High employee turnover rates are common in contact centres and understandably so. Outbound sales isn’t for everyone and nor is working nights and weekends, as many do in long hours centres. Cranky customers can also take a toll on motivation and morale over the long term.

Australian contact centres had an attrition rate of 45 per cent in 2019, with agents sticking around for an average of just 22 months. Not great, but not as dire as it is in some offshore locales where the churn rate hits a whopping 140 per cent per year.

It costs time and money to train contact centre agents and having a team dominated by newbies isn’t great for customer service. Here are some tips for improving your retention rate.

Hire discerningly

Investing more heavily in the recruitment process will up your odds of picking winners. That means spending enough time in interviews to get a feel for candidates’ personalities, checking their references exhaustively and putting them through their paces in situ, rather than racing through the process, only to have to repeat it a few months later.

Invest in training

The first few days in a new role can colour an agent’s entire experience with your organisation. Thorough onboarding and training will help them get off on the right foot and give them the support they need to be able to give their best back to you.

Give feedback often

Most of us want to know how we’re travelling and that our efforts are appreciated. Holding regular reviews helps agents see where they can improve, gives them recognition if their personal performance is above par and keeps management engaged with the team.

Offer opportunities to advance

Some agents aren’t looking for careers but, for others, the role may be a stepping stone. Offering opportunities to advance and a road map for getting there provides an incentive to those in the latter group to work hard and stick around.

Conduct exit interviews

Almost everyone moves on eventually. Seeking agents’ feedback before they depart – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you understand why yours is a desirable place to work or, conversely, provide some insight into how you can up your game as an employer.