnover?

I believe it certainly has some input on our Staff Retention rate.  The right “fit” is extremely important in that we look for certain qualities when hiring to ensure that potential candidates fit in with our existing staff and also are compatible with our work ethos. We have an open plan office and it is extremely important that everyone works as part of a team.

Q: Can I get a job as customer representative?

Sure! We are actively recruiting for numerous campaigns. We are open 24 by 7 all year round.

So there are always opportunities to join our team.