ContactBabel’s fifth annual UK Contact Centre Operational Review revealed a worrying trend, with contact centre staff attrition rising for the fifth consecutive year to 32 per cent. This means that 185,920 new agents have to be recruited each year in the UK just to keep staffing levels constant. However, the news that that IP infrastructures will be commonplace in many UK call centres by 2009 provides the underlying flexibility to combat contact centre staff attrition.
Rex Dorricott, CEO of contact centre interaction intelligence software specialist Exony, believes that the massive increase in fully IP-architected contact centres – up to 41 per cent within two years from today’s 17 per cent – will enable the industry to battle attrition rates through utilising more home based agents in a Virtual Contact Centre (VCC).
“The new research from ContactBabel highlights how the contact centre industry continues to be plagued by attrition, but it also gives cause for hope. With 41 per cent of contact centre managers stating they will be running their centres on IP infrastructure within the next two years, it looks like we have reached a watershed moment,” says Dorricott.
“The move towards IP-based contact centres will make it very easy for organisations to adopt Virtual Contact Centres. VCCs allow companies to be truly effective and efficient in managing agent resources in line with demand, by enabling additional agents from multiple sources to be brought on board in real-time as required.
“Because of their inherent flexibility, VCCs allow organisations to utilise home based agents and tap into this talented pool of skilled workers to deliver best practice customer service. And by increasing the opportunities for home-based agents in the industry, we can help tackle the attrition problem,” added Dorricott.
Reacting to the news that attrition in UK call centres has risen for a fifth year running, Elizabeth Gooch CEO of eg solutions, an operations management company, has put out a clarion call to all providers.
“Maintaining a competitive advantage for call centres is a paramount. Investing in technology is vital in helping to achieve improved end-to-end customer service delivery – with this employees will feel satisfied they have been able to deliver the best service possible“, she stated.
“Call centres are not fully equipped with necessary information required to meet customers’ needs. They are seen as lacking in good customer service – a threatening image for any business,” she added, pointing out that:
– Many call centres lack in the ability to provide a good end-to-end customer experience.
– Employees are not supplied with sufficient information to meet customer needs.
– Managers do not have visibility of team performance
– Managers are unable to accurately forecast trends
– The status of past and current tasks are not logged accurately
– No structured system is available to process tasks efficiently
”A good operations management solution will help a call centre improve its efficiency, whilst improving its current resources. One company with a 2000 seat call centre saw call traffic reduce by 35% purely through achieving greater synergy and team working between call handlers and processing teams.”
ContactBabel cite the BBC web site as saying there are 581,000 contact centre agent positions in the UK.