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The hum of a call center – a synchronized symphony of ringing phones, typing keyboards, and countless voices connecting with clients from around the globe. It’s a fast-paced environment where each day is as unpredictable as the next.

However, amid all this unpredictability, there’s one trend that managers have come to recognize – the high turnover rate. The incessant revolving door of call center employees has long been a point of concern, and addressing it has become more critical than ever.

High attrition rates have long plagued the call center industry. With the challenges of demanding customers, repetitive tasks, and, sometimes, stringent performance metrics, it's no surprise that keeping employees motivated and satisfied can be challenging.

However, retaining top talent in your call center is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction, reducing recruitment and training costs, and fostering a positive work environment.

The numbers don't lie. The statistics are indeed telling.1. According to Quality Assurance and Training Connection, call centers, on average, see an annual turnover rate ranging from 30% to 45%. This is strikingly high, especially compared to the average industry turnover rate, which hovers around 15%.2. According to the 2020 Deloitte Global Contact Center Survey, the global contact center turnover rate reached a staggering 32% in 2019. This means that, on average, one in every three employees left their call center jobs within a year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the call center industry has a higher turnover rate than other sectors, highlighting the persistent churn issue.3. Employee turnover is not just a human resources concern; it's a financial burden too. The Center for American Progress estimates that the cost of replacing an employee can range from 16% to 213% of their annual salary. In the context of call centers, where many entry-level positions are essential, these costs rapidly increase. This expense includes recruitment, training, and lost productivity.

Call center employee turnover causes

Call center employee turnover causes

Why is employee turnover such a prevalent issue in the call center industry? It comes down to the nature of the job:

1. Stressful work environment

Call centers can be high-pressure environments. Employees often must adhere to strict performance metrics, manage high call volumes, and occasionally deal with irate or frustrated customers. This constant stress can lead to burnout and employees seeking jobs elsewhere.

2. Repetitive nature of the job

The routine of answering similar queries and following the same script daily can become monotonous. Over time, the lack of variety and challenge can make the job feel unrewarding, pushing employees to look for more stimulating roles.

3. Lack of career advancement

In some call centers, there may be limited opportunities for promotion or professional growth. When employees feel that they are in a dead-end job with no clear path to advancement, they may decide to leave in search of better prospects.

4. Inadequate compensation and benefits

If employees feel that they are not being compensated fairly for the amount of stress and responsibility they handle, or if benefits like health insurance and paid time off are lacking, they might look for other opportunities that offer better remuneration and benefits.

5. Lack of recognition or incentives

When achievements and hard work aren't recognized or rewarded, it can decrease motivation and job satisfaction.

6. Low wages

Many call centers offer salaries that may not be commensurate with the stress and demands of the job. The disparity between effort and compensation can lead to dissatisfaction.

7. Insufficient training and support

New hires might feel overwhelmed if they are not provided with adequate training to handle the job demands. Additionally, a lack of ongoing support from supervisors or management can lead to feelings of isolation and incompetence, causing employees to leave.

Understanding the challenges is half the battle. The next step is developing strategies to combat turnover and boost retention.

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‌How to retain call center employees: 12 tried and tested strategies

‌How to retain call center employees

Call centers are the backbone of customer support for many businesses. They serve as the frontline for handling customer inquiries, resolving issues, and ensuring customer satisfaction. But call center employee turnover rates are notoriously high, which can be detrimental to both employee morale and business operations. So, here are some strategies to retain and keep your call center staff engaged and loyal.

1. Professional development and training

Call center agents can develop new skills and grow in their roles by offering continuous learning opportunities, workshops, or courses. This keeps them engaged and opens doors for advancement within the company.

Concentrix, a global customer experience solutions company, emphasizes the importance of employee growth. They offer a variety of training programs and workshops, allowing their employees to develop professional skills and climb the career ladder. As a result, they've seen higher employee satisfaction rates and decreased turnover.

2. Performance-based incentives and recognition

Offering incentives, bonuses, recognition, or rewards for exceptional performance can motivate employees to deliver their best consistently. This boosts individual morale and fosters a healthy competitive spirit within the team.

Alorica, a leading customer experience and call center outsourcing solutions provider, has instituted various reward programs to recognize top-performing agents. They've held recognition events, provided bonuses, and even career advancement opportunities based on performance. This has significantly contributed to their high retention rates.

