Absenteeism costing call centres 10m days a year

UK contact centres lose 10 million working days per annum due to
absenteeism.

The claim is made in a publication from Dimension Data, The Merchants Global
Contact Centre Benchmarking Report.

Agent absenteeism in the UK runs at 8 per cent per annum, and UK contact
centre staff now represent almost 3 per cent of the employed population.

The survey also reveals that the contact centre industry is still
experiencing a high agent turnover rate of 19 per cent globally, with Europe
and the UK facing turnover rates of 25 per cent.

Adrian Garton, contact centre HR manager at call centre consultants
Merchants, said this may be in part due to the fact that many UK agents now see
contact centre work as a career, and move between centres in search of better
pay and conditions.

To prevent staff attrition, contact centres need to place more emphasis on
staff development, he said, and develop HR programmes that recognise the
cultural differences between contact centre workers and corporate workers.

Just 50 per cent of centres surveyed had specific policies for career
development, a drop from 57 per cent in 2001, and only 47.7 per cent of centres
had a specific policy for staff attrition.

Garton said he was surprised that only half the UK contact centres conduct
telephone interviews with candidates.

"Telephone interviews are invaluable. They are the best way of finding
out whether they will be happy talking on the phone," he said.

Ian Barlett, group contact centre training manager at consultancy Merchants,
said contact centres need to increase training and development, after a drop in
interest over the past year, largely due to cost.

"Training is one area that has been hit harder than most by companies’
wider budget restraints," he said.

He urged businesses to measure the business contribution that training
makes.

"The long-term damage and knock-on effect of training cuts will be the
attrition of employees and a loss of intellectual property and reputation in
the marketplace," he said.

By Quentin Reade

www.ccbenchmarking.com

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