There are many similarities between retaining advisors and customers. They are indeed defined as two separate challenges, but in practice, they are often reflected in one another.

With this is mind, Orit Avital – General Manager of Ottorita – introduces five common service tools that are often used by contact centers for customer retention, before discussing how each tool can also be used to help reduce advisor turn-over. 

1. Retention is a Matter of Timing – Keeping a Strict Response Time

When service levels decrease, and the real-time screen starts flickering with warning lights, the entire management team on the floor goes into action mode. 

In most contact centers, reducing long queue times for customers is primary to everything else. This is because long waits usually result in customer dissatisfaction and complaints from those who remained in the queue and did not abandon. 

Long wait times = dissatisfied customers, is an equation that is very clear to us all. 

How is This Related to Advisor Retention?

It is important to understand that this equation works for advisor queries as well. So, be sure to provide contact center advisors with a response to their requests within reasonable time. This of course refers to both personal and professional requests. 

In order to retain an advisor and prevent dissatisfaction, which ultimately leads to abandonment, you must provide a quick and available managerial, personal and professional response. 

Just as with customers, an advisor who feels that they have no professional response and that their requests are unattended, will grow frustrated and the chance of churn will grow. 

Answer Advisor Requests Quickly

Define an internal objective, an Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the managerial team, for handling advisors’ requests. 

For example, for a personal vacation request, a Team Manager or a Contact Center Manager must reply within 72 hours. 

Once the handling of the advisors’ requests will be regulated and structured, it will be much easier to coordinate advisor expectations.

Also, the wait will be perceived as shorter and the uncertainty therein will be reduced. Accordingly, the retention rate will likely increase.

2. Retention is Enabled When Customer Satisfaction is High 

A satisfied customer, that is the ultimate goal of every contact center and extensive effort is invested in the measurement and monitoring of customer satisfaction. 

The abundance of possibilities for measuring satisfaction even includes innovative technologies for carrying out interactive and user- friendly satisfaction surveys through various media channels.

All of the possibilities are used for optimal reflection of customer satisfaction level.

How is This Related to Advisor Retention?

The satisfaction of the contact center team fluctuates exactly in the same manner as the customer satisfaction. Therefore, the measurement of customer satisfaction is carried out in many contact centers after every call. 

Yet, in a large number of contact centers, advisor satisfaction is only measured once a year, together with the entire organisation. 

It is high time to take a different approach to this issue. To understand the importance of remaining attentive to advisors satisfaction also.

Create Regular Employee Surveys Using Your Customer Survey Tools

Take the technology you use for customer satisfaction measurement and create a satisfaction survey for advisors, which will be referred back to in predefined intervals. 

Try carrying out a satisfaction survey using a non-calendar segmentation – as is done in many modern contact centers. Instead, use satisfaction surveys for advisors in accordance with to their tenure, i.e. after each three months of working.

In addition to the value of the survey results for advisor retention, the carrying out of such a survey in the contact center constitutes a significant message to the entire team. This is the message that: “We care how you feel, we care about your situation and we are putting effort for the benefit of your retention at every stage.”

3. Distinct Retention is Carried Out at the Complaint Crossroads – Address Complaints Thoroughly

Complaining customers are our good customers. They provide us with an opportunity to correct our mistakes. When a customer makes a complaint, what needs to be done to ensure retention becomes clearer.  

In order to create as many opportunities for retention as possible, many contact centers create varied channels for relaying complaints and are also meticulous in creating procedures for how to correctly handle a complaint. 

Handling a complaint is usually done with transparency and in a manner that the customer feels that their complaint is being taken seriously. The customer is treated with respect and a satisfactory solution is found for them, sometimes involving some sort of compensation.

How is This Related to Advisor Retention?

Your advisors also complain, this is clear and natural. Do not forget that they too, like you, are customers. But in practice, contrary to the methodic and serious manner in which customer complaints are handled, advisor complaints are usually handled on an informal level. 

Yet, there is room to create a structured process for handling advisor complaints, in the same manner as customer complaints are handled. 

Seriousness and affirming the importance of advisor retention at the complaint crossroads, is significant and directly influences employee churn rates. 

Create a Clear Platform for Advisor Complaints 

Create a clear and convenient platform for forwarding advisors’ complaints in the contact center and then make sure to inform the entire team of the process.

