Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Report Shows Contact Centers Still Fighting High Attrition

July 30, 2007

To all of those operating in the contact center space, it should be no surprise that attrition is a major concern in the industry. In fact, many organizations have implemented programs specifically aimed at reducing turnover as it continues to create higher contact center costs and lower customer satisfaction.

According to a new study of more than 200 contact centers, the “US Contact Center Operational Review,” contact center attrition is running at 33 percent, with two-thirds of contact centers reporting problems with keeping their staff.

IP is gaining ground in the contact center space. The use of VoIP is expected to triple in the next two years, with the reduction in telephone and network costs acting as the biggest driver for increases in IP in the contact center.

The report also found that contact centers are spending $11.7 billion each year on the manual verification of caller identities. Measurement in the contact center still plays an important role, although hitting call targets is being considered more important than improving customer satisfaction or decreasing costs.

While contact center employment can be a lucrative position for some, the average annual starting salary for a new agent is under $28,000. In addition to this expense, the top three areas of contact center expenditure in the next two years will be increasing headcount, improving training and implementing CRM.

The US Contact Center Operational Review is sponsored by Intelemedia, Syntellect (News - Alert) and VoiceVault and looks at salaries, attrition, training, multimedia, IP, self-service, strategies, outsourcing, planning and many other elements that are considered key to understanding how contact center can best be managed.

According to report author, Steve Morrell, many U.S. contact centers face excessive agent attrition rates that are preventing them from taking strategic and valuable action, including focusing on increasing customer satisfaction and improving first-call resolution rates. Many centers seek to increase their headcount and take the next step in providing high-quality customer contact, but are frustrated by the rate at which they are losing staff and skills.

Morrell went on to add that this is made worse by the way in which wider businesses usually measure the success of the contact center. Often, the contact center is the main place where the customer meets the business. However, many in senior management often view the purpose of the contact center as being to cut costs and increase call throughput.
Even though the contact center is a strategic asset to many businesses, this lack of understanding, support and investment from these individuals is inhibiting the ability of the contact center to reach its full potential.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page

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