GoResponse Telephone Answering Service Staff

Tackle agent health to reduce attrition

Depositphotos_25727499_m-2015A study conducted in 2011 found that the average “voluntary resignation rate” in the UK is 7.9 per cent. However, ContactBabel’s 2014 HR & Operational Benchmarking report showed the call centre industry experiencing an attrition rate closer to 19 per cent. This clearly supports the common knowledge that telephone answering services often struggle to hold onto employees. One thing that can lead people to leave is poor health, and by tackling this head on, call centres can keep agents happy and healthy.

One common problem in call centre agents is health issues affecting the voice. Agents spend a lot of their time talking, and even though this has decreased somewhat thanks to the rise in social media, there is still a lot of talking going on. In fact, ContactBabel said that agents are answering calls 27 per cent faster on average than they did in previous studies.

Research from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) found that 11 per cent of workers from 14 contact centres had received voice disorder diagnoses, whilst a further 10 per cent said their performance at work was affected by voice issues. Voice problems go beyond sore throats; they can include smarting, tension, pain, burning, croakiness, pitch changes and swelling.

There are ways to help agents with these issues. Cleanliness is vital, so antibacterial wipes and hand gel can be provided to help prevent the spread of colds and illness. Straining should be minimised by providing a quiet place for people to work, whilst employees should be reminded to drink frequently. Meanwhile, union Unite also recommends that every call centre create higher humidity levels in the workplace to aid dry eyes and abused throats. Finally, agents should be offered vocal management advice to help them remain healthy and productive.

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