Years ago, back in our CEB days, we used to share a slide that labeled the contact center a “Factory of Sadness.”  It resulted in nervous laughs from heads of contact centers.

Unfortunately, it still exists. 

Whether you’ve read about it or are experiencing it, disengagement is widespread, and attrition isn’t far behind.  The good news?  The number of contact center leaders expressing concern about their team’s well-being has grown exponentially.  This aligns with the research I’ve seen from Brian Cantor at CCW stating more than 70% of contact center leaders identify employee well-being as a top priority.

The not so good news?  Contact centers leaders are struggling to find solutions. 

The engagement struggle is real, so companies are getting creative. What’s often overlooked, however, are the financial implications that come along with high levels of disengagement.

Reps Have a Hard and Thankless Job

It’s never been easy to be a contact center rep, but it’s gotten worse over the last 18 months. 

A few weeks ago, I was speaking with an executive at a company who shared the current state of their organization.  Reps are unhappy cause they’re getting yelled at by customers and they’re unhappy cause they’re getting yelled at by management. 

Who likes being yelled at all day? Gartner recently found “Disengagement is rampant among customer service reps, leading to high rep turnover and poor customer experiences.”

Let’s just say that’s not what you want from a group that talks to your customers all day, every day.

Here are a few unique levers contact center leaders I’m talking to are pulling to engage their reps:

  • Weekly meditation
  • Treasure hunt for kids (several companies are engaging reps and their families)
  • Virtual concerts (one company brought in a local ukulele artist)
  • Wine tastings
  • One company has begun offering their reps stock options (or at least the ability to participate in the ESOP)

The engagement challenge remains despite these efforts.  And it’s leading to historic levels of attrition, which translates into real dollars.

Attrition Costs…A Lot

When I speak to contact center leaders about the cost of attrition, there is general recognition that it’s expensive. However, I tend to find most underestimate how expensive.  In fact, I’ve had plenty of leaders admit they don’t know how much it costs and worry (rightfully) what that number may look like.

Keeping tabs on attrition is especially important today!  One company shared their attrition numbers are up to 50%!

Here’s a simple way to estimate the cost of attrition: 

Gartner recently updated the cost to hire one rep = $14,113 (ouch).  
Let’s say you have a team of 200 reps and a standard 20% attrition rate. 
This means you have 40 reps turning over annually (200*20%). 
Multiply that 40 by $14,113 and attrition is costing you $564,520…a year! 

What are you doing to engage your staff?  

How much is attrition costing you?

Check out this interview with PayPal to learn about the exciting levers they’re pulling to engage staff and reduce attrition.


Scott Rothman

Scott Rothman

Scott Rothman is a Director with Challenger’s Service practice. In his role, Scott is responsible for sharing and presenting the Effortless Experience™ research and helping companies execute on their low-effort strategies. He has facilitated and presented on these topics at numerous speaking engagements, including keynotes and industry conferences. Scott holds a BS in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and an MBA from The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Start Your Journey