Call centers have taken over most customer issue resolution work for medium and large companies. For many consumers, their entire experience with a brand is the customer care agent on the other end of the phone. Unfortunately, call center agents have one of the highest turnover rates in any industry, which means many customers rely on inexperienced company representatives to resolve their concerns.

The trend towards social customer service is a game changer for organizations that fully commit to this customer support platform. Research shows that agents dedicated exclusively to social customer care report higher levels of job satisfaction and increased engagement, which means lower rates of turnover and better customer experiences. Companies with a comprehensive social customer engagement platform enjoy the rewards of improved customer retention, as well as the savings that come with decreased employee turnover.

The Truth About Call Center Turnover

Employees in repetitive, entry-level positions are prone to higher-than-average turnover rates under the best of circumstances — and call centers don’t generally offer workers the best of circumstances. Customer service jobs are typically considered high-stress, and call center turnover ranges from 30-45 percent, with specialized and unionized workers resigning at slightly lower rates. When compared with the average turnover rate across all industries — approximately 15 percent — it is clear that there are significant challenges in retaining phone-based agents.

The Cost of High Turnover Rates

The negative impact of employee churn is clearly visible in customer satisfaction scores, customer retention rates and customer spend rates. In addition, it is likely that poor service experiences will be shared with dozens of friends and acquaintances through social media. Research by the Executive Board and the Harvard Business Review found that by meeting customer expectations, businesses can expect a 94 percent repurchase rate and an 88 percent increase in customer spend.

In addition to the negative customer impact, replacing agents is surprisingly expensive. Hard costs, such as advertising positions, paying recruiters and training new hires, can range from $4,000 to $8,800 per employee — and that is just the beginning. Soft costs include lost productivity due to the vacant position, as well as a decrease in levels of engagement throughout the team. Managers who spend their time interviewing and on-boarding new agents cannot invest that time in staff development, which feeds the cycle, as agents resign to explore more rewarding opportunities. So how can brands lower these costs and increase employee engagement?

Increase Employee Engagement Through Social Customer Care Centers

Using social media platforms to promote other channels, such as phone or email, isn’t enough to create a truly engaged workforce. In order to increase employee engagement brands need to do more. Brands that make it possible for social media customer care agents to fully resolve customer issues report significant increases in employee satisfaction. The Sparkcentral Social Customer Service Agent Report found that 68 percent of companies surveyed saw positive differences in social customer service agent engagement when compared with peers dedicated to phone and web chat interactions. The improvement was more pronounced in companies that offer best-in-class technology and a collaborative, team-based work environment to offset the repetitive nature of the tasks.

Mobile technology and a universal enthusiasm for social media is shifting consumer expectations. Instead of waiting on hold or communicating through web chat, consumers expect businesses to offer issue resolution through the social media platforms they are already using. Organizations that create a seamless service experience will rapidly differentiate themselves from the competition.