Curb Call Center Attrition by Dealing with Poor Performers – Here’s How




  • by Suzanna Colberg July 12, 2016
    July 12, 2016

    Dealing with call center attrition begins with weeding out poor performers


    No company wants its worst performers to stick around for a long time.


    However, for many call centers, this “reverse attrition” problem is exactly what happens. Employees who execute interviews beautifully leave you with the kind of buyer’s remorse even your most bitter customers could only dream about.


    Sometimes higher attrition rates seem desirable when so many employees are not working out. Attrition in call centers, therefore, can be broken down into two categories:



    • Good attrition: poor performers leave and high-quality workers stay
    • Bad attrition: high-quality workers leave while poor performers stay

    While the term “attrition” can be enough to send shivers up the spine of anyone who has a stake in the hiring process, we have discussed in previous blogs that positive attrition can actually be a good thing for call centers if it means the underperformers are leaving while the better performers are sticking around.


    3 Strategies to Deal with Attrition in Call Centers, Starting with Poor Performers


    While there’s no silver bullet for eliminating bad attrition completely, creating an environment that encourages good workers to stay requires addressing the presence of workers who aren’t as high-quality. If you don’t, your organization will pay a hefty price for keeping poor performers around, which is also known as the “dark side” of employee retention.


    Below are three methods you can use to combat bad attrition in your call center, starting with underperforming agents.


    1. Exit Employees Who Aren’t Responsive to Coaching and Feedback


    Poor performers are less of a flight risk than successful ones, so it’s all the more important to focus on employee retention strategies that identify and eject staff who are muddying your call center metrics and culture. When organizations take the time to build a proactive talent assessment strategy, it results in improvements in both performance and call center attrition rates.


    However, it would be unfair and even unethical not to pull the plug without first offering poor performers opportunities to grow before removing them from the organization completely.


    Using closed-loop analytics that capture ongoing performance data can help identify and examine trends among the individual performances of your call center agents, including dipping performance metrics and recent disciplinary actions. Examining these metrics allows you to identify employees who are likely to churn, and work with these agents by offering performance reviews, training, and coaching support. These methods not only give the agent a chance to improve, but protect your legal interests while offering all staff the best possible chance to succeed.


    However, if the agent does not respond to these efforts, he or she needs to be let go.


    Admittedly, it can be a challenge for call center managers to deal effectively with this side of retention in call centers, but reducing your decision to performance statistics can help you to make intelligent choices. Additionally, an employee’s propensity for flexibility and openness to feedback can be measured during the pre-hire process with the help of personality assessment tools.


    2. Eliminate “High-Likeability Floaters”


    One of the more challenging aspects of retention in call centers is dealing with “high-likeability floaters.” These are staff who rise in your organization because they don’t make enemies or difficult decisions.


    These types of workers are exceptionally pleasant, and well-liked by most of the staff. They’re uncomplaining and uncritical leaders who avoid conflict. The problem with these types of workers, though, is that they often are able to get by without being top performers. Keeping them around ultimately may do more harm to your organization than good.


    To keep from holding on to well-liked underperformers, it is important to stay conscious of competence over likability by keeping your performance reviews objective with the help of closed-loop analytics. Link conclusions to hard data and document the steps you’ve taken to support poor performers.


    3. Use Predictive Analytics to Reduce Call Center Attrition


    By thoroughly assessing these types of individuals before you hire them, you can curb your call center attrition by avoiding having to terminate them – because you never hired them in the first place!


    When your organization seems to be holding on to long-term employees who are consistently performing below your performance threshold, using pre-hire tools that identify the right candidate up-front can help curb this problem.


    However, be sure to validate tools against attrition and attendance, not just performance. By doing this, you will be able to investigate your analytics to identify employee behaviors consistent with tardiness and absenteeism (among others), and determine whether or not these behaviors present a potential risk of attrition. This information can then be used to refine your hiring process and pinpoint candidates who do and do not exhibit these types of behaviors.


    This same technology has helped FurstPerson’s customers reduce 0-90 day attrition by 39%, and reduce absenteeism and tardiness by 33%.


     

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