What You Need to Know About Contact Center Turnover Rate

It’s hard to believe your contact center turnover rate, already seen as the industry’s KPI killer, could ever be underestimated. Yet, here we are.

The problem isn’t that companies don’t take the concept seriously enough to take action. It’s that they’re taking the wrong actions. In fact, it’s increasingly popular for companies to host activities, like potlucks or dress-up days, to keep agents happy. But these center-sponsored events are nothing more than a temporary band-aid to a much larger wound.

Companies are deeply undervaluing the true financial toll turnover takes.

Finding and retaining a qualified workforce has huge implications to your bottom line. From the time an agent leaves the company, to the point the empty seat is filled and fully productive again, managers and agents are left overworked with subpar results.

The first step to conquering your contact center turnover rate is understanding it.

Calculating your contact center turnover rate

To figure out your contact center turnover rate, take a period of time – usually a year – and apply the following formula:

Employee Departures/Active Employees = Turnover Rate

So, if I had 1,000 active employees in a year and 400 left, my contact center turnover rate is 40 percent. Easy, right?

Forty percent turnover is a terrible figure, and by itself it’s pretty useless. It tells you changes are needed, but it doesn’t say what those changes should be.

To paint a more holistic picture, supplement your turnover rate with context like the nature of departure, specifics of your agent’s role, and even team assignments. Most of this information should be readily available, but it plays a big part in how you attack this dragon of attrition.

Nature of departure

Uncovering why your employees leave is the first step in reducing your contact center turnover. Was it a voluntary move? Were they fired? What context clues can you derive from the departure? For instance, if they left on their own, was it because they moved across the country? Or maybe they found the next move up at another company? Then again, it may be something related to their dissatisfaction working in your contact center.

If they were fired, what triggered it? Were they acting out against management? That could signify a lack of empowerment. Or maybe they just weren’t meeting their KPIs – which could stem from poor training.

To get the full story, you’ll need to conduct exit interviews with both the departing agent and their supervisor, which will take some time and effort. But think about how helpful it’ll be to track the various reasons behind the turnovers. For instance, if 20 percent of the people who leave are underperforming agents, then you need to review your hiring process and training programs.

Trends and patterns

Your turnover rate becomes more useful if you can record it over time and stack it up against other parts of your contact center’s operations strategy. Consider factors like service length, team assignments, and calendar events to help uncover ebbs and flows.

Does your contact center turnover spike during certain months of the year? Are average turnover numbers higher for one team and lower for another? How long does the average agent last in your organization? Once patterns begin to emerge, find the gaps in your process and fix them.

Industry standing

So you know your own turnover rate, but how do you know if you’re doing well or not?

While most companies aren’t willing to publish their respective numbers, industry surveys have placed the average contact center turnover rate between 30-45 percent. Individual numbers will vary based on industry and location (in the Philippines, for example, agents last an average of 18 months).

How do your numbers compare to other contact centers? What is your organization doing to improve?

Get agents on-boarded, train often, give feedback and build trust in your teams and leadership. If you treat your agents like the professionals you’ve hired, their loyalty will grow. They’ll stick around longer, and they’ll bring more value to your customers experience.