AnswerOn Prescriptive Analytics:

Improving Agent Retention & Performance

Attrition rates at call centers can be very high, sometimes reaching up to 400% per year. AnswerOn understands for call centers like yours, customer service is essential lifeblood of the business. Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) may be the only direct contact customers have with your company, and these valuable employees can make the difference between a satisfied or unsatisfied customer. Therefore, you want your best agents to stay in their roles and be productive.

In over 17 years, AnswerOn has worked with some of the world’s leading call centers and has become an expert in the call center space. We know that one of the largest struggles you face is how to proactively identify the CSRs that provide excellent, customer service and who are also contemplating quitting. Going a step further: How do you intervene and change the employee’s experience, so they decide to stay?

 “How can I have the right conversation with the right agent, at the right moment, so they will not leave?” 



What does agent attrition look like in the call center industry?

Here are some attrition experiences we’ve heard from call center leaders:

  • 75% – 400% annual churn
  • Tired of accepting attrition as a cost of business
  • Reward systems, calisthenics, and surveys do not improve customer service scores
  • Recruiting, hiring, and training costs per agent are around $2,500 – $6,000
  • CSR tenure is low and building on success and developing agents is challenging


Why is call center attrition viewed as “a cost of doing business”?

Call Center Operators have tried everything they can think of: theme days, rewards, potlucks, team building events, but nothing seems to move the needle on the cost of attrition. Out of almost desperation, agent attrition can be perceived as an accepted cost of doing business. But why should you accept the constant flow of quality agents away from your call center without trying to stop the leak? Replacing an agent is not a small or incremental cost to your business. Every agent lost incurs costs in recruiting, training, and time getting the replacement up to the efficiency level of the agent that left. By addressing agent attrition, not only will you increase your number of calls handled, but you will also reduce business costs by not having to hire replacements for lost agents.


What are some of the industry standard responses to agent attrition?
Why haven’t these strategies eliminated agent attrition in the call center space?

Solutions that attempt to reduce agent churn in call centers often miss a key feature: the needs of the individual agent. Many of these solutions are a blanket offering applied to the whole call center. Solutions like calisthenics, reward programs, and workplace incentives might make already satisfied agents even happier at work, but they won’t necessarily help at-risk agents. For example, a reward system or exercise program might be appreciated by agents and improve the workplace culture, but if a particular agent is struggling with finding transportation to work on their current schedule, these solutions are not going to address their specific problem.

Call centers are designed to be efficient and collect large amounts of data every day. However, with team changes, shift bids, and schedule change requests handled automatically by a scheduling system, it becomes a daunting task for a manager, in addition to their regular duties, to analyze all the data and notice all the nuances in the behavior of each agent that reports to them.

If a call center operator can identify agents likely to leave; there are still challenges that need to be addressed. What can I do to save the identified agents? How do I intervene? How can I build a reproducible dependable business process which is organized and trackable? Managers and site directors without the business process and tools needed will not be successful.


How can call center managers help improve employee engagement and efficiency?

Managers and team leaders are very important to the health of a call center. Agents look to them as a resource and someone they can talk to when they have a problem. An effective team leader will have a good general idea of what is going on with their team members, but it is impossible to know everything. Equipping managers and team leaders with actionable analytics in an organized system can help a good manager become even better. This can have a huge impact to the bottom line and boost morale on teams, as well as improve your company culture.

The “one-size fits all” solutions mentioned above miss one key point. You don’t need increases in overhead costs and senior staff time to save agents or make them better. Your managers are the key to increasing employee engagement and productivity. No, they can’t be everywhere at once and personally identify every issue an agent is having, but when given tools to tell them who to talk with and why, your managers become a valuable asset to combating attrition.


How can the AnswerOn Solution address the agent attrition problem?

AnswerOn has been working with call centers for close to ten years and in that time, we’ve seen when an at-risk agent receives the individualized attention specific to their needs they are pulled back from the brink of quitting, and reengage with their work and become better performers than they were before.

AnswerOn’s Solution helps call centers to specifically address the key questions above. By combining proprietary technologies, predictive analytics, years of call center data and statistics, and a keen understanding of the call center industry, AnswerOn has developed a specific CSR management and retention solution.

Using machine learning and prediction technologies, AnswerOn builds a model that accurately predicts these critical behaviors:

Employee propensity to leave

Some warning signs of attrition, like attendance, are straight-forward, but many others are hard to detect without the use of analytics. AnswerOn uses data on a person to person basis—meaning we look to see if an individual is trending towards disengagement relative to their normal behavior. Through the data we can detect a potential issue and make sure you’re aware of it before it’s too late to correct the agent’s current course. Unlike “one-size fits all” solutions, the data you receive from AnswerOn is specific to an agent and actionable, so you know who to intervene with, when, and what topic to address with the agent.

Employee performance and productivity

As you begin to implement the AnswerOn solution, you will see more benefits beyond retention of your high-risk agents. You will see increased performance, productivity, and a change in the culture of your team. This change will encourage agents to be more willing to come to their managers and site directors with issues. You will also see an increase in customer service satisfaction scores and employee engagement as agents feel valued by your company.

AnswerOn partners with each of our clients to go beyond simply providing insights into why the CSRs are considering leaving, but also to help managers proactively intervene with coaching packages or incentives to re-engage high-risk agents. These coaching packages or incentives are assigned to specific individual agents and help managers have focused interactions with the right agent at the exact right moment they need it.


The graph below demonstrates the effect of the AnswerOn Call Center Retention program on the Churn Rate of a specific call center customer over time.

(Click the graph to enlarge it on your mobile device)

 

Find out more about AnswerOn by visiting our FAQ page.


White Paper + Case Study
“Managing Agent Attrition for Better Performance with the Use of Predictive Analytics”

Wondering how AnswerOn completes the process described above and what it would look like for your call center to start with AnswerOn? This white paper outlines the process for beginning a retention program with AnswerOn and includes more statistics on the results of the AnswerOn project through a specific customer case study.

Read Now »


Additional Services

People Analytics

Looking to dig deeper into behavior signals in your agents? Using predictive analytics, we will alert you to an agent that is exhibiting disengaged behavior, and give you the tools to intervene with that agent before they suddenly leave.

Subscriber Retention

Looking to keep your hard-earned customers from leaving? Our Subscriber Retention Solution can show you how.