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Can Staff Retention Be Bought?

Call Center RepBig revenues and the CEO’s upcoming book release are winning Zappos loads of public press. Zappos doesn’t approach customer service like most organizations. In fact, the company makes it publically clear they have a culture that qualifies as more than just little bit quirky.

One of Zappos’s core principles is to promote employee and customer happiness. Of note on the employee side: Zappos values happy employees so much that at the end of new-hire training, trainees are offered $2,000+ to quit.

Now, while offering $2K for new-hires to leave seems ridiculous and is likely unfeasible for most companies, the goal is noble. The program is designed to save the company money by getting rid of folks who won’t thrive and will likely leave soon anyways. In other words, it zeroes in on the importance of staff retention. And the costs you incur when unhappy employees leave aren’t just what you spent on training them.

CCC finds the frontline staff performance benefits of rep retention far outweigh the benefits of hiring for rep attributes indicating a high initial performance. In fact, the performance lift from just an additional six months of tenure is 2.6%, compared to a 0.2% lift from previous service organization experience.

On the flip side, poor engagement can cripple a service organization. It leads to early attrition and higher recruiting and training costs. Even worse, CCC data has found disengaged employees exert 63% less discretionary effort. In other words, disengaged employees do the bare minimum to get by – leading to less productivity and a lower service experience.

So how do we dodge poor engagement? Below are some tips to better engage your staff, based on the top three most important things to drive rep engagement:

  1. A visible career path – Creating transparent advancement opportunities for staff boosts engagement. We’ve seen companies get creative to make more opportunities available, even just on a rotational basis. Leading companies also lay out a clear career path for reps so they know what tangible next steps they need to take to advance.
  2. Staff motivation – An environment where reps believe in what they do leads to rep engagement. Companies have focused on communication and inclusion so reps can see how their work fits into larger organizational goals.
  3. Coaching effectiveness – High-quality coaching is crucial to retaining reps. Simply having a coaching program isn’t enough – poor coaching actually degrades performance and engagement. For CCC members, we’ve taken an in-depth look at what a high-quality coaching system entails.

These are just a few examples of engagement techniques, and are by no means a complete list.  Help me add to it – what’s your favorite way to engage your frontline?

CCC Members, check out our Employee Engagement Portal where you can see how other organizations tackle the top drivers of retention and get involved in our Employee Engagement Pulse Survey. You’ll see how Dow Chemical communicates advancements opportunities and Cadence Design Systems boosts staff motivation through job rotations.

Comments from the Network (1)

  1. Customer Service Buzz » A Rising High Performer…or Just a Misaligned Star?
    on May 27, 2010

    [...] to our organization and put forth maximum effort in their jobs.  As Jacob mentions in his recent post, there are several ways to drive engagement.  I want to add the need to measure it – and it’s [...]

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