What’s the real cost of agent turnover?


Call centre turnover, employee churn, agent attrition – it’s a big issue for any business. The call centre industry in particular has typically higher turnover rates than businesses in other industries. Life as a call centre agent or customer service representative tends to come with an infamous reputation. Typically high-stress, low-paying, and repetitive work means it’s difficult for call centres to retain their staff.

The financial impact that a high call centre turnover is substantial, but exactly how much does it cost the business?

Across the entire industry, call centres replace around 26 percent of their front-line agents each year, this is much higher than the average UK turnover rate at 15 percent. A report from CIPD claims that the average cost for replacing call centre staff is £6,125. With the average contact centre size at 126 agent positions, we could come to the conclusion that the average cost of agent turnover is £202,125 per year for a typical call centre.

26% turnover rate of 126 agents = 33 (32.76) agents that need to be replaced every year
33 replacements at the cost of £6,125 each comes to £202,125 per year

That might seem like quite the blow to any business, but that’s far from the real cost…

The Real Cost of Call Centre Turnover.

Many of the larger, already established call centres use myriad legacy software and systems – unlikely to change due to the functional and financial risk. Agents are often the glue that holds the call centre together by the seams. Long-serving agents understand the call centre systems and processes inside out.

Not only do these agents understand how to best use the tools for the job, but they have tenure, affinity with their colleagues, and deep understanding of the brand values.

The more agents a call centre loses due to turnover and churn, the more they lose out on their DNA.

This leads to even further disengagement, a disenfranchised workforce, and a damaged customer experience. On the other hand – organic skills transfer, high morale, and true teamwork come from a highly engaged workforce with a low turnover.

The reality is that the cost of agent turnover is much more than a number. It can have a direct effect on the entire business, and your customers. The key to negating the effects of high agent turnover comes only from ensuring staff are engaged with the work they do.

By Tom Palmer
Tom is EvaluAgent’s Head of Digital and takes the lead on developing and implementing our digital and content management strategies which results in creating a compelling, digital-first customer marketing experience.

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