In a previous role, one of our contact center directors was brought in by a BPO to turn around a center that was averaging 10-12% (over 100% annualized) attrition. More interesting than the company’s lack of ability to substantially drive that number down was their client’s belief that those numbers, while troubling, had no material impact on their customer retention.
At a recent customer service event, we heard the same thing from the leadership team of a large contact center; attrition rates, while impacting profitability, are really not a concern as long as service level requirements are being met.
Our team at Sinousia could not believe this to be more wrong. Our framework for customer engagement includes having the large majority of service representatives for each client working at the far end of the productivity ramp. The far end of the productivity ramp is when the agent a customer is dealing with is sufficiently experienced in order to drive a timely resolution.
Our engagement framework is based on the three fundamental properties needed to drive a successful outcome with each client. They include:
1. Did the agent care?
2. Was my problem solved?
3. Did the time I spent solving my problem seem justified?
The third of these – did the issue get resolved in a justified amount of time – is often neglected by some in the customer service industry. Personally, it doesn’t make me feel good as a customer if it takes a company 45 minutes, and three different customer service agents, to resolve an issue, if it should only take a few minutes and one agent.
The productivity ramp is the time it takes for an agent to learn their job well enough in order to be the most effective and efficient in taking care of the customer’s request. Attrition at its core is an assault on productivity, because advisors are never around long enough to become truly efficient. And those who are productive spend a large amount of time continually training those coming through each training and nesting class.
What all this means is that a customer who doesn’t have a timely resolution to their request cannot ultimately be a satisfied customer.