A new report has found CX leaders are experiencing 40% agent churn —and sometimes 100% or more every year.
ASAPP asked customer support agents for their perspective on the human factors that impact the $600 billion customer experience industry, and revealed four main reasons for the higher levels of agent churn.
They also found labour costs for agents represents the largest investment in CX, often 80-90% of total costs.
- Not being well trained to serve customers needs
- Being managed to the wrong metrics
- Technology is substandard
- Aggressive customers and little or no support to address it
ASAPP, who commissioned the report titled CX: The Human Factor, partnered with the University of San Francisco, School of Management Master of Science in Marketing Intelligence program. We surveyed 506 customer support agents based in the US, working across a broad range of industries.
On the subject of training, the report reads: “While companies often look at ways to reduce the time it takes to train agents, our research suggests that reduced training lowers the confidence and competence of agents. In our in-depth interviews, agents expressed their frustration with lack of training and identified it as a key cause for poor performance, unhappy customers, burnout, and attrition.”
Of agents who strongly agree that the training they received set them up for success, the study found that 92% of agents were satisfied with their ability to help customers, 88% were satisfied with their knowledge of systems, 77% are satisfied with their support from management and 74% feel like they are brand ambassadors for their company.
On metrics, the report adds: “Contact centre operations are extremely metrics driven, intended to measure the performance of the business, the team, and the individual agents. Average handle time (AHT) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) are two common ways to measure agent performance. One in 5 agents don’t consider AHT a good measure for today’s businesses. And nearly that many say the same about CSAT.”
The report revealed 20% of agents feel AHT (average handle time) does not accurately measure success and 15% believe the same for CSAT.
While metrics serve continuous improvement, these measurements also create anxiety in the industry for agents, as it impacts bonuses, managerial pressures, and quotas, the study says.
These are the most common reasons agents cite as cause for metric manipulation:
- 33% Compensation bonus
- 27% Managerial pressures
- 21% Quotas
- 15% Promotional considerations
- 4% Other
On the attitude of customers, 90% of agents reported that calls with customers made them happy.
63% Enjoy working as an agent, 27% are neutral about job as an agent and 10% are unhappy about job as an agent
“However, the high attrition rate in this industry is indicative of the pressures facing these agents. A search on social media about the agent experience provides some visibility into “a day in the life.” Many agents report being treated poorly by some customers and so it’s no surprise that our survey results illustrate this point. But, the extent was unexpected,” the report adds.
On the subject of technology, the report adds: “As contact centres have grown and evolved companies have continuously invested in technology. These include incremental add-ons to decades old systems as well as individual products that may not be well integrated. As a result 44% of agents state that the rate of technological advancement is behind the times.”
43% state tech systems consistently crash on them, 37% say tech does not help them complete their jobs faster and 11% say the tech is not suitable for remote work.