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The top drivers that make good contact centre staff leave

The bad ones stay and the good ones leave. Funny, that isn’t it?

It is not unique to the contact centre, but staff recruitment, development and retention is the number one issue I hear about in my day-to-day interactions with customers, prospects and partners. This is particularly amplified, it seems, in larger contact centres with more than 500 staff.

Money (salary) is obviously a big driver, but not one that we can do much about. There is an economic model we all must fit within and, if this is a prime driver, I am sure you will react to it as best you can. But I find money has two sides to its coin. The obvious side is: I need to pay the bills. The less obvious side: how much do I need on top to put up with this? And it is the latter that really drives the exit of good players, not the former. So, what can we do about it?

Well, first let us categorise the employee stages. You will have staff that are:

Consciously Incompetent: they know they don’t know what they are doing. There are two subcategories within this group: newbies and problem people. Therefore, keep the former and lose the latter.

Unconsciously Competent: they don’t know that they know what they are doing.

Consciously Competent: they know their stuff.

There is also a category of Unconsciously Incompetent and you should get rid of these people fast.

You are left with newbies, potentials and rock stars. Now you need a strategy to keep and motivate all these guys outside of the obvious $$$£££€€€.

Each category needs different drivers and I have mapped out more than 20 for each, but that would make for a very boring blog, so here are the top three per category.

To start, my model is aligned to personality types that can be simplified into staff that want:

  1. A career path
  2. A better me
  3. A better company
  4. To help/develop others.

All of these are clearly interrelated.

The Newbies
These people typically have more bias towards career path and a better me.

The number one frustration of this category is lack of visibility of a clear and granular career path programme. This is not simply role based, for example agent to senior agent to supervisor to QM leader and so on. Although this is valid and important, it is more about the experience and education-based activities you can map out within the current role. Think of it as dot releases of software. They come in at 1.0, and you offer 1.1, 1.2. 1.3 sub-elements before they are ready for 2.0, also followed by a series of dot releases. This way the career structure becomes substantive and structured.

This category typically wants to do better, learn and improve their resume, so having a platform to facilitate this is fundamental. They are typically motivated, keen and bright, and learning from others and from systems is key. Speech analytics platforms and agent real-time assist platforms not only drive the development of these staff, but they also directly impact the customer satisfaction and experience and have a meaningful impact on FRC and ACHT.

I am Invisible.
This category also wants to shine bright and impress. But many are not given the stage. We have seen a phenomenal impact by placing excellent call examples, whether sales, service, complaint, objection handling, sincerity, condolence, and so on, into an indexed excellence library. They become the star, and other newbies learn.

The Potentials
These people are critical to you, and they probably make up most of your staff complement and therefore deal with the bulk of the volume. There are lots of subgroups, but at a high level there are those who just want to do the job (hopefully better), and those who want to move up the ladder to leadership of people and process. So, this category is either focused on ‘better me’ or ‘career path’ with added ‘help others’ (people management) and/or ‘better company’ (back-office processes, analysis, knowledge and data).

The drivers of frustration come from several areas, but two big drivers for staff who want to move up are: mundane tasks and the perception of higher value. This means they are frustrated as they think they know the answers to the business problems but do not have the mechanism to substantiate them or impact change.

These are rising stars, but not quite stars. As a leader, you may find yourself in a tough spot as you need troops and not more officers.

The answer is to give some degree of systems access and allocate authorised time to prove their theories and reward them. I have seen incredible responses to giving seasoned agents and junior team leaders access to intuitive conversational analytics tools to investigate why customers calling and where there are broken processes, missing knowledge and friction points.

Back-office teams do this in isolation. Front-office staff do this from knowing, because they feel the customer pain in the calls, chats and emails they handle. We extended our conversational analytics query builder from ten back-office staff at a major telco provider, to more than 200 agents and team leaders, and the impact on staff was very positive, as were the subsequent findings.

The Rock Stars.
Again, these people may be happy with their lot or want to progress up the ladder. They are seasoned and highly knowledgeable, not only about the company’s products and services, but all the nuances in process.

The big frustration for them is needless processes and broken processes. Many rock stars are still subject to relatively pointless QA/QM sessions and must fill out copious forms and reports post call/chat/email. In addition, there is significant frustration that comes from broken company processes.

Automating these activities is a major release valve for the employee experience and dramatically impacts staff retention.

In summary, organisations may wish to consider automating call summary workload and the QA/QM process, not only to directly impact staff wellbeing and performance, but also to save a small fortune in the process. They could also consider using AI to automate the detection of unknown topics that drive failure demand and process issues.

I hope this helps. It is just the tip of the iceberg.