The 2022 Contact Center Trifecta of Pain: Rising Attrition Rates (Part 2)


Here’s what is contributing to higher contact center turnover rates, and what employers can do about attrition.

Over the past 12 months, a clear pattern has emerged. First, the employment website Indeed included multiple types of contact center roles in its list of 12 High Turnover Jobs in 2021. Then, frontline contact center attrition rates started increasing at an astonishing rate, from a baseline average of 30 to 45% to a new high of up to 65% or even 80% across some verticals.

These higher contact center turnover rates are coming at a steep price for many types of employers.

In response to rising contact center attrition rates, business leaders are focusing on getting better at hiring talent, while at the same time looking for ways to improve contact center retention

What’s Driving Contact Center Turnover Rates?

Here are a few key factors at play, and what employers can do to address each. 

#1: Agents are leaving due to a lack of flexible work arrangements

There’s a strong correlation between contact center attrition and inflexible working arrangements. Employers that want to hold onto their best people should be aware that more than 50% of agents prefer remote/hybrid working options. In larger contact centers, we are seeing that more than 60% of agents prefer remote/hybrid arrangements. 

Having a great hybrid policy that delivers performance and the flexibility to be just as productive working from anywhere is winning the day for many, but it’s also important for organizations to recognize contact center agents wherever they’re working, and create working environments that inspire and bring teams together to collaborate.

#2: Companies aren’t providing long-term training, motivation, and support

The typical agent often flies through onboarding and skills ramping, but at the eight-month mark, we often see a plateau in performance, and that’s where the seeds of attrition can begin. The frontline agent role that has to be constantly backfilled barely allows contact centers to become service-consistent, not to mention grow. 

Some of the best ways to improve contact center agent performance include:

  • Collecting contact center agent feedback to gain insight into how you can better support your people
  • Demonstrating confidence in your team
  • Recognizing and rewarding contact center agents

#3: Agents have more work on their plates than ever

Since the start of the pandemic, we are hearing that live voice interactions with customers within the contact center have increased. They used to make up 40% of interactions and now they make up 60% of interactions. Even as many resume normal pre-pandemic activities, contact centers are experiencing an overall increase of live voice interactions with customers by up to 20% compared to pre-pandemic levels in some verticals, such as telecommunications and financial services. We are also seeing longer call durations, more complex calls, and more vulnerable customers and agents.

Employers can ensure strong contact center performance under pressure by collecting customer experience feedback so agents have the insights they need to anticipate and proactively address customer pain points within the contact center. Leaders can also use this feedback to offer near real-time coaching to help agents do their jobs better in the moment.

The Tech Stack You Need to Tackle Contact Center Attrition

Savvy brands are leveraging a combination of technology solutions to get clear insights into what’s driving attrition, including the following popular tools:

  • Surveys for collecting employee and customer feedback: Traditional customer and employee feedback surveys have been around for years, and are still widely used for generating a continuous stream of important quality data for evaluating engagement.
  • Text analytics: Analyze and draw meaning from a variety of sources, including live chat, social media, and surveys, all from one central location.
  • Speech analytics: Learn from the greatest contact center data, voice interactions between customers and contact center agents.
  • Crowdsourcing platforms: Generate employee ideas for how to improve the contact center team experience.
  • Quality management tools: Pinpoint opportunities for contact center agent coaching, rewards, and motivation.
  • Virtual callback automation: Shift call volumes to the most efficient times, route calls to the most effective queues, and make these connections without wasting time for either customers or agents. 

With the right tech stack supporting your agents, you will be forewarned of any agents at risk and can proactively take steps to improve retention.

Improve Contact Center Agent Retention

The costs of contact center agent attrition are great, from those associated with hiring and training new agents to the impacts on customer experience and brand reputation. That’s why the fight to keep agents is critical to every contact center’s success. At the end of the day, one of the most effective ways to keep your agents interested, engaged, and retained is by building out your tech stack to be able to best understand and meet your agents’ needs.

Check out our guide, 4 Steps to Supercharge Contact Center Agent Performance, to discover how leading contact centers address top service issues, unlock coaching opportunities, increase agent engagement, and reduce attrition.