Staff turnover at a Durban outbound contact centre.
Staff turnover is one of the biggest problems in any contact centre for the effect it can have on the operation and the ultimate profitability of the business (Kgomo & Swarts, 2010). This research seeks to analyse specific factors contributing to staff turnover and offers recommendations on what can be done to address them. The research studied the particular circumstances of Durcall, a Durban based outbound contact centre, and investigated the impact that agents reasons for joining, their expectations at recruitment and the influence that training and supervisors have on the company’s staff turnover. The significance of the study was based on the impact that very high levels of turnover were having on the company’s productivity and profitability. A quantitative study was undertaken to determine the potential magnitude of the different contributors to turnover and was conducted on a sample of 270 agents at the company’s Durban offices by means of a paper-based questionnaire, resulting in an 82% response rate. The results revealed the transitory approach that employees have to a job that is not considered a career but a stop-gap to something better. It highlighted the critical role the supervisor plays in an agent’s attitude toward the job, along with the need for adequate training and stress management in what is an intense occupation. The study generated recommendations on how Durcall can seek to reduce attrition through changes to its recruitment processes and training as well as a more macro view on the need for a cohesive industry body to promote the image of call centres in the eyes of prospective and existing employees. The study also offers some insights into outbound contact centres specifically where much of the contemporary literature focuses on customer service type roles or discusses call centres in general.