Call centre brain drain due to lack of training

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

The annual study by call centre outsourcing specialist Merchants, based on a
survey of 352 call centres in 30 countries, puts the sector’s turnover rate at
32 per cent.

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

Nine out of 10 call centres which have staff retention plans highlight
training as critical to ensuring low staff turnover.

Merchants HR director Cheryl Clifford said the report shows management
training must improve.

"We found that training levels for managers are particularly poor in
crucial areas such as telephone skills, staff motivation and management
skills," she said.

"Often training for these skills is provided by a corporate function
that may not fully appreciate the different skills set required for contact
centre managers.

"Experienced agents are relied on to coach new starters but then these
more experienced staff leave because their own training requirements are not
being met. There is a ‘brain drain’ which contributes to the ongoing downward

Clifford believes employers must make an effort to involve call centre staff
in business strategy to boost morale.

Steve Hall, head of training and development for Merchants, said some firms
are having to invest so much money in recruitment that it drives down salary
levels, which also increases staff turnover.

By Ben Willmott

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