eBrief: 5 Factors to Improve Agent Retention Rates

Address the reasons agents leave and decrease costly attrition.


Call center agents quit for as many reason as there are call centers, but there are few standard factors that play into agent turnover. If you call center can’t keep its agents, consider these low-retention factors: 

  • Call Volume-   Is there more activity at your call center? If staffingdoesn’t keep up with increases in volume, agents will burn out. Burnout is exacerbated when the frontline doesn’t believe the company cares enough about the center to properly staff it.
  • Ratio of Agents To Supervisors-   When the span of control – ratio of agents to supervisors – exceeds 15 to one, it is unlikely supervisors are able to accomplishmuch more than the role’s administrative duties. Many agents feel ignored or receive supervisor feedback only when they have done something wrong if the span of control is too high. This destroys morale and contributes to turnover. If your organization wants to strengthen relationships with customers, Fred Reichhold, author of Loyalty Rules, suggests span of control not exceed 10 to 1. When teams have good leaders and consistent feedback, then there is a reason to stay. Agents feel informed, cared for, and assisted in improving their performance.
  • Training-   New-hire training is only the initial step in the training that should exist in call centers. The near constant introduction of new products, services, responsibilities, and objectives requires solid, ongoing training plans. Memos or emails might work for a simple notification, but introducing a sales program requires a more involved initiative. Centers that provide onlylimited training create an environment where smart people feel stupid, which in turn creates job dissatisfaction and increases the likelihood that agents will look elsewhere.
  • Job Satisfaction-   Job satisfaction is one of the most artful ways to positively influence retention. If agents are bored, angry, or feel like they are being lied to, the mundane aspects of a call center job can become intolerable. Job satisfaction increases when agents feel like the company’s values are genuine and aligned with those of its employees. When management practices are consistent, professional, and caring, retention increases. Conducting an employee survey will illuminate your current state and highlight areas that need improvement.
  • Work Culture-   The culture of an environment is the general approach that is taken to getting things done. A culture of development and mentoring is likely to yield retention, quality, and productivity. On the other hand, a rigid and rules-based “search for the guilty” environment is more apt to generate turnover.