How to Unravel the Crazy High Cost of Frequent Employee Turnover in Your Contact Center (and What You can do About it)


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It costs your contact center $35k to $105k every time you lose an agent.

A haze of toxic negativity lingers over your contact center every time your revolving door gyrates by. And your remaining agents sit wondering why their best teammates are jumping ship. Hard questions surface, nothing really changes, and productivity hits a stalemate. Worse still, your customers feel the negativity hovering, so customer relationships suffer and CSAT drops.

Not to mention, departed agents leave skill gaps in a once-complete team. And you have no time to fix any of these issues. Your calendar is too packed with interviews and resume reviews as you search for new agents to backfill your open positions.

With almost 25 percent of your agents on their way out the door at any given time, do you know what turnover really means for your contact center?

How much is turnover really costing you?

High turnover is taxing to your operational budget and your company’s bottom line. In fact, research out of HBR’s Keith Ferrazzi estimates the total cost of employee turnover to be from 100 to 300 percent of the exiting employees’ salary.

The price tag for simply filling an agent’s empty seat is $10,000 to $20,000. So, when you account for all the other costs that come with attrition, Ferrazzi’s estimate is spot on.

Looking through the productivity lens, we can see other areas where you’re leaking cash. The $10k to $20k estimate doesn’t take into account the low-productivity state your agents live in for months before they head for the door. Or the costs associated with ramping new agents up to their productivity pinnacle. And, it doesn’t include the morale costs and disengagement spikes that come with your remaining agents losing trusted co-workers. Not to mention, all the time costs of you stepping away from your daily task list to interview, hire, and train new agents.

Most 100-seat contact centers lose more than $1 million a year on turnover – and some as much as $4.8 million a year – based on statistics culled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor,, and Ferrazzi’s estimates. That’s a huge chunk of change.

With such overwhelming costs, it makes sense that reducing turnover tops contact center priority lists.

Turns out, reducing attrition by only 5 percent can put anywhere from $176K to $600K back in your company’s wallet. Better yet, when you intensely focus on turnover and retaining engaged, empowered employees, reducing turnover by 20 percent can lower operational costs by as much as $704,000 to $2.1M.

Where do all the costs of employee turnover come from?

Josh Bersin of Deloitte IDed several different expense buckets that comes with employee turnover. These are the few with the biggest impact in your contact center.

Operational costs: Costs in this bucket cover recruiting and training your new agents, from the first job posting to the first customer interaction. Think about HR’s job ads and job sites and time for interviewing. Plus, account for any new-hire training materials and the time costs of managers and HR stepping away from their desks to train incoming team members.

New agent productivity costs: The average agent needs 8-12 months to ramp the productivity level of an experienced agent. The learning curve that comes with new hires can cost companies up to 2.5 percent of business revenues.

Employee Lifetime Value costs: When agents stay with your company longer, their knowledge of your products and services deepens, and their value increases. They know what’s important to your customers and how to communicate with them. Plus, they know your internal processes and how to seek help. But it takes time for your agents to grow their knowledge and areas of company expertise. (Along with tons of development and specific feedback from managers, too). Employees who stay in their seats for 3+ years can reach an LTV that’s 6x the amount of your less-experienced employees.

Customer Satisfaction costs: Your rookies in ramp mode can’t solve customer issues as well or as fast as your tenured agents. That can spiral into long wait times, fewer resolutions, and difficult conversations. All those missed metrics and unwieldy conversations lead to less-satisfied customers.

Agent morale and cultural costs: The average company takes 51 days to fill an open position. That’s almost two months where you don’t have enough employees to keep up with your interaction volume. Your remaining agents get overworked, and they inch closer to their tipping point. And, as agents leave their roles, other agents wonder why. That curiosity circulates and can start negative, sometimes even toxic conversations about your organizational culture.

3 steps you can take today to reduce agent turnover and shrink those overwhelming costs.

Step 1: Show agents their value starting at onboarding.

Value, train, and care for your employees starting at onboarding. Bring clarity to each agent’s role by defining daily responsibilities, setting performance expectations, and explaining how you’ll measure results. Then, as your agents sink deeper into their roles, discuss opportunities for growth and development. Give feedback frequently and have conversations about personal goals and advancement regularly.

A survey out of Bamboo HR said 33 percent of employees leave their jobs only 6 months after starting. And among that group, 23 percent of employees said bringing clarity to job responsibilities could have kept them in their seats.

Step 2: Map growth & development.

What’s worse? A whopping 91 percent of employees who changed jobs had to leave their company to do so. That means only 9 percent of companies are making an effort to advance their employees’ careers with the company. Map paths for career progression and work with your agents to create individualized paths for personal growth to keep them invested in your company.

Step 3: Celebrate wins (of all sizes).

Be sure to celebrate the little wins and the massive milestones along the way, too. Quitting peaks close to employees’ work anniversaries, specifically around the one-year mark. Turns out, 10x as many employees leave after one year compared to five years. Build out 30-60-90 day plans to develop your agents and manage performance. And, schedule a developmental conversation around each agent’s one-year anniversary to do a larger pulse check. Companies who create a regular feedback cycle and have coaching conversations often see turnover 15 percent lower than those who don’t.

The sky-high costs of turnover bring reason and ROI to the time you spend coaching and developing your agents. Make it happen.

Learn how to motivate your agents and keep them in their seats. Here’s how.


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