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What’s the true level of staff attrition in contact centres?

I ask because I was reading a report today. The report states that attrition in large contact centres (over 50 staff) is 34% per annum on average.  

Most people would think that this is high – however the report mentions that the figure is down from earlier years; no doubt affected by the economic recession. Interestingly, this attrition figure is for contact centres dealing with inbound calls. The level of attrition in centres doing outbound calling, where pressure is seen as higher, is recorded as 56%.

Now, most people would agree that staff attrition at 34%, let alone 56%, represents a considerable cost to the contact centre. New staff have to be recruited, inducted and trained. There is also the impact on more loyal staff in the contact centre who see colleagues come and go.

However, I wonder if, in reality, the level of attrition is even higher. Consider the following:

  • Some contact centres do not count staff on temporary contracts in their attrition figures; although some temporary staff will have been there for many months
  • There are contact centres that do not include staff moving internally within the organisation in their figures. Presumably these staff have to be replaced
  • There are also contact centres that do not include staff leaving in their first three months of service; even though inducting and training these staff will have meant significant costs and replacements will need to be found.

I remember some assignments in contact centres where, if all these variables were included, the staff attrition figure would come out a lot higher than that first mentioned.

Staff attrition remains a great strain on the resources of contact centres; particularly when money is tight. The level of attrition should stay high on the list of measures that show whether the contact centre is being run effectively. More importantly, managers should never lose sight of initiatives aimed at keeping it as low as possible.

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