The painful truth about call center attrition


Attrition is every call center’s problem, yet so few of them are doing something about it.

High attrition rates in call centers put a strain on all aspects of management. One employee walking out the door can trigger a long chain of resignations or completely mess up the way a team would execute its tasks.

That’s just the start. If you’ve seen firsthand how attrition impacts contact centers, you’d know that it hampers performance, consequently driving a wedge between brands and customers.


One would think that because call center attrition has persistently been wreaking havoc in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry for many years, we would’ve found solutions by now. Yet efforts for improvement are still being derailed.

There could be many reasons why, and you’re not going to be pleased to hear about it. One is that many managers are averse to the idea of un-learning their old practices and embracing better ways to lead their teams. As a result, the employee engagement tactics they use end up becoming short-lived attempts to make up for attrition-caused losses.

Another is that managers often aim at the wrong targets. Their immediate response, when faced with numerous resignations, is to offer larger salary packages, comfier chairs, or a private office. However, just because employees aren’t leaving doesn’t mean they’re satisfied, but you can always count on high attrition to mean that there are far worse problems than insufficient compensation or poor facilities.

So if we think about it and we’re prepared to do an honest self-evaluation, perhaps we’ll finally admit that the problem all boils down to poor leadership.

The impacts of leadership on attrition


Surveys after surveys prove that most call center agents leave not because of their jobs but because of their supervisors. This fact has been emphasized over and over, such that the line “I didn’t quit my job; I quit my boss” has been stripped off its wit and just became another cliché.

Honestly, how many managers or company owners truly care?

If organizations care deeply enough for its people, they would have tried harder to keep them, help them grow, and make them stay. Managers would strive to become more effective at their roles, and company owners would start treating their employees as their most precious assets rather than faceless workers. Still, there are too few call centers that invest in leadership trainings and employee engagement activities, and the price they pay for not doing so is one they can’t afford in the long run.

Providing fulfilling opportunities

Your people deserve more attention. They deserve to be part of an organization that lets them exercise their resourcefulness and encourages them to reach their fullest potential. So train them well and provide them opportunities to learn more. The reward for investing on your employees’ development is passion, loyalty, and a pure desire to grow along with your organization.

Also, let them know that the role they play in the company is an important one. Let every single employee feel that they’re part of the team by communicating with them on a personal level.

But never be complacent. Enhancing employee engagement is a never-ending process. You should engrave it into your organization’s culture by making it an everyday practice. The results may not be instantaneous, but you’ll soon notice lower attrition, happier employees, and a much better performance.



4 thoughts on “The painful truth about call center attrition

  1. I can definitly agree. Honestly there are less and less companies that would really care. They loss people they try to attract new people with higher pay for the new while the old just get what they originally signed for. While they are well trained and knowledgeable with the product. Making new reasons for employees to leave.

    And yes they will give out leadership trainings. But they just use it for an excuse for supervisors to convince employees to stay and just forget about the bad experience, but they’ll never do anything to even try to amend it…. such a sad truth with bpo companies.

    1. I agree with you, Prince. If the damage is already done, managers should really try to make up for them. It all comes down to relationship building. Just because BPO companies have too many employees (and honestly, they easily acquire new ones!) doesn’t mean they can treat them as commodities. If they don’t open their minds soon, this will be a hard battle to win.

  2. Predictability is the best way to combat attrition. Because attrition reasons come in all forms you have to embed and consistently drive an attrition watch within your organizations culture

    1. Thanks for pointing that out Roy, I couldn’t agree more. BPO companies have to anticipate attrition so they can prevent it. Everyone must be included in this process, even agents themselves.

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