For a long time, customer support agents were considered as second class citizens while companies did not realize that support was a key differentiator and played an important part in their growth. In the last few years, the role of customer support has evolved and taking care of customers while understanding their pains has become a major challenge in highly competitive markets. However, in some areas, the image of low cost call centers is still anchored in many people’s minds and this leads to unconscious contempt towards people working in customer service. Combined with lower compensation, the consequence is that customer service teams are being amongst the ones with the highest turnover rate. According to research conducted by The Quality Assurance & Training Connection , the average annual turnover rate for agents in US contact centers can be over 30% for top players.

Turnover in support takes a heavy toll

For each employee that decides to leave the company, it is time and money invested in their training in addition to the knowledge they have acquired by themselves that are lost. According to Easyware, the replacement cost of an employee is worth 3 to 9 months' salary. For a company with 100 support agents, losing 30 of them can then a be loss of more than 20 years of salary.

And this cost is getting higher every year. With the rise of self-serve support, customers are now able to solve some of their level one problems on their own and call help centers for more complex requests. Therefore, it takes more time to get an agent ready to handle customers' tickets. Experience in help centers has never been more valuable and crucial for customer satisfaction.

How to tackle a high turnover rate in customer service?

High turnover rate sheds a light on employees' discomfort at work. Like in many type of jobs, the key to retain your support agents is to empower them. Here are some practical ways to empower customer service employees.

  1. Recruit the right people. Any support agent that joins your team is a new window to your customers. Be sure that they are going to fit into the company’s culture and teams. Hiring people that will tarnish your work atmosphere is long term damaging, both for customers and other employees. Be as tough in hiring agent as you would be with an engineer.
  2. Make the agents' training and the on-boarding dynamic. Forget excel tables and word documents, companies should start bringing interactivity and understandable content. Besides, make the training practical: entrust newcomers with simple tasks and make them practice.
  3. Involve the best agents in the training of low performances ones and newcomers. By setting this up, companies acknowledge the work of high-performance agents, create a strong team spirit and culture among support agents.
  4. Give recognition to your support team. Share happy customers' messages, and make the company aware of key support metrics
  5. Create team events. It is crucial that all your support agents feel like part of a team and talk to each other. Human interactions between them are really meaningful because they are talking all day long to unhappy customers.
  6. Give achievable goals and rewarding. Setting objectives is crucial for support agents, they need to know where they are going and be rewarded when the mission is fulfilled.
  7. Involve customer service in the overall company’s management. Customer service agents have to feel totally part of the company and not working on their side, always doing the same things.

Providing support agents with the right level of information

Giving the agents top-notch tools and software is crucial to have them achieve their job. One of the biggest challenges is to have an operable knowledge base and clear scripts. You cannot expect all your customer agents to know everything and while having a phone call, it is impossible to search for complex answers. That's why tools such as Stonly exists in order to build interactive step-by-step guide for both customers and agent. Learn more here.