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Call center training takes months, but yields shockingly high turnover.

According to data from Procedure Flow, 90% of call center staff take over 2 months to become fully proficient, but the average staff turnover rate is 30-45% per year.

This can easily cost call centers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Indeed, a Deloitte survey showed it takes about $12,000 to replace the average frontline staff member and nearly three times that to replace a management-level employee.

What’s driving such high turnover?

Hint: It’s not just getting yelled at.

Rude callers can certainly take a toll, but there’s much more to it than that — from poor training to unfair QA, unclear standards to micromanagement.

Long story short: Staff feel undervalued and unsupported.

Let’s take a deep dive into Reddit’s most popular call center employee forum, r/talesfromcallcenters, to hear it from frontline staff in their own words.

See related: Do your call center staff feel like “human shields?”

10 quotes on why call center staff want to quit

I wanted to hear from frontline staff in their own words on what can make working in a call center so frustrating and stressful. So I took another deep dive into the biggest call center forum on Reddit.

As a former cold-caller myself, their words rang all too true.

“They expect quitting, so they kind of don’t give a $@%! about you.”

A revolving door workplace tells staff one thing: “You’re replaceable.” Or, in other words, “You don’t matter.” In that position, would you really think twice about quitting?

“Don’t expect direction or help. You’re lucky if you get decent training.”

Poor training and coaching makes staff feel thrown to the wolves — left to figure things out on their own via trial and error. Wouldn’t you feel disillusioned and want out?

“It’s very hard to find a job with reasonable metrics and turnover.”

Unclear or unrealistic standards breed staff resentment, and high turnover breeds more turnover. That’s why it’s crucial to make expectations clear, consistent and fair.

“My co-workers spend half their shift off the phone, not taking calls.”

Lax QA and a lack of accountability don’t just lead to a poor caller experience — they also alienate dedicated staff. If no one else cares, why should they?

“I was dinged on QA. Apparently my voice lacks ‘vibrancy’ … Yep.”

How do you quantify vibrancy? Detailed QA is key to building a great caller experience, but for QA to feel fair, it should focus on concrete data and objective measures.

“QA needs to die. They do everything they can to screw over people.

Call center QA and feedback should be designed to give staff the information they need to do their best work — not deployed simply to punish people for mistakes.

“QA seems to pick only my worst calls to grade, or is it just random?”

Most call centers only QA a tiny, random sample of calls (if they do any QA at all). It’s easy for staff to feel this isn’t a fair representation of their work as a whole.

“In the world of call centers, everything is just a massive trial by fire.”

Supporting staff goes beyond onboarding lectures and training videos. Staff need ongoing coaching and easy access to information to feel confident in their work.

“I was told I’d be fired if I made one more mistake, so I quit.”

Quality feedback helps staff grow. Threats only breed distrust and anxiety. In such an environment, mistakes are more likely to happen, not less.

“Boss asked why I was off the phone for 1-3 minutes like six weeks ago.”

Most call center feedback and QA is painfully slow to come and lacks necessary context. Without a tighter feedback loop, how can we expect to make a difference?

Bottom line

There’s a better way. Call center jobs aren’t a fit for everyone. But let’s make them as satisfying as possible for staff who want to be successful.

Let’s empower staff to do their best work. Through ongoing training, personalized feedback and fair, timely QA, we can reduce turnover and improve both caller experience and staff satisfaction.

We won’t get turnover to 0% — but we can at least turn some resignations into conversations.

Waleed Mohsen

Author Waleed Mohsen

Waleed Mohsen is the CEO and founder of Verbal. He has been named a UCSF Rosenman Innovator and has over 10 years of experience working with leaders of hospitals and medical institutions in his business development roles at Siemens and Cisco

More posts by Waleed Mohsen