How to Tackle the Number 1 Call Center Challenge

First off, let’s throw in some stats to get you up to speed. Most US call centers have a turnover rate somewhere between 30 and 45 percent. The average employee turnover rate for all other US industries in 2016 was 18.1%, which is considerably lower.

I know we’ve seen some staggering turnover figures before, but of all the high-ranking industries in this unpopular chart, the call center business clearly takes the lead. Why is that and, more importantly, what can you do about it? Here’s how to tackle the number 1 challenge for call centers.

What’s in?

Before you continue

Subscribe and stay up-to-date with everything recruitment related by receiving a weekly content digest and email updates on new resources!

The Context

Imagine this: A big open space filled with about 500 call center agents. There’s the constant noise of phones ringing, colleagues talking to (emotional) customers and fingers tapping on keyboards. From the moment you sit down at your desk until the moment your shift’s over you’re on the phone non-stop; unsatisfied, confused or even angry customers, you’ve dealt with it all – over and over again.

Today, like so many other days it seems, the volume of calls was so high you didn’t even get to take a break. Hungry and tired you go home to enjoy your evening, because tomorrow you’ll have to do it all over again.

Granted, the picture painted above may seem a little grim, but reality is that it’s a tough job to be a customer service agent. Just like hospitality and retail staff, call center workers have to be super friendly, flexible and willing to go the extra mile for the customer. In fact, customer service agents have to be all these things – and more – because when people call them something’s usually wrong.

Whether customers get in touch because they don’t understand how to return an item or because they haven’t received their order yet, they all have an issue and they want the agent to solve it for them – immediately. Unhappy customers these days don’t hesitate to share their ‘bad experience’ on social media, adding extra pressure to an already stressful job.

Knowing salaries tend to be on the lower end because we’re (mostly) talking about entry-level roles here, it’s not hard so see why turnover rates are sky-high.


Sitel reduced employee attrition by 45% through digitizing recruitment