Call centers are notorious for having incredibly high turnover rates, but why? In this article, we will explore attrition reasons in BPO and how they can be resolved.
What Causes Call Center Attrition?
First let’s answer the question, what is attrition in BPO? Attrition is defined as the percentage of employees that leave a workplace each year, in this case, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies.
There are many factors that contribute to these outrageous turnover rates. To get an idea, here are a few reasons for attrition in BPO:
- Improper training
- Low wages
- Feelings of isolation
- No upward mobility
- A lack of empowerment
Is There an Industry Standard Attrition Rate for Call Centers?
High turnover rates are common for the United States, considering the national average for all occupations is 22%. However, this number pales in comparison to the average US call center turnover rate of 30-45%, according to The Quality Assurance & Training Connection (QATC). The following figures from DailyPay break down attrition rates in the BPO industry by size.
- Small call centers - 17%
- Medium call centers - 37%
- Large call centers - 44%
At AtPoint, our attrition rate is below 9%! Keep reading—later on, we’ll share the secret to how we keep our turnover so low.
A variety of factors can impact the average age of call center employees, including region, industry, and even the current job market. However, one recurring theme is that call center agents are often younger in age. This could be associated with the stress of the job or experience level. The following figures from the BLS include information about the age and average tenure of call center employees.
- Average age of call center agents is about 30 years old, with sub-contractors averaging around 27 years old.
- Call center agents who range in age from 20-24 have average tenures of 1.1 years.
- Call center agents who range in age from 25-34 have average tenures of 2.7 years.
Turnover By Industry
Turnover rates often vary by the size and type of industry. Below are the average call center attrition rates from a study conducted by DailyPay.
Lowest Attrition Rates:
- Federal government industry - 1.3%
- State and local government industry - 1.4%
- Finance and insurance industry - 1.7%
- Wholesale trade industry - 1.9%
Highest Attrition Rates:
- Retail industry - 59%
- Supermarkets - 100%
- Foodservice industry - 100%
- Hotel industry - 60-300%
- Staffing industry - 352%
Turnover By Country
Call center attrition rates of subcontractors and in-house agents can vary depending on geographical location. In the following statistics, the Global Call Centre Research Network used the BPO attrition formula to calculate the average turnover rate for call centers in 20 different countries across the globe.
In-house call centers turnover rates:
- Austria - 5%
- Brazil - 20%
- Canada - 22%
- Denmark - 14%
- France - 13%
- Germany - 9%
- India - 28%
- Ireland - 23%
- Israel - 25%
- Poland - 20%
- South Africa - 21%
- South Korea - 20%
- Spain - 15%
- Sweden - 8%
- UK - 19%
- USA - 26%
Subcontractor call centers turnover rates:
- Austria - 4%
- Brazil - 30%
- Canada - 29%
- Denmark - 17%
- France - 20%
- Germany - 16%
- India - 38%
- Ireland - 35%
- Israel - 28%
- Poland - 16%
- South Africa - 13%
- South Korea - 18%
- Spain - 24%
- Sweden - 19%
- UK - 29%
- USA - 36%
As you can see, the US has the highest call center turnover rates out of all of the countries on this list. For this reason, nearshore customer service outsourcing is becoming a popular choice for businesses of all industries.
Turnover By Job Title
According to industry statistics, call center turnover rates can also vary by employees’ job titles and tenure. Here’s the ratio of employees with the highest to lowest turnover percentages:
- Entry-level agent - 27%
- Intermediate agent - 20%
- Senior agent - 12%
- Team lead - 11%
- Supervisor - 7%
- Manager - 6%
AtPoint’s Tips for Retaining Employees in BPO
While US call centers have turnover rates of 30-45%, AtPoint keeps rates below 9% - and here's why: AtPoint is one of the highest-paid employers in Jamaica, which means we have applicants lining up for job openings. We hire only the best of the best—and because we have such a low attrition rate, we’re able to provide our customers with seasoned, well-trained employees.
Other companies that struggle with attrition are simply putting their efforts in the wrong places. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of additional strategies to help retain your employees. The following steps will show you how to avoid attrition in BPO.
1. Improve Recruiting and Hiring Process
Optimizing recruiting and hiring procedures is the first step to improving call center retention rates. When hiring agents, look for communication skills, personality, cultural fit, and a team-oriented attitude. Before hiring an applicant, be sure to clearly define duties and expectations so that both parties can determine if the job is a good fit. Implementing a referral program can also lead to quality candidates.
2. Build Recognition & Reward Systems
Enhancing recognition through reward programs is an effective strategy for attrition management in BPO. It’s important for supervisors to provide valuable performance feedback to their agents and acknowledge when they meet key milestones. This quick and easy approach will increase employee motivation and build morale in the workplace.
3. Implement Quality Training Programs
Another great attrition management tip is to enhance training programs. Skipping out on valuable training can leave workers unprepared for their job. This might result in agents feeling frustrated and inadequate, which can ultimately lead to them leaving your company. It’s vital for all agents to undergo training in order to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills, become familiarized with company culture, and form relationships with coworkers. Positive team bonding has a considerable impact on agent retention!
4. Empower Agent Ownership
Establishing clear communication channels early on will help you increase your call center employee retention. Supervisors should clearly define expectations for agents, involve them in business decisions, and allow them to offer feedback. Allowing your employees to have their voices heard will empower them and fuel their motivation for working at your company.
5. Prioritize Customer Satisfaction KPIs
Enhancing customer satisfaction will significantly reduce the stress level of your agents, ultimately increasing the length of their tenure. It makes sense that the agents who consistently have personal connections with callers tend to have higher job satisfaction. This can be achieved by utilizing customer-centric metrics such as customer satisfaction, contact quality, and first contact resolution. You should also monitor quantitative metrics such as calls per hour and average handle time. Taking these attrition control measures will greatly benefit your business in the long run.
AtPoint's Nearshore Call Center Outsourcing Offers Dedicated Agents with Low Turnover
Now that you’re familiar with some of the ways to control attrition in BPO, you should now know what it takes to be successful in the call center industry. When researching customer service companies to work with, keep in mind the call center benchmarks that you learned today.
AtPoint takes the necessary steps to minimize call center attrition so that you can have the best experience possible. Our less than 9% annual turnover rates can’t be beat by US competitors. Our unified team of agents is ready to provide your business with world-class customer service with prices that are ⅓ to ½ that of a domestic call center.
Contact us today to get started with outsourced customer service for your business.