3. Workplace well-being and flexibility

Offering flexible scheduling can greatly improve work-life balance for employees, reducing stress and burnout. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have also seen the benefits of allowing remote work where feasible.

Companies can reduce employee burnout and overall job satisfaction by fostering a supportive work environment, offering mental health resources, or providing flexible work hours and remote work options.

TTEC, a digital customer experience technology and services company, has significantly promoted work-life balance. Recognizing the stresses of the call center environment, they've introduced more flexible scheduling options and work-from-home opportunities for their agents. This flexibility has led to higher job satisfaction scores and reduced attrition rates among their workforce.

4. Rotation and cross-training opportunities

Periodically rotate employees through different roles or departments. This allows them to gain a broader company perspective, break the monotony of their usual tasks, and acquire new skills. Cross-training also ensures that employees have varied experiences, making their job more interesting and equipping them with a diverse skill set.

American Express, while primarily known for its financial services, operates significant call center operations. They've sometimes employed a rotational strategy, moving team members between customer service, sales, and support roles. This gives employees a fresh perspective, prevents burnout, and offers them a more comprehensive view of the company's operations.

5. Empowerment through decision-making

Empower call center agents by giving them more autonomy in decision-making, especially when it comes to resolving customer issues. When employees feel trusted and know they can take the initiative without facing repercussions for every small misstep, job satisfaction can increase dramatically.

Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, is renowned for its exemplary customer service. One of their standout strategies is empowering their call center employees. Agents at Zappos don't have scripts; instead, they're trained extensively and then trusted to use their best judgment to make customers happy. This empowerment has led to incredibly high customer satisfaction rates and a more engaged, satisfied workforce.

6. Feedback and open communication channels

Regular one-on-one sessions, feedback loops, and open communication channels can make employees feel heard and understood. Moreover, open communication channels allow for concerns to be addressed promptly, fostering a culture of trust and transparency.

When employees know they can voice their concerns or ideas and those will be taken seriously, it boosts their morale and loyalty to the company.

Sitel Group, a global leader in end-to-end customer experience products and solutions, often conducts employee surveys and feedback sessions. This proactive approach to gauging employee sentiments and addressing concerns head-on has helped them cultivate a more satisfied and loyal workforce.

7. Team building and social activities

Organizing team-building events, outings, or social activities helps break the monotony of the daily grind. It promotes camaraderie, boosts morale, and allows employees to connect with each other beyond their work roles.

Teleperformance, a multinational omnichannel company, regularly hosts team outings, themed dress days, and other social activities. By fostering a sense of community and promoting team cohesion, they've seen improvements in job satisfaction and overall retention rates.

8. Competitive compensation and benefits packages

Offering a competitive salary, health benefits, retirement plans, and other perks ensures that employees feel they are being fairly compensated. When employees believe their total compensation package aligns with or exceeds industry standards, they are less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Again, Concentrix, a global leader in customer experience solutions and technology, is an excellent example in the call center industry of a company that recognizes the importance of offering competitive compensation and robust benefits packages to retain talent. In an industry known for high turnover, Concentrix has managed to stand out by prioritizing its employees.

9. Career pathing and growth opportunities

Clearly, laying out potential career paths within the company and offering opportunities for advancement can motivate employees to stay and grow with the organization.

Alorica's commitment to career pathing and growth opportunities is evident in its structured approach to talent development and progression. By prioritizing the professional aspirations of its employees, Alorica not only ensures high levels of job satisfaction but also strengthens its position as a preferred employer in the call center industry.Companies like Alorica underscore the idea that investing in the growth and development of employees is a win-win — it enhances employee satisfaction and loyalty while also ensuring a steady pipeline of skilled leaders for the organization.

10. Health and wellness initiatives

Call centers can be high-stress environments. Offering wellness programs, which might include gym memberships, counseling services, or meditation sessions, can help employees cope with stress and feel more valued.

Offering wellness programs, mental health support, or even fitness memberships can show employees that the company cares about their overall well-being, not just their work output.

Startek, a global BPO service provider, has initiated various employee health and wellness programs. From providing access to counselors to organizing wellness workshops, they've seen a decrease in burnout rates and an increase in overall employee satisfaction.

11. Gamification of tasks and challenges

Turning daily tasks and objectives into games or challenges can make the work environment more fun and engaging. This can include leaderboards, rewards for top performers, or even team-based competitions.

Five9, a cloud contact center software provider, has successfully implemented gamification in its operations. Creating a competitive yet friendly environment has increased productivity and enhanced employee engagement and job satisfaction.

