Call Center Attrition – Understanding this important KPI

call center consulting

Turnover and attrition. A problem that has plagued many in the customer service industry. A QATC (Quality Assurance & Training Connection) study benchmarks the average call center agent turnover rate ranges between 30%-45%. The call center industry is going through a crisis due to high attrition rates, and many look at this KPI as the number one metric in calculating business success. The challenges of high attrition have increased with remote work becoming the new norm and agents feeling overall dissatisfaction from a high-stress job. The high agent turnover leads to reduced customer satisfaction rates, lower first-call resolution rates, and many other issues. In this post, we’ll dive into the trends affecting attrition in the industry, explore why agents are quitting, and what business owners and call center managers can do to improve employee retention rates.

Recent research by SQM Group shows that managers face the challenge of maintaining high agent efficiency due to high agent turnover and absenteeism. Moreover, they believe the biggest obstacle to achieving high customer satisfaction and first-call resolution rates is an average attrition rate of 38%. According to SQM, this trend is expected to continue, adding severe challenges to the industry. However, some call centers report attrition rates that are even higher. 

Why are agents quitting?

A surprising finding is that 81% of agents prefer work-from-home. While the pandemic-led remote work experiment has allowed greater flexibility to agents, it has added to the complexity of the agent turnover problem. The remote setup has become the new normal, and agents accept job opportunities in other organizations, offering more flexibility. 

Agents are also quitting… because they don’t like their jobs. Agents often report undesirable work schedules, lack of training, and few career opportunities from their call centers. 60% of agents state that their company doesn’t equip them with the right tools to overcome challenges with customers. 

Why does attrition matter? 

High attrition rates can lead to a lack of consistent customer service as agents leave and new ones are trained. This in turn leads to an inconsistent brand experience across different departments, with customers repeatedly receiving information that is not accurate or up-to-date. In addition, high turnover costs the business money for recruiting, training, and lost productivity. 

Deloitte’s 2018 report suggests that reducing the agent turnover rate by 1% can save an organization $32.9 million annually for a company with 30,000 employees and an average attrition rate of 13%. Therefore, addressing the agent turnover issue is vital to achieve significant cost savings.

How can we improve attrition? 

Businesses need to reassess their current strategies for managing agents and focus on providing a better work environment. This includes recognizing top performance, offering training and career advancement opportunities, and creating an inviting atmosphere with positive reinforcement. Businesses should use the latest metrics and analytics tools to monitor agent performance and track customer feedback. 

Businesses can also leverage technology solutions to improve agent productivity and reduce customer effort. Solutions such as AI-driven virtual assistants, chatbots, and automated sentiment analysis can help manage customer interactions better and reduce the burden on agents. This helps keep agents motivated while providing customers with a seamless experience. Additionally, businesses should create an effective reward system for recognized top performers and recognize customer service excellence. 

Call center attrition is a significant challenge businesses cannot ignore. The pandemic-led remote work environment and a lack of professional development opportunities have increased the attrition rate in the call center industry. Managers and business owners must address the problem by focusing on employee engagement, recognition, and development programs to improve retention rates and operational efficiency. Companies need to take a proactive approach to understanding the cause of agent turnover and implementing relevant solutions to mitigate the issue. Let’s work together to make the call center industry sustainable and efficient.


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