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Even the greatest perks and benefits can’t keep agents happy forever.

Staff retention is an important part for every organisation, but contact centres in particular have a real challenge on their hands when dealing with employee churn.  A 2011 study puts the average attrition rate that year at 26%, based on a study involving 208 UK call centres, and many of us in the industry feel this is almost definitely showing no signs of declining.

Having new people arrive and leave week in week out is not only bad for the company culture, but it has a significant impact on the bottom line with the cost of training an individual agent being placed at around £3,000.

As someone who’s spent many years on the frontline in some of the UK’s leading contact centres, the reason for high staff turnover in the industry is massively obvious - the work is typically boring and unrewarding. With the typical job satisfaction for those working in call centres being often lower than in other occupations, management are always looking to find new incentives for agents to stick around.

Many seemingly savvy contact centres with significant budgets are promising and providing lots of perks and benefits to agents in an effort to attract talent, and ensure it can be retained. These might typically include things like private healthcare, share purchase schemes,staff discounts and additional annual leave for time served

The perception is that these add-ons can improve the job satisfaction of agents, but this is simply a shiny veneer placed over a very shaky foundation. The most important aspect of increasing agent satisfaction is giving them the support they need to do their job confidently, and the opportunity for them to enjoy it as much as possible along the way.

So what’s the fix?

Right now, many in the industry are trialling and implementing contact centre gamification - the application of game-mechanics to customer service which involves putting engagement at the heart of the contact centre. Introducing a system that uses point scoring, competition, incentives, goals, tracking of progress and leaderboards keeps agents switched on and engaged - but this is only part of the puzzle.

Gamification solutions can bring motivation, engagement to a disenfranchised workforce but only if the culture of the contact centre is one of empowerment and support - otherwise, investing in a new solution simply brings new challenges to the table.

A truly impactful gamification solution involves expert support from a vendor that understands the culture of the contact centre, not just the software it sells. This is why we’ve developed ‘The Generation Game’, a guide to understanding and managing the multigenerational contact centre. The key to retaining talent lies in striving to understand all the nuances that makes agents tick, and giving them the tools they need to feel supported and empowered.