Experts from the contact center industry agree that agent attrition is a pain that costs anything from thousands to millions of dollars per year based on the size of the contact center.
In case of hard sales campaigns with predictably miserable ROI, the length of the agents’ life cycle within the contact center is usually a couple of months. In other words – it is very short to be really productive. When an agent provides customer care of a sophisticated product that involves more educated and cultivated customer representatives there is a bigger chance that the agent might keep his job for longer or even accept it as a long-term career. However, the average contact center attrition stays between 20 and 35% per year.
So is there a chance to effectively influence agent attrition or at least to predict and manage agents that would leave soon? Of course, quality management processes contain tools that might be able to help. But unfortunately, these are built around traditional methods that consist exclusively of coaching sessions, measuring performance and quality indexes and as a result tie these together with a remuneration scale. In the real life it is often apparent that the weak part is actually the team leader, who, in many cases, gets promoted from the position of being the most successful agent.
This promotion of a successful agent to the team leader role seems to be a logical step, yet it’s important to admit that these people usually don’t possess major, if any, management skills. On the other hand, this kind of a team leader can effectively coach agents by providing insights into proper handling of customers and can have a positive effect on agents’ performance and thus their salary bonus. There is, however, a secondary effect on the team – by promoting the top-performing agent to the team leader position the overall team performance temporarily drops.
Nevertheless, what team leaders are absolutely missing is a set of actionable data about psychological profiles of their subordinates that would help them build high performing teams, reveal hidden motivations of the agents to leave and see the correlations between performance, level of motivation, and currently assigned campaigns.
That’s why we have built AgentBalance. A software solution that can reveal psychometric parameters of agents. Such parameters bring the missing and unavailable pieces of information that any team leader would be able to incorporate into the coaching sessions. AgentBalance is built on the CWAT method (Color-Word Association Test) where agents simply assign colors to a set of projected phrases such as “My Job”, “My Time”, “My Boss”. This method excludes any questions, comparison or evaluation from the test which means that agents can not by any means influence the result of the test.
Agents take the AgentBalance test weekly and it takes them up to 4 minutes per test. The set of results that the team leaders can build on includes the agent’s level of energy (rested / tired), level of job fulfillment, and attrition index that shows how much determination to leave the contact center the agent currently holds. Furthermore, the energy level is drilled down into categories, showing how exactly the agent’s energy is invested – into job execution (that is of course the most favorable case), managing relationships in the office, self discipline, working environment, or even into searching for another job.
It is amazing how much information the team leaders can get. It is absolutely crucial that the team leaders handle agents with great amount of respect and also that they use provided data for increasing their own ability of understanding what’s going on in an agent’s psyche. Not every team leader is a skilled psychologist. That’s why we insist on the initial training of team leaders to make sure that they know how to effectively interpret and use AgentBalance data in order to lead their agents to achieving harmonic working environment, balanced teams and of course hitting their goals.
A great advantage of this testing is not only that it can predict when an agent would leave the job, but more importantly, it can identify campaigns that are well accepted by the team, which reflects in agents’ inner comfort. All these observations are made by AgentBalance well before they start influencing the real life in the contact center.
Every agent leaving the job means a major loss for the contact center not only by means of additional costs of training a new agent, but also as a demotivating factor for those who stay. That’s why we believe that implementing a tool that can reveal the tendencies of agents to leave is crucial in order to keep teams highly motivated, satisfied and well performing.
Václav Martin, CEO AgentBalance