To Reduce Your Agent Hiring Need, Make Life Better for Those On Board

Two people sit across a desk or table from one another. In the foreground, to the left, one person is speaking while in the background to the right, the other is reviewing paperwork on a clipboard.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

Imagine, for a moment, how difficult it is to be a contact center agent. 

You’re taking incoming calls, meeting outgoing call quotas, learning scripts, managing accounts. You find yourself acting as a therapist, a liaison, a communications expert, a quality engineer, and more. You’re an experience leader and problem solver, regardless of which role the consumer asks you to play.

Now imagine working as an agent, with all those challenges — but every conversation you have is about finances. 

You have to navigate new and changing regulations, consumer hardships, issue resolution, and the dialer and CRM all at once. 

The job is hard. Doing it well is hard. And agent attrition rates in contact centers — notoriously high — reflect the difficulty. 

Attrition is a vicious cycle. It leads to managerial time sinks as leaders must recruit, hire, onboard, and train new agents to keep up. It leads to harder jobs for the agents left behind, low morale, and missed opportunities for proactive improvements.

It has to end somewhere. 

It doesn’t end by getting stuck in a constant recruitment process. It certainly doesn’t end by cutting costs through lowering compensation or significantly reducing headcount — that only pushes you back to lower morale and less productivity. So, how can ops leaders mitigate attrition and its impact on their goals? 

Start by making the agent’s job easier. 

Keeping the Right Agent Workforce

The good news: This is a solvable equation.

We suggest starting with an assessment of your main areas of waste. What takes your agents time, but isn’t really that fruitful? What makes it into their workday that doesn’t make it into their paychecks and commission? All of that makes their jobs worse — less fun, less productive, less fulfilling — and keeps you from reaching your goals. 

As an example, let’s say you found that you had two minutes of note-taking time per call and 20 calls a day per agent. With 30 agents, that’s 6000 minutes of wrap-time per week that could be time spent as talk time. One smart automation where time is typically wasted can help your people perform better

The more time your agents spend on calls, the more opportunities they have to be effective, and the more effective they are, the better their jobs get.

Not only could that result in improved retention over time, but it also reduces your hiring need right now, while keeping your goals and outcomes at the forefront of your operations. 

Improving Agent Effectiveness

Once you’ve freed your agents to focus on calls, and freed yourself from constant hiring and training, your agents can capitalize on each opportunity to achieve a key outcome, such as experience scores and payments. 

A real-time assistant can increase agent effectiveness without adding managerial time. In fact, it can save ops leaders time in several areas: 

  • Since you’ve already found a way to deliver the same or better outcomes without adding new hires, you’ll have to spend less time on hiring. Then when you do hire or have to re-train, agent assistance can reduce ramp time significantly.
  • Agents and managers won’t need to manually address compliance errors or hunt down missed disclosures post-call, reducing not only time spent but risk
  • Trainers and managers won’t need to manually analyze data and create new talk tracks to see results

All of these point to improved agent effectiveness, helping you achieve key outcomes in the same amount of time or less. 

Bottom line: Agent attrition is normal, but through improving productivity and effectiveness through technology, you can do more with the talented workforce you have right now and reduce your hiring needs in the future. 

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Brian Reed

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Karin Krisher

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