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November 23, 2016
Culture  |  8 min read

How to Reduce Customer Service Employee Turnover

By Justyna Polaczyk

Employee turnover is one of the greatest problems a company can face.

After spending weeks looking for the right candidate, and another week onboarding, further training, and the workplace integration—you’re informed that your employee is transferring to another company. You might feel anger. You might feel disappointment. But above all, you understand that such a transfer comes at a cost for your team and your company.
According to statistics, one-third of new hires quit their job after about 6 months. Finding and training a new employee can cost up to six to nine months’ of salary on average!

But it’s not only about money. Sure, the process of looking for other employees, interviewing, and hiring takes both time and money. There’s also a high cost involved in onboarding (including training and management time).

A characteristic of good leaders is spotting a problem before it becomes the reason for an employee to leave. Also, good leaders are responsible for keeping employees motivated.

In this post, I'd like to focus on how leaders handle the process to reduce employee turnover. Here’s how the greatest leaders manage their teams, and why people love working with them!

#1: Great leaders know what kind of people they should hire

Many customer service agents are hired because they can speak the desirable language. You want your agents to support your customers from France or Germany, so you’re looking for French or German-speaking people.

The language is important, but that’s not enough. Depending on how you see the role of your employees, you should look for the right customer service abilities and interpersonal skills. 

The best customer service agents like to help and talk to people, have empathy, know how to troubleshoot, and are optimistic.

There are no wrong candidates as long as you understand who you’re looking for. And as long as you hire the right people from the start, you’ll have a bigger chance they will be a good fit and won’t leave without a good reason.

#2: Great leaders provide sufficient training for their employees and invest in their further development.

Here’s a frequently shared maxim: 

“What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?"

"What happens if we don’t and they stay?”

Employees each have their own motivation for work. It can be money, ambition, or a desire to learn and participate in other projects. But regardless of these motivations, employees wants to feel that they’re unique for the company and that their role is important. 

Did you know that 74% of workers feel that they don’t use their full potential at work and one out of three leave the company within a year? In the meantime, seven out of ten people claim that training and development opportunities influence their decision to stay with a company.

By training your employees, you not only care about the quality of your customer service, you also show that you’re ready to invest in their further development. This investment will pay back with employee happiness, higher productivity, and less unhappy customers.


#3: They set the right mindset in the workplace

A great leader should be an inspiration for the employees and encourage them to choose a positive attitude at work.

A positive attitude is our choice. We can dislike every hour we spend at work, or we can accept it with all our responsibilities and find joy in working there. That’s why an inspirational leader can make such a difference.

First of all, try to pass your work enthusiasm on them. Make sure that people in your team know your mission and why it’s important. Also, your enthusiasm, the fact that you care about your work, can be inspirational for your employees and make them proud of what they do.

Encourage your team to choose a positive attitude. Focus on building good relations between people and show them that although good results are important, so is team work, communication, and helping each other. 

This way you’re building a great work environment your employees won’t like to leave! 


#4: They build trust between themselves and employees

Trust in the workplace is very important in reducing employee turnover because people are not afraid to talk honestly with their leader. When there is trust, it's possible to identify employees’ pain-points and solve them. There are also other benefits of building trust: effective communication, employee engagement, and better job performance.

To build trust between you and your employees, you need to start with yourself.

The most important part of building trust is to be honest. Try to be as transparent as you can, and don’t twist the facts (even if you have to say something to your disadvantage). Be consistent in your words and behaviors: show up on time, stay the required amount of hours, do your job, and fulfil your promises.

It’s said that people leave bosses, not organizations, but if you treat your employees the way you’d like to be treated, you can be sure that they won’t leave because of you. 


#5: They praise their employees

16 percent of employees left their previous job due to a lack of recognition, and 78 percent of US workers said that being recognized motivates them doing their job!

That means employee appreciation is essential if you want to have a well motivated, efficient team. There are more benefits as well! For example, thanks to appreciation, your employees will be more loyal and satisfied, their individual productivity will increase, and their retention will be lowered. 

How do you praise your employees?

Praise the person by name, in front of others, and be specific about what they did good. Point out the value added to the team by the actions he or she took. You can also reward them with a gift (a dinner or a ticket to the cinema).

Some people try to praise someone and then immediately give them their feedback. It looks like this then: “I loved the way that you’ve managed to deal with this difficult customer, but next time you might…” This is not praising, this is coaching. Praising has no “buts.”

Employee turnover is a leadership problem 

Employees quit their jobs for many reasons. They might be unhappy with their pay, be bored with their job, or feel that their skills are not used well.

But the truth is that the majority of reasons why employees quit their job are potentially under the control of the employer because thoughtful leadership can turn unhappy employees into happy ones. It’s all about the work environment and culture.

There are effective methods helping to keep employees happy, so they don’t look for opportunities elsewhere:

  • Hire people with the right mindset
  • Train, mentor, and help develop them
  • Provide growth opportunities
  • Build a positive culture
  • Build trust and credibility with your communication
  • Make your employees feel valued
  • Show appreciation

Once you create a work environment that motivates and stimulates employees, you can be sure that employee retention won’t be a problem for you anymore.


Justyna Polaczyk is a Content Writer and the author of Business Sidekick podcast. She used to work as a business analyst and a journalist. Now, she writes about business psychology and e-commerce. Get in touch with her on Linkedin or Twitter.

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