Minimizing Agent Turnover, by Dr. Jon Anton and Anita Rockwell, 168 pages, 2002, $39.99



When customer contact center managers were asked, "What is your biggest challenge in operating your contact center?", the unanimous answer was: "Retaining great customer service agents!"

Agent turnover is a hot topic for several reasons:

  • While turnover is a hot issue, reporting the details and root causes of turnover has been unreliable at best.

  • Turnover can be very expensive.  It can consume as much as 10% of your total customer contact center budget.

  • Turnover causes the caller to be exposed to new-hire agents who are less knowledgeable and who don't often achieve the required caller satisfaction levels.

  • New benchmark studies conducted by BenchmarkPortal and Purdue University have gone a long way to quantify the extent of the problem and its negative impact on profits.

  • Now that a common language is being formed, the depth of the problem is starting to surface and is being appreciated at all levels of customer contact center management.

This book was written to help managers better understand agent turnover and what, realistically, can be done about it.

Table of Contents

  1. Chapter 1:  Introduction
    • Background
    • Turnover Definitions
    • Calculating Turnover
    • Calculating the ROI for Turnover Improvement
    • Types of Turnover
    • Literature Search Findings on the Effects of Turnover
    • Purdue University Findings
    • Literature Search Findings on the Reasons for Turnover
    • Literature Search Findings on Employee Commitment
    • Literature Search on Turnover Risk Assessment
    • Purdue University Findings
  2. Chapter 2:  Turning Managers into Retention Champions
    • Introduction
    • Turn Managers into Retention Champions
    • Retention Champions
    • Guiding Principles for Retention Champions
    • A Case Study on Retention
    • Literature Search Findings on Managers as Retention Champions
    • Literature Search Findings on Best Practices in Telephone Service
    • Purdue University Findings
  3. Chapter 3:  Individualizing the CSR Experience
    • Introduction
    • Provide Individual Recognition
    • Listen to Your CSRs
    • Upward Communication Process
    • Involve Your CSRs
    • Appreciate What Your CSRs Do
    • Recognize the CSR's Contributions
    • Presentation is Everything
    • Provide Clear and Balanced Expectations
      • How to make the goals or expectations clear for all concerned
      • Great feedback and ways to ensure success
    • Literature Search Findings on Individual Recognition and Incentives
    • Literature Search Findings on Best Practices in Telephone Service
    • Literature Search Findings on Clear and Balanced Exceptions
    • Purdue University Research Findings
  4. Chapter 4:  Ensuring the Highest Retention
    • Continuous Investment in CSR Development
    • Training Through Simulation
    • Create a Bonding Environment
      • A Feeling of Belonging
      • The All Important "Fun Factor"
      • Informal Leader Effect
    • Providing Opportunities for Advancement
    • Career Path Advancement
    • Promotions within the Organization
    • Providing Effective Communication
    • Change Management Communication
    • The Right Incentives for the Desired Results
    • Literature Search Findings on Investing in CSRs
    • Literature Search Findings on Best Practices in Telephone Service
  5. Chapter 5:  Hire Slowly...Fire Quickly
    • What Does"Hire Slowly...Fire Quickly Mean?
    • How to Hire Slowly
    • How to Fire Quickly
    • Example dialogue from a Gallup study
    • Literature Search Findings on Hiring and Firing
    • Literature Search Findings on Best Practices in Telephone Service
  6. Chapter 6:  Root Causes of Agent Turnover
    • Turnover Root Cause Assessment Methodology
      • Phase I -- Initial On-Site Visit and Kick-Off Meetings
      • Phase Two --Off-Site Behind the Scenes Analysis
      • Phase Three --Validate Root Causes and Determine Potential and Realistic Solutions
  7. Chapter 7:  Comments From Contact Center Managers
    • Turning Managers (into Retention Champions)
    • Individualizing the CSR Experience
    • Provide Clear and Balanced Expectations
    • Investing in CSRs/Training
    • Belonging/Fun Place to Work/Part of the Team
    • Chance for Advancement
    • Effective Communication
    • Performance Based Incentives
    • Merit/productivity-based pay
    • Tools to do the job
  8. About Simtrex
    • Hilton Hotel Uses Simulation Training to Improve Agent Performance

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Last modified November 29, 2004