In a recent Contact Babel report, a concerning 12% of contact centres noted that over a quarter of their new recruits left within their first three months. Such a statistic prompts crucial questions about the transparency and effectiveness of their recruitment and onboarding processes for frontline advisers. Could it be possible that these newcomers had inflated expectations of their roles, without a real understanding of working in a contact centre environment? Unlike roles in retail, hospitality, or leisure—where people can easily envision themselves in the environment before even starting—the contact centre world remains more elusive.
Reframing the Modern Contact Centre Role
Attrition isn't merely about hiring the 'wrong person for the job'. It's a multifaceted issue encompassing recruitment strategies, onboarding, training quality, the work atmosphere, available support, and compensation. While we talk about contact centres creating key customer experience touchpoints, it makes you wonder if the recruitment process reflects the same importance.
Comparing these figures to roles in retail or other industries, it becomes evident that there is a perception challenge. The contact centre role is not just about answering calls. The job isn't just answering calls; it's about problem-solving, nurturing relationships, and frequently, representing the face, or voice of the brand. If we are benchmarking against retail roles, are we undervaluing the complexity and importance of contact centre roles?
Moreover, the larger context cannot be ignored. The surge in remote work and access to a global talent pool intensifies the competition for talent. If contact centres fall short of offering competitive salaries, they risk losing talent to industries that more appropriately value these skills.
Digging deeper, the reasons for attrition indicate a desire among contact centre employees for growth, continuous learning, a sense of purpose, and a meaningful career. While pay is crucial, it's also about providing a clear career path, continual training, and a supportive work environment.
As an industry, there's a need for introspection. While it's easy to blame attrition on recruitment or the 'wrong person', it's time to evaluate our practices, culture, and most importantly, the value we place on our contact centre workforce. A holistic approach that considers all aspects, from recruitment, to culture, to pay, is vital.
Redefining Value in the Contact Centre Industry
The contact centre industry, despite its progress in recent times, confronts challenges that extend beyond mere statistical improvements in attrition rates. It's about genuinely re-evaluating the worth of our employees and ensuring that they are compensated, trained, and supported accordingly. As attrition surges, it underlines the need for improved recruitment strategies, better employee support mechanisms, and competitive remuneration packages. The evolving role of contact centre advisor demands a more diverse skill set, and it's crucial that businesses adapt how they recruit and train frontline roles to remain competitive and retain top talent. The future success in attracting and retaining talent hinges on recognising and rewarding the irreplaceable human touch in our rapidly digitising era and compensating fairly those who provide it.
In simple terms, for all its recent advancements, the contact centre industry is dealing with complex issues beyond just cutting down on attrition. We really need to take a fresh look at how we value our employees, making sure they get the right pay, training, and support.
As the role of the contact centre advisor evolves, requiring a broader skill set, businesses must rethink their recruitment and training for these frontline roles. Our success in drawing and holding onto talent will depend on acknowledging the uniquely human element in our swiftly digitalising world and ensuring those who offer it are rightly rewarded.
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