Ideally, the advisors’ complaints will be first forwarded to their direct manager. If this does not happen, it is important to check why. This could be another problem that needs to be addressed. 

Furthermore, define a responsible person who coordinates and thoroughly investigates the nature of the complaints. You will be surprised to find out how many things your advisors hold back because they were not provided with the appropriate platform to raise their complaints. 

It can be little things which were not said, until this platform was introduced, which possibly led to abandonment and could be solved with the necessary seriousness and promptness.

4. Retention Through Personalisation and Personal Tailoring – a Tailored Response Makes the Difference

One of the main trends integrated into service providing organisations in recent years is the personal service. 

The guiding principle of this trend is that the organisation has varied customers with varying needs and preferences. Thus, personal adaptations are made for every customer in the offering of services, promotions and benefits, as well as in the nature of care. 

All of these extensively contribute to customer retention. The customer feels and understands that their needs are being noticed and that constant and ongoing effort is made to satisfy them personally. And, that works!

How is This Related to Advisor Retention?

Well, the guiding principle is identical. Despite the characteristics common to the entire team, we can find diversity of characteristics of the team members in every contact center. 

The contact center has advisors of different backgrounds, different sectors, different ages, different aspirations and preferences. Therefore, each advisor has different needs. 

Retaining advisors through a personal managerial response adapted to them is a challenge, just as it is with customers, but it is worth the effort.

Sit with Your Team Leaders and Discuss Their Advisors 

Warning! The following tool requires thorough acquaintance with your team and investment in the provision of personal care. 

Firstly, sit with your Team Leaders and review the characteristics of their advisors with them. Then, for every advisor, ask the following three questions:

  • Where are they in terms of performance level?
  • What is their level of satisfaction and what bothers them?
  • What is important for them within the work at the contact center?

This conversation can focus you on the methods required for providing a tailored response for each individual advisor. 

From here, get on your way and find solutions that can provide a response to the needs of the various advisors. 

The managerial perception, which deems the entire team to be a uniform workforce that requires an identical managerial response, is no longer valid. Your advisors are not only a workforce, they are much more than that, and, in order to retain them, it is important to study in depth who they are and what is important to them and how, by implementing creative methods, you can satisfy them. 

Also, it is important to remember that diversity in the managerial response does not indicate improper management! For as long as it is carried out fairly, honestly and is consistent with the reciprocal relations between the advisor, their performance and satisfaction level – trust yourselves!

  5. Retention Processes are Proactive Processes – be the Initiators, Always!

In recent years, many initiated actions were integrated in many contact centers for the benefit of retaining customers. 

Many companies do not wait any more for their customers to contact, in order to take care of them, but create proactive communications and processes which originate in the contact center. These communications are across multiple channels and remind the customer that they are important to the organisation. 

There is an abundance of examples for that. For example, updating customers on new service processes and products, training and support tools, as well as greetings for personal occasions. 

The initiated activity, if carried out properly, creates the “wow effect” and contributes to customer retention.

Initiated activity is actually preventive activity intended to maintain high level of satisfaction and tighten the connection between the organisation’s customers and the organisation itself.

How is This Related to Advisor Retention?

Do not wait for a complaint, an uprising or even a wave of abandonment to handle and examine the retention processes. Instead, provide the team with a working environment in which actions are carried out on a regular basis, for their retention and satisfaction.

Create a Plan for the Next Half Year 

Schedule a managers’ meeting and sit with a calendar, in order to prepare a proactive plan for the coming half year. 

Mark various dates on which there are holidays, advisors’ birthdays, high and low times for the contact center activity, and think in advance of creative ideas for marking these events in a fun and surprising manner. 

For example, you could decorate the contact center, offer holiday gifts, greeting cards, little presents, food, workshops, contact center team-building activities, outings and so on. 

While, most importantly, try to be original. Granted, recurring initiatives are also important, but prove to your advisors that you invested thought in the creation of the unique twist for your contact center!

In Summary

As a final recommendation, why not try putting together other tools which you use for the customer retention and examining how they can be implemented also for advisor retention processes.

Remember that there is a feedback relation between customer retention and advisor retention, so take a look at your current processes to ensure that you are not missing a trick. 

Be sure that the investment in customer retention is reflected in your ability to retain the company’s advisors, especially those who are so pivotal to your contact center’s make-up. 

Good luck!