Hiring qualified candidates and ensuring they will stay with the job is one of the biggest challenges within the call center. Already a significant cost for the organization, the call center must be able to operate efficiently. In their quest for reducing costs, many call centers are looking at their internal hiring practices to determine what works and what needs to change.
In its latest White Paper (News
): “Ten Things You Should Know from the 2008 Call Center Recruiting and Compensation Survey”, FurstPerson shares best practices in the industry to improve call center business results. Completed in 2008, the survey produced ten outcomes from specific questions as to how call centers can optimize their performance in the future.
The first outcome was the most productive sourcing strategy. Companies identified employee referrals as the largest percentage of new hires. The company website, print ads and national job boards were the next three most productive strategies. In using these methods, 57 percent of respondents expect an increase in hiring volume over the next 12 months – a positive report in a time of significant job loss.
The average monthly attrition rate in North American call centers was 7.18 percent, with internal call centers showing lower monthly attrition rates compared to outsourcers. In addition, the majority of respondents reported that 70 percent or more of their attrition was voluntary. The average cost of attrition per agent was $5,466.32.
Agent attrition within surveyed call centers had a direct correlation with the tenure of the center director. Those with five or more years of tenure reported average monthly attrition rates that were 247 percent lower than those with less than two years.
While there are a variety of individuals out seeking call center jobs, the majority of applications are female under 40 years of age and either White/Caucasian or Black/African American. Most applicants had a High School or equivalent education and 58 percent were unemployed at the time of application.
FurstPerson also explored actual pay versus what an applicant felt they should be paid. The pattern identified in this survey suggested that regardless of what an applicant was actually paid, he or she felt they were underpaid by about $2 per hour. At the same time, 46 percent of applicants reported being dissatisfied with their pay, yet those already employed were in the majority as being satisfied or very satisfied with their current rate of pay.
Working weekends or holiday schedules did appear to impact the satisfaction level of applicants, producing less satisfaction when working those shifts. The survey also found that call center applicants look for a new job mainly to find opportunities for advancement, followed by pay and company reputation.
This White Paper provides significant insight into current call center practices and the behaviors and beliefs of call center applicants. Finding the right balance between the two can help to reduce overall attrition and lead to a more efficient and productive call center.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi