The Increasing Turnover Rate in Call Centers

Published: 04th August 2010
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Despite the effort by the country's call center companies to alter the outsourcing industry, turnover rate in the country's call center has gotten so worst that it hits 60 to 80 percent, according to the Call Center Association Philippines (CCAP). This has given the Philippines the world highest turnover rate for call centers worldwide. This turnover percentage in Philippine call centers reflects the customer service representatives (CSRs) that leave a call center in a specific period. High CSR turnover is a common problem at most offshore call centers. This factor plays a pivotal role in reducing quality, increasing recruitment and training costs, and reducing the marketability of a call center operation. Many call center managers take this problem as being part of the cycle and try to live with it, without really doing much about it. Call center agents are resigning, job-hopping, transferring or being fired by the hundreds as fast as they are being hired. And that image of successful call center executive making it in the business world is lost to these call center agents who are just glad to quit the industry.

It is an accepted average in the industry to have a 30 to 40 per cent turnover rate globally. Both Australia and India call centers have turnover rates of about 6 to 10 per cent only. Government officials are alarmed that an emerging industry that has generated around 2 billion USD in annual revenues is reeling from worsening turnover crisis.

Researcher and industry analyst with the Journal of Service Industry Management said the high turnover oftentimes is the result of a deliberate strategy of frequent employee replacement to provide enthusiastic and highly motivated customer service at low cost to the call center. What you can see here is an industry-wide policy of firing and replacing employees to keep their workforce fresh and motivated. But this strategy is not consistent with giving good jobs to Filipinos and developing people for higher job responsibilities. Broken promises and misleading advertising by the country's contact centers were also blamed by call agents who quit or requested to be fired to avoid such paying penalties for quitting too early, in which many center firms are still denying this outcome.

It may take some time to really get to the bottom of the Philippine call center industry's abnormally high turnover rate.The most successful call centers have figured out other ways of making this situation better. Others tackle it simply by increasing their CSR salaries, but that would not deliver the required results in the long run. There are no silver bullets to solve this problem, but smart management strategies do pay off. Appropriate planning and tracking always deliver better results as opposed to random agent firing. Figure out the main cause of turnover at your organization, analyze those causes and come up with a list of steps that you are to take address those causes. Then, implement those steps and monitor their effectiveness and make readjustments accordingly. Key areas to focus on are hiring the right people at the start, create a fun and supportive environment, make certain that team members with similar productivity are compensated equally within your organization, establish benefits programs, make sure to provide the training that they will require for future responsibilities by ensuring a career advancement for your agents, schedule sufficient time break for each team member to avoid overwork, find clients with intellectually challenging work, improve your line managers, and empower your team members.

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