Study Shows New Zealand Contact Centers Struggle with Turnover
July 05, 2007
With the various demands that contact center managers face in managing the center, the staff itself can prove to be the most challenging. These individuals work in a highly stressful field where turnover can be the most common resolution to problems. Plus, in an effort to ensure that the customer receives a completely satisfying experience, some contact center leaders can forget that their agents must be cared for as well.
For those contact centers in New Zealand, leaders are facing increasing difficulty in managing staff. This information comes from the latest industry benchmarking report from callcentres.net.
According to this report, 24 percent of agents changed jobs last year in the New Zealand contact center market. This represents an increase from 21 percent the year before. Such a trend can have damaging affects not only on the bottom line for organizations, but also on internal morale and the level of service that these centers are able to provide to the customer base.
"There is considerable competition for good staff and contact centers are experiencing great difficulty in managing their human resources," said callcentres.net director Catriona Wallace, in a company statement.
The report estimated that the number of customer service agents employed in New Zealand’s 515 contact centers rose 7.5 percent last year, with 30,000 to 32,000 people now working in the industry.
What makes increases in turnover such a burden for contact centers in any region is that while the wage bill represents two-thirds of the cost of running a contact center, it costs an organization roughly $15,000 to replace an agent. According to the report, the average salary of a full-time agent rose just 2 percent in the last year.
When it comes to the proper management of contact center agents, there seems to be a full range of opinions on the most effective methods. The culture of the region in which the contact center operates, as well as the culture of the company can make a difference in how the organization approaches its employees.
However, a few elements appear to be consistent across the global industry. Contact center agents want to be provided with the tools and the information to perform their jobs and they want to be able to resolve a customer issue quickly to avoid dealing with a frustrated customer. When an organization focuses on ensuring that agents have the proper training and the necessary tools to perform their job, they can significantly decrease turnover.
A reduction in turnover can not only improve the bottom line for the organization, it can also ensure that customers are provided the expected level of service. A happy contact center agent will deliver a high level of service to the customer, in essence, protecting the customer base. Ensuring that employees are happy and stay with the company has far-reaching benefits that can help to ensure growth and cost control over the long term.
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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