12. Cultural and diversity training

Training promoting cultural sensitivity and diversity can help create an inclusive environment. When employees feel their unique backgrounds and perspectives are valued, they are likelier to stay loyal to the company.

Companies like Cisco have championed diversity and inclusion, providing training programs that foster an understanding and appreciation of diverse backgrounds. While Cisco is not a call center-specific company, its practices around inclusivity can serve as a model for the call center industry.

Understanding and proactively addressing call center employees' needs and concerns can significantly enhance retention rates. Companies can reduce attrition rates and ensure a productive, satisfied workforce by investing in their professional and personal growth, offering a positive and supportive work environment, and listening to their needs. Remember, a happy employee often equates to a happy customer.

AT&T invested $1 billion in a program named "Future Ready" to address a critical skills gap in its workforce


AT&T, one of the world's premier telecommunications companies with over a century of history, faced a significant challenge in the era of rapid technological change.

“It’s important for companies, at the senior level, to engage and retrain workers rather than constantly going to the street to hire.” - Bill Blase, Senior EVP HR, AT&T

Having said that, here is how AT&T has retained its employees by investing $1 billion in a program named "Future Ready" to address a critical skills gap in its workforce.


AT&T discovered that nearly half of its 250,000 employees were lacking the essential STEM skills for the company's evolving needs in the digital age. Moreover, about 100,000 of these employees held roles related to hardware functions predicted to be obsolete in the near future.


Instead of opting for a massive recruitment drive, AT&T invested $1 billion in "Future Ready," a comprehensive reskilling program. This initiative comprised online courses, partnerships with educational platforms such as Coursera and Udacity, collaborations with universities, and the introduction of the "Career Intelligence" portal to guide employees on future job needs and skill requirements. The program was vigorously backed by AT&T’s top leadership, ensuring its seamless implementation and adoption.


Over half of AT&T’s workforce has already completed approximately 2.7 million online courses, equipping them for future roles in the company. Employees undergoing retraining are now twice as likely to secure new-age, mission-critical jobs and four times more likely to advance in their careers. The successful implementation of this program not only positions AT&T as a leader in corporate reskilling but also inspires other companies to consider similar employee development initiatives.


Call centers are the unsung heroes of the service industry. These agents are the first line of defense, often making or breaking a company's customer relationship. Retaining call center employees requires a combination of continuous learning, recognition, and genuine career opportunities.

Companies that have implemented these strategies often see higher job satisfaction scores, lower turnover rates, and, consequently, better overall performance in their operations.

The revolving door of call center turnover doesn't have to be an accepted norm. With the right strategies, it can become a relic of the past.

Every call, every resolution, and every ounce of dedication your team showcases deserves recognition. Unlock a thriving workspace with our state-of-the-art engagement platform tailored for call centers. Harness the power of genuine engagement and watch your team's potential unfold. Explore today!


Here are some frequently asked questions about call center employee retention and turnover.

What is employee turnover in the call center industry?

Employee turnover refers to the percentage of call center agents who leave the company (either voluntarily or involuntarily) over a specific period compared to the average number of employees during that period.

Why is employee retention crucial for call centers?

Retaining employees leads to better customer service consistency, reduced hiring and training costs, and a more positive workplace culture. It also ensures that the company maintains institutional knowledge and reduces disruptions that can come from frequent staffing changes.

What is the average employee turnover rate in a call center?

The employee turnover rate in call centers tends to be notably higher than in many other industries. On average, the turnover rate in the call center industry has often been cited to range between 30% to 45%.

However, this rate can vary significantly based on various factors such as the region, the specific nature of the call center (e.g., inbound vs. outbound, sales vs. support), the industry served by the call center, and the company's workplace culture and practices.

For instance, in some regions or specific sectors of the industry, the turnover rate can even exceed 50%. Conversely, well-managed call centers with excellent employee benefits, good work culture, and advancement opportunities can have turnover rates significantly lower than the average.

How can technology impact retention in call centers?

The right technology can streamline tasks, reduce employee frustration, and improve overall job satisfaction. Tools like AI-powered chatbots, CRM systems, and analytics platforms can quickly provide agents with the information they need, reducing stress and improving the overall work experience.

What's the business impact of high turnover in call centers?

High turnover can result in increased costs (recruitment, training, and onboarding), disruptions in service continuity, reduced customer satisfaction due to inconsistent service quality, and potential damage to the company's reputation.

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