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5 Contact Center Lessons for Combatting High Turnover


Your organization, if it’s like most, has been fighting what feels like a losing battle to hold onto employees—a battle that’s intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help you reverse the tide, [24] commissioned Opus Research to explore the topic in a white paper. The white paper “Five Ways Contact Centers Already Mitigate the Great Resignation” lays out the contact center’s top hard-learned lessons for driving down attrition rates. We flesh out the details and context below.
Contact Centers Aren’t Facing High Turnover Alone
Every organization feels the pain of employee attrition. Higher turnover forces up hiring and training costs. Operating costs go up, too, because new employees are less productive than seasoned ones. New employees are also less effective, which drags down customer satisfaction (at least initially), and which creates all kinds of other negative effects.
Suffice to say 2021 was probably employee retentions worst year ever. Pre-pandemic, the average turnover rate across all U.S. industries was 36.4%. (Note: Attrition among customer service, retail, and hospitality workers was, and is, much higher than the average.) That means a bit more than a third of workers left their jobs within a year.
In 2021, turnover rose to 57.3%. For the year, over 40 million people left their jobs. Even employers used to high turnovers—like those in the contact center industry—had never seen anything like this.

Employee turnover by industry (2019-2020)

Contact Centers Meet the Great Resignation
A lot of ink has already spilled explaining how the COVID-19 pandemic fueled this increase. Some people chose to pursue their dreams, having decided life was too precious to muddle through. Some chose to camp out on their couches, having decided that life was too scary to confront the health dangers “out there.” Many employees in front-line occupations, especially retail and hospitality workers, were furloughed or laid off.
Of course, even most voluntary dropouts couldn’t just stop working forever. And as the economy resuscitated and businesses came back online, the persistent worker shortage gave returnees an edge, so they generally found new jobs with more pay, benefits, and flexibility.
Five Ways Contact Centers Improve Employee Retention
Contact centers have learned the more interesting they can make the work, and the more productive they can make the agent doing that work, the more satisfied the agent becomes—and the likelier the agent is to stay in the job.
The five contact center keys to mitigating The Great Resignation are, in brief, as follows:
  1. Embrace conversational artificial intelligence (AI) and automation
  2. Engage agents to train the AI
  3. Enable customer self-service
  4. Provide consistent, cross-channel answers
  5. Ensure AI promotes agent satisfaction as well as customer loyalty
Take the Next Step
All is not lost! Start turning around your turnover rates with these resources.