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Calculating Agent Attrition in the Contact Center

By: Peg Ayers & Turaj Seyrafiaan

Definition: The percentage of staff who leave the Contact Center, voluntarily or involuntarily, over a period of time.

Calculation: (Total number lost/Average total staff) X 100

Example:

The total staff at the beginning of the month is 90 and at the end is 110, so the average staff for the month is 100 ((90+110)/2).

By the end of the month, five agents have left the organization therefore (5/100) X 100 = 5% attrition.

Adding the monthly attrition numbers together will give you annual attrition.

Types of Turnover

Employees may be lost to the Contact Center through transfers to other departments, and this loss may be reported separately as internal transfers/promotions. Generally, attrition rate measures only separations from the company. Within the attrition rate, separations may be voluntary or involuntary, and these are usually reported as individual line items within the total attrition rate.

Attrition is Costly

Attrition in a Contact Center is extremely expensive. If you consider the cost of advertising, hiring and training, including the cost of the staff required to do the hiring, training and supervising, you could easily be talking five to ten thousand dollars. In addition, depending on the complexity of the contacts and the learning curve, it will take some time for the new agents to reach the same level of performance as an experienced agent. This is why measuring and controlling attrition is so important.

 

How to Improve Attrition

Attrition is most useful when measured in monthly periods and then year by year. It should be measured by supervisor team and job type, as well as overall. We may improve voluntary attrition by stronger management, improved processes, better systems and more competitive pay. In addition to those factors, improving involuntary attrition may require a deeper look at the hiring process and the stated desired qualifications. Internal transfers and promotions can be negative for the Contact Center in the short term but positive for the organization. The Contact Center can be a great training ground for other positions, as it creates a terrific understanding of customer needs. If the number of internal transfers is creating an issue for the Contact Center, it’s worthwhile to consider the same factors as in external attrition: management, pay, systems and processes.

Regardless of how you approach attrition, improving it will pay great dividends for your Contact Center.

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