EX Meets CX – Transform Customer Experience By Taking Care of Your Agents

Contact centers are well known for high turnover. In fact, they face the highest turnover rates of any department within an organization

contact center retention

Contact centers are well known for high turnover. In fact, they face the highest turnover rates of any department within an organization – a whopping 30-45% average. Overall agent job satisfaction is lacking across the industry and ultimately, impacts their ability to deliver on customer experience.

EX is as critical as CX

A high turnover leads to numerous customer service challenges including a lack of consistency in agent knowledge and training levels in addition to staffing shortages that can lead to long wait times for customers. Needless to say, when employees are not set up for success, it is all the more challenging for them to provide the best service.

At a time when customer expectations are at an all-time high, and faced with an economic downturn, building employee morale can be your most powerful foundational approach.

As contact center leaders deploy new and better tools to help increase efficiency and reduce costs, putting customer and employee relationships center stage can be a driving force for improving business outcomes. Employee experience (EX) has quickly become as important to CX, the customer experience itself.

Revisit your agent recruitment strategy

A contact center with high turnover is constantly stuck in the cycle of recruiting, hiring, and training new agents. Yet recruiting agents has become more complex as more organizations switch to remote models: there are more opportunities for agents and companies are competing for top talent. This means recruiters have to adopt new strategies to attract agents while keeping retention top of mind so that they are more inclined to stay. 

    • Understand your reputation: To remain competitive in the recruitment phase, assess if your contact center is known for taking care of its people. Dave Rennyson, CEO of SuccessKPI, was recently featured in Fortune for his success in leading effective teams. He emphasizes the importance of taking care of your top people so they are in a position to focus on leveling up the business. “Once you take the basic worry off their plate, they’ll come to you and say, ‘What more can I do to help?’”
    • Broaden your horizons: If your organization is not already using a remote or flexible staffing model, consider breaking free of the physical call center. Remote and hybrid roles broaden your talent pool beyond geographic or commute limitations. Remote models give workers more flexibility, which can be more attractive than a role in an on-premise contact center.
    • Identify key traits: Focusing too much on screening potential candidates by specific keywords in their resumes may be limiting. Identify the key traits your successful contact center employees share and expand your search based on those qualities. Keep in mind that many skills can be learned, and tap into contact center solutions that help close up skills gaps with training.
  • Be competitiveContact center work can be demanding, requiring the ability to manage difficult conversations and moments of conflict through intrapersonal and problem-solving skills. Attract top talent to your contact center by providing competitive wages and benefits.

Finding ideal candidates is only a part of the battle. The next big challenge is keeping them engaged.

Strategies for increasing contact center agent retention

Contact center agent retention is critical to achieving strong operational advantages and customer satisfaction. The key to reducing turnover is to understand some of the key causes. Agents leave contact center jobs or the industry as a whole, for many reasons including:

1. Lack of internal alignment causes confusion and doubt about priorities and the future of the business, impacting employee productivity and morale, especially during an economic downturn.

Solution: Empower your agents with information. Top CEOs know employee loyalty is critical to retention. Consider how your organization can communicate more effectively, from setting the right tone to the way they receive critical information about the business.


2. Perception issues with contact center jobs leave many assuming that these are “dead ends” with low wages and limited growth potential.

Solution: Create ongoing training and growth opportunities to mitigate this perception and give your contact center agents new opportunities and clear growth paths.

3. Work is becoming more difficult as the “easy” communications are handled by customer self-service and AI-driven support options, yet training has not kept pace with increased demands for complex inquiries.

Solution: Provide quality and bias-free feedback and coaching for agent growth and success. Agents need both real-time feedback and coaching based on more than just key performance numbers. Real-time prompts and tips that suit how they work can empower them to learn and grow. Speech-to-text analytics can provide deeper insights into agent and customer well-being than traditional contact center metrics alone.

4. A disconnected multi-channel customer journey can leave both agents and customers frustrated with collecting the same information repeatedly, leaving agents with disjointed toolsets and multiple information sources to understand and resolve requests.

Solution: Streamline your tech stack and unify your data so that agents have access to tools that are intelligent and adaptive with customer data all in one place. Bonus: unified data helps all levels of the organization.

5. Monitoring tools may overlook agents’ skills leading to frustration and disconnect between agents and management.

Solution: Utilize AI-driven tools to not just handle basic inquiries, but to provide agents with real-time speech monitoring to help predict customer needs and provide context-relevant information and suggestions.

Underlying each of these challenges is a common thread: traditional contact center models are not keeping pace with today’s customer-centric business world with ever-evolving channels of interaction. When your company-wide goals are clear and engrained in the processes and tools you deploy, your agents can see how their role ties into the greater success of the company.

Contact center performance is at the heart of operational outcomes

Getting a holistic understanding of experience–from how you manage and interact with your data, the tools you use, where and how your agents work, how you train and upskill your agents, and how you monitor performance–can provide a meaningful opportunity to improve strategy. When companies build an internal culture that values employee experience as part of customer experience, truly amazing transformation and outcomes can be achieved.

This is one of the core reasons SuccessKPI has a proven record of transforming CX and driving outcomes: we are a global company that prioritizes people at the core of our values while delivering a powerful insight and action platform that empowers people to create next-generation experiences.

Learn more about SuccessKPI’s story and the people behind it.

About the Author

Sewon Chung Barrera is the Director of Digital Marketing & Content Strategy at SuccessKPI. Prior to joining SuccessKPI, Sewon oversaw digital strategy and led content marketing at the Exploratorium, Samsung Electronics, Impact Hub, Brafton, and more. A marketing leader with a passion for storytelling, Sewon holds a Master of Arts from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a dual B.A. in Literary & Cultural Studies and Sociology from The College of William & Mary.