It’s a fact that attrition rates in Call Centres in South Africa are a massive challenge. High-pressure environments, stress and burnout, absenteeism and performance issues are often cited as reasons for people leaving Call Centres and the industry too. Companies that solve these challenges are usually also the most successful.

“On average, Call Centres report that it costs around R20K to recruit, screen and train each agent, over 20% of the average annual salary. Recruitment and retention are therefore high priorities in this sector,” says Sam Staats, Co-founder and Director for Airshot, a digital broadcast platform.

Sam says that through working with numerous Call Centres, the Airshot team has established a model that uses successful strategies to improve agent retention and boost performance. 

“The secret sauce is employee engagement and the powerful activities that drive this don’t require a magic formula or gimmicks, but rather active communication, recognition and creating opportunities for growth,” Sam explains.

Sam shares Airshot’s top five strategies to improve engagement in Call Centres:

1. Use the right communication tools
The first thing is to find a way to get your message across. Most agents don’t have online access on their desktops, so you need a tool that allows for instant communication. One of the obvious solutions is to use the device that your employees use for their own information needs – their mobile phones. 

With the Airshot App or similar technology, your agent’s smartphones become a single, centralised channel for every kind of communication, providing real-time performance updates, push notifications for urgent messages, two-way communication, targeted training options, surveys and so much more.

2. Be clear around responsibilities and goals
This may not seem like an engagement activity, but it is one of the most important.  Arming your agents with a sense of purpose that’s tied to their responsibilities is critical to creating a meaningful, emotional bond between your employees and their work. 

How well you communicate your company’s objectives is directly correlated with how engaged your agents are, giving them clear goals and fueling their ambition. Airshot can be used to reinforce this as it offers an array of tools including real-time performance reporting and competition-driven leaderboards.

3. Make your agents feel valued
As agents often only have contact with their team and their team leaders, they may start to feel less in touch with the company and wonder if their work is even appreciated by the higher echelons. The Airshot App offers possibilities to bridge this gap. 

Personal messages from the CEO or public recognition for an outstanding team effort will help your agents feel the love. And showing your agents that you are listening to them, through survey results or a two-way feedback process, will do wonders for engagement, performance and job satisfaction.

4. Celebrate achievements
Actively recognising individual accomplishments provides solid proof that the work your agents are putting in has both value and meaning. By celebrating their hard work on a public platform such as Airshot, you send a clear message of appreciation while simultaneously fueling participation and performance amongst your entire workforce.

5. Promote games and challenges
Fostering friendly, social competition on the Airshot App is a fun way to promote bonding between your agents, even across teams and divisions. Through videos and games, you can make the company culture and values more tangible. Simple solutions such as photo challenges or an office-wide fantasy football league can do wonders to create a powerful connection between your agents and the organisation.

Sam concludes: “When you think about effective engagement, you have to consider two factors: what you say and how you say it. Your agents in the Call Centre will appreciate the kind of communication that puts them at the heart of the business. As for the “how”, the technology is available to give you all the tools to lower attrition, improve performance and deliver results for your bottom line.”  

By Sam Staats, Co-founder, and Director for Airshot