On average, how long do your customer service reps stay in the company?
No one would be surprised if your agents’ average length of stay in the company is pretty low. After all, contact centers are notorious for sky-high employee turnover rates. While the median staff tenure across US industries for the 25-to-34 age group is a depressing 2.8 years, customer service workers stay in their company for an average of just one year.
This probably isn’t news to you at all. If your employees’ average tenure is about the same, you might just shrug it off. You might even think you’re doing quite well compared with the rest of the industry. But if you’re really concerned with your organization’s productivity, you might want to take a closer look. For instance, if you’re keeping mostly low performers and your best talents are leaving, isn’t this a legitimate reason to worry?
Of course, every company works hard to build a stellar team. High performers can deliver as much as 400% more productivity than the average worker. But beyond productivity, they also bring a string of positive qualities to an organization: inventiveness, creativity, and growth.
So how can you keep your most outstanding people motivated and engaged?
You may think that the truly skilled call center employees don’t care much about money. But the fact is that they care more about their base pay and bonuses than low or average performers. Your compensation structure must thus differentiate your stellar employees from the others. Otherwise, your high performers may feel as though they’re not being rewarded fairly. This might drive them to leave, considering that an array of opportunities is waiting for them in the job market.
Aside from salary complaints, however, here are five other reasons why good employees leave.
1. You overwork them.
Hardworking call center agents love to be challenged. But even the most intelligent and skilled employees can burn out if you bombard them with too many duties.
Plus, overworking your staff is counterproductive. A study from Stanford revealed employee output drops dramatically after working 50 hours a week. Moreover, someone who works 70 hours weekly produces nothing more within the extra 15 hours. It’s not surprising, therefore, that working long hours leads to high employee turnover rates.
Rather than giving additional workload to your high performers, replace their tasks with more challenging ones. This way, they can focus on highly important company projects. Of course, little changes such as promoting them officially and changing their job titles can make your best talents feel valued.
2. They’re the only ones you hold accountable.
High performers don’t mind holding themselves accountable for their own decisions and performance. However, expecting them to carry others’ responsibilities simply won’t work.
This is especially true in customer support, wherein every achievement is a product of team effort. It thus follows that every team member should be held accountable when something goes wrong. Managers must refrain from isolating their most trusted employees as the sole cause of performance drops. Otherwise, high performers may simply walk away and seek a call center that practices better team management.
3. Company procedures prevent them from doing their best.
High performers tend to go for call centers that allow them to express their creativity. For instance, if you prize organizational hierarchy to the extent that it compromises employees’ performance, your best staff may end up leaving.
Your organizational culture must allow employees to do things their own way. Great talents quickly lose patience over unsound workplace formalities and bureaucracy. Although they should adhere to your most important policies, be sure that you can provide them an environment that highlights, rather than stifles, their expertise.
4. Your visions and goals are unclear.
Talented employees want to feel that they’re making a difference not just in the workplace but also outside it. They want to know that they’re working for something they truly care about. So if your company’s purpose isn’t clear to them, they might quickly lose their motivation.
The solution here is to clarify your company’s mission among your employees. Doing so would give them a sense of purpose and increase their work engagement. This can help you reduce employee turnover in the long run.
5. They’re not being challenged enough.
Many customer support firms are probably guilty of this. Call center work can be too repetitive and monotonous over time, which means employees working for them also tend to rapidly lose their passion and enthusiasm.
This work environment won’t convince high performers to stay. Intelligent, productive employees crave big opportunities that encourage them to grow and beat their own limits. So if you’re not challenging your people or giving them a shot at more complex projects, don’t be surprised if you see them looking for another employer.