Monday, November 19, 2007

UK Agent Attrition

An interesting article on about UK contact centre agent attrition increasing for the 5th year in a row.

I actually wrote a post on the survey (and HSBC's response to agent attrition) last week "The contact centre agent experience - First Direct", but the article has a good quote from the analysts Contact Babel.

"Steve Morrell, principal analyst at ContactBabel, said in the report: "The lack of growth in agents' salaries is certainly a major factor in producing high levels of attrition. Businesses should be working to move low-value interactions onto web and phone self-service channels, and to use the savings created to pay higher salaries to their agents. This will attract and retain high-quality staff, a move which will immediately and permanently benefit both the business and the customer base.""

All very much thoughts this blog has been discussing in terms of moving from call centre to contact centre and making contact centre part of a multi-channel strategy. I'm not sure, though, this will necesaarily translate into higher UK salaries as I see high-skill offshore like South Africa being a significant factor in the market.

I've always stressed the importance of moving to converged IP because it makes managing multi-media in a multi-channel environment so much easier. aren't making the connection as explictly as I do, but they do produce the quite interesting statistic that:

"...pure IP infrastructure will be commonplace in most UK call centres within the next two years, with 41 per cent of respondents saying their operations will be fully IP-architected by the end of 2009.
Currently only 17 per cent of call centres have an full IP infrastructure, with a further 28 per cent using a hybrid IP/TDM network

I suspect that one of the other big drivers to IP (besides multi-media management) is the ability to virtualise across borders. I know this is a message Cisco has pushed strongly, and I think it's the right messge for many enterprises. This is especially true in Europe where the continuing integration of the EU offers many opportunities to distribute work more efficently and more widely. Agent jobs (especially in areas like e-mail, where language skills and accent are not so crucial) will go to areas where the work represents a higher salary and on-shore will be left with higher skill, higher value agents.

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