What the ‘Great Resignation’ means for your customer service offering

What is the Great Resignation?

In the continuing uncertainty around going back to work under the lingering shadow of Covid, many industries are experiencing a greater turnover in their employee numbers than ever before. Anthony Klotz, from the Mays Business School, coined the term the Great Resignation when he predicted that workers would be leaving their jobs en masse after the pandemic.

The ‘Big Quit’ or the ‘Great Resignation’ is a definite trend manifesting throughout a wide spectrum of industries all over the world since the pandemic. Employees are weighing up the impact their jobs have on their mental health, their goal fulfilment, and life/work balance, and many are resigning.

The customer service industry has been hit particularly hard. The best-laid recruitment and agent retention plans are flying out the window as businesses deal with the ripple effects of COVID, and reassess their strategies to retain employees.

Why are so many people – including CS agents – quitting their jobs?

The US Labor Department indicates that 4.3 million Americans had left their jobs by August 2021, the highest number ever. In the UK, 1 million jobs were vacant for the first time ever in August.

It’s not just expensive for businesses to lose experienced employees and recruit and train new ones. It can damage the morale of the team, and impact performance and productivity negatively. It will certainly impact your call centre’s performance. If CS managers understand why their agents quit, they should be better prepared to prevent it from happening.

These are some of the main reasons CS agents resign from their jobs:

  • They aren’t in the right job in the first place. Customer service requires a unique combination of skills and personality traits.
  • The salary levels and medical benefits are inadequate.
  • Drab, uninteresting and unattractive working environments contribute to agents feeling they are ‘chained’ to a desk all day.
  • Long and rigid working hours.
  • Lack of recognition and acknowledgement of their contribution to the business.
  • Lack of interest and challenge in their work.
  • Stifled ambition through lack of career growth opportunities
  • Increased workload causing increased stress.
  • More attractive opportunities elsewhere. Good CS agents are often lured away by better salaries, more flexible/better working hours, and improved perks and benefits.
  • In the wake of COVID, many employees are just fed up with traditional working scenarios. The demand by employees to work remotely is simply a new fact of life.

Why high turnover is a particular challenge for service-oriented businesses

There are many ways in which high staff turnover figures are bad for service-oriented businesses. These include:

  1. A negative impact on revenue

Employee turnover has a direct impact on company revenue and profitability. According to ResearchGate the estimated cost of replacing an employee earning $8 per hour varies from $3,500 to $25,000. This includes hiring, training, and lost sales and productivity. A severance package constitutes an expense with no return on investment. The labour costs of placing ads, reviewing applications, interviewing applicants, and training the new employee all contribute to the expense of losing an employee.

  1. Low morale in the workplace

This may be caused by employees being overworked as they have to take on increased workloads due to fewer experienced employees. New employees may be affected by this low morale as they battle to learn their new jobs. Low morale also has a negative knock-on effect on attracting and keeping good employees.

  1. Productivity and customer service quality suffer

Having fewer experienced employees around will affect the quality of service offered to customers which has a serious impact on the levels of customer satisfaction. As stress levels at work increase, other employees may leave because they can’t cope.

  1. Loss of customers means less return on investment

Poor customer service due to inexperienced employees may result in losing return customers, and fewer referrals from happy customers.

  1. Managers have less time to build their businesses

In dealing with the problems generated by high turnover, managers have less time to devote to proper managerial functions like strategic planning, marketing, and other growth areas. This could have negative long-term effects on the company’s overall viability.

How to retain talented customer service agents

How can you prevent this from happening? There are three core ways to boost, protect and retain your CS agents:

  • Make your CS agents feel valued and appreciated. Make sure they have market-competitive salaries and good benefits. Ensure that they are able to do their jobs confidently by proper training and empowerment.  Make clear career paths available to them.
  • Make sure their jobs are flexible to suit different circumstances. Incorporate more real-time flexibility to allow for unexpected developments. Invite and utilise their feedback.
  • Agents welcome innovative tech that makes their jobs easier. Invest in agent-empowering technologies like self-service, automation, and AI. This will help your agents deliver a level of customer service they can be proud of. If your agents are empowered to do a good job, and get recognition for it, they’re a lot more likely to stay loyal.

However, if you are overwhelmed by the complications caused by the Great Resignation, there is another life-saving option. Outsource your customer service function to us, and feel that weight lift off your shoulders!

We have extensive experience in providing top-notch customer service to many companies with our large pool of experienced, highly skilled, multilingual, and dedicated agents.