Group Head of Solutions Sabio Group
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How can you turn around advisor attrition rates in the contact centre?

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Why it’s time to look inwards and unlock the potential of your number one asset in a post-Covid world – your contact centre staff.

18th Oct 2021
Group Head of Solutions Sabio Group
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Despite the upheaval caused by Covid-19, the annual rate of attrition among UK contact centre advisors remained at around 15% to 20%, in 2020 – higher than most brands would wish. However, we are now starting to see a crisis in the industry, with attrition rates soaring.

With the estimated cost to replace and train advisors in a 500-seat contact centre each year said to be over £1m, many businesses are looking at new ways to bring down attrition rates – and improve customer experience as a result.

At the same time, customers and employees have responded to the pandemic by finding new ways to meet their core needs – with brands ultimately striving to keep up.

The pandemic has been the most powerful catalyst for change in living memory. Our current choices in how we work, socialise and shop have been turned on their heads – and possibly forever.

Indeed, in order to not only survive but thrive in a post-Covid world, it has become increasingly important for organisations to implement truly seamless and end-to-end digital customer experiences.

But in this ‘post-covid, new normal’ landscape, providing positive customer experiences is just one part of the solution.

The annual rate of attrition among UK contact centre advisors remained at around 15% to 20%, in 2020

Smooth, frictionless interactions and purchasing experiences are one thing, but what is becoming more and more important for brands is being able to replicate those experiences for their advisors; or in other words, deliver brilliant experiences to the advisor as well as the customer.

To do this, contact centre organisations must provide their advisors with the right tools in which to do their jobs effectively while reducing stress causing triggers during the process.

This will ensure advisors stay ‘onside’ and heading towards nirvana - becoming priceless brand advocates. Only then will organisations experience the highest levels of customer loyalty.

CX innovation needs to look inwards

No matter the industry, the competitive landscape looks fiercer than ever. It’s now a world of unlimited options and providing positive customer and employee experiences is the key to achieving business success and, ultimately, brand advocacy.

The brands that are thriving in the new Covid landscape are the ones that increasingly value customer service and employee satisfaction as one and the same. They see success in both areas as a real differentiator at a time when the landscape is becoming ever more competitive; with every interaction presented as an opportunity to deliver incremental value – as well as a chance to reinforce their brand message through customer intimacy.

Within the call centre industry, organisations are waking up to the fact that they need to look inwards in regards to CX innovation – specifically focusing on the human service – areas of their business.

In other words, it’s time businesses unlocked the potential of their number one asset: their people.

Providing advisors with the support they need

We can’t change the world, until we firstly understand it….. but hold on, we have the data! We just need to surface it, order it and then analyse it to provide actionable insights.

Many advisors feel they’re often held back in their determination to serve customers by a combination of poor supporting technology, limited empowerment and often incohesive feedback.

Too many organisations still struggle to back their contact centre staff’s customer-facing skills with the technology solutions they need to deliver high quality experiences. For advisors this is disappointing as their job is possibly one the world’s most analysed roles in terms of the metrics tracked and management information collected.

Contact centre managers know exactly when advisors need to be working, how many calls they are handling, whether service levels are being met, whether their employees are saying the right things to customers, and even ways that they could be more productive.

This is great for the balanced scorecards, with contact centre management knowing exactly what contact centre advisors have been doing, but very rarely do organisations stop to ask what advisors actually need to do their job better. What would actually help them to be more productive? What could enable them to feel more empowered? How could they get hold of the data and insights that would support them in serving customers better? Advisors almost certainly know what it is they need to do a better job. Unfortunately, very few get asked this question.
 
So it’s hardly surprising that many end up frustrated, with almost one-fifth choosing to quit their roles.

It’s a problem for contact centre operators, not just in terms of the financial impact of replacing and training staff, but also the impact on the customer experience and brand loyalty. It should also be a concern for those organisations that aren’t able to provide their advisors with the support they need to remain engaged.

So what can today’s CX operations do to address this challenge?

Effective advisor desktops sit at the heart of any successful human service strategy. And with no two human service engagements being the same, its recommended that organisations adopt an iterative approach focused on addressing specific challenges – rather than simply issuing a comprehensive RFP based on potentially incorrect assumptions.

However, any strategy needs to take into account the reality that the advisor role is changing and that contact centres need to adapt their increasingly expert role.

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