Dramatic increase in call centre staff turnover

Call
centre staff turnover has doubled over the last two years largely because of
poor training, a major benchmarking report reveals.

The
study by call centre outsourcing specialists Merchants, which was based on a
survey of 352 call centres in 30 countries, shows that the turnover rate for
the sector is 32 per cent and that staff stay in their jobs for an average of
only 27 months.

Nearly
90 per cent of organisations surveyed have recruitment strategies in place but
despite the high attrition rate only 55 per cent of organisations have staff
retention strategies.

Nine
out of ten call centres, which have staff retention plans, highlight training
as critical to ensuring low staff turnover.

Cheryl
Clifford, HR director at Merchants, said the report showed that management
training must improve.

She
explained, “In particular we have found that training levels for managers were
particularly poor in crucial areas such as telephone communication skills,
staff motivation and management skills. Often training for these skills is
provided by a corporate function that may not fully appreciate the different
skill set required for contact centre supervisors or managers.

“Experienced
agents are currently relied upon to support and coach new starters but as these
more experienced employees leave the organisation due to their own training
requirements not being adequately met, there is in effect a ‘brain drain’ which
contributes to the ongoing downward spiral.”

Clifford
believes organisations must make more of an effort to involve call centre staff
with the aims of their business because in too many workplaces they are made to
feel like second-class citizens.

Steve
Hall, head of training and development for Merchants, thinks that some
companies are having to invest so much money in recruitment that it drives down
the salaries they can pay, which also increases employee turnover.

www.merchants.co.uk

By
Ben Willmott

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