Employee absences can be very costly for your call center. They hinder productivity, reduce efficiency, and generally hold your company back from its full potential. Despite this, though, many contact center managers are doing little to nothing to measure or reduce employee absences - or even consider their impact on their business.
Before you can improve agent attendance in your center, it is important to understand its impact on your business and impress that upon your agents. Only then can you see what’s at stake if you don’t curb high absenteeism rates and improve your approach to doing so effectively.
Why Does Agent Attendance Matter?
Most people consider workplace attendance to be important. However, not many people know why it’s important or what it means for a business.
As mentioned previously, agent attendance issues cost the contact center they work for a lot of money. However, these issues also complicate business in other ways. Agents who don’t show up for work can’t meet their goals or be productive in their positions, which can have a major negative impact on everything from call response time to customer satisfaction ratings. Missing work has a ripple effect that many agents may not even be aware of because they cannot see the scope of it from where they sit.
Poor agent attendance also impacts coworkers. When you aren’t at work, someone else has to do your job. While this may be fine on a very occasional basis, chronic absenteeism means more work for others all the time - and less time and energy that they can devote to their own tasks.
Lastly, frequent tardiness or absenteeism can impact your future job prospects as well. When the time comes for your current employer to write a letter of reference for you, they are unlikely to make favorable comments if you have often been absent. For agents, every job should be thought of as an extended interview for the next. For management team members, discourage agent attendance issues by underscoring the importance of impressing an agent’s current employer in relation to making a positive impression on the next.
What Does Absenteeism Really Cost Your Contact Center?
Documenting the actual costs of agent absenteeism is difficult. There are a variety of factors at play, and all of them make pinpointing exactly how much regular absences cost tricky. Some studies estimate the annual cost for businesses to be in excess of $84 billion. Other studies are more specific, claiming that hourly workers cost their employers around $3,600 each annually in costs related to absences, while salaried employees clocked in at just over $2,600. All of these are simply estimates and averages since many smaller companies could never handle these numbers in terms of losses, whereas much larger companies may see losses like these on a monthly basis rather than annually.
What is know is that costs aren’t simply associated with reduced productivity and related profitability. They also come from insurance coverage for accidents that happen because of overworked or distracted employees who are covering for absent colleagues. They come from the cost of returned or refunded goods and services that do not meet consumer needs or expectations due to tired and stressed employees who are working overtime to cover for others and rushing through that work as a result. Wherever there are agent attendance issues, there are a multitude of associated costs that many people do not recognize or understand until they are already stuck with the bill. Unfortunately for many smaller centers, that may be a bill that they cannot afford to pay.
How Can You Address Agent Attendance Issues?
Now that you see just how important agent attendance is to your business, how can you improve it in your facility?
Begin by creating and freely sharing your company’s attendance policy. Studies have shown that employees in any workplace who know what is expected of them are better able to meet those requirements, especially when it comes to absences. Let your employees know up front and in clear terms how often they are permitted to miss work and what the protocol is for doing so. If they understand this, they will be better able to make accommodations ahead of time if something comes up that requires an absence.
Another important factor is good attendance is offering flexible scheduling options. Agents who perform well can be rewarded with opportunities to either make their own schedule or to work from home. This ensures that agents will be more focused and better prepared for work since they will be working during days and times that they feel they are most available to do so.
Another approach to consider is rewarding employees who already have good attendance records. This does two things for your business. It reinforces the idea that those who are already dedicated to their work and to being present and on time are worth recognizing. It also provides an incentive for those who are not currently achieving this goal to work toward it. When there are visible rewards for a behavior, people are more likely to make working toward it a priority.
It is also important to provide your agents with the right technology to do their jobs as efficiently as possible. Many times, contact center agents feel overworked and overwhelmed by their many responsibilities. Lessen this stress by offering software and technology that streamlines the workday and makes coming to work a more pleasant experience.
For the tools and technology you need to provide your staff with plenty of support - and to keep them coming to work on time and focused on their tasks - talk to the industry experts at ChaseData. We have everything your team needs to streamline their workdays and make your agents’ jobs less stressful. Don’t let your seats sit empty this season. To learn more, give us a call today!