Agent Turnover and Customer Experience: The Unexpected Love Affair

At Zailab we commission quarterly market research exercises to keep an eye on the market at all times. This quarter we decided to dive deep into some data around a relationship that exists, but no one seems to talk about it. That is, the intrinsic relationship between agent satisfaction and customer satisfaction, and how focusing on them both in tandem can create significant profit growth. Here are some headline figures:

The global contact centre market is estimated to be worth upwards of $30 billion and some projections estimate its future value at around $165 billion by 2030. [1] This significant upward trend is illustrative of the evolution in the way businesses and customers are interacting, with the unlikely combination of automation and sophisticated software creating an improved customer experience, overall. The ability to self-serve routine issues through automation means that contact centre agents are more able to focus on resolving complex issues and acquiring new customers. These are positive activities for business growth and development.

There are three main elements driving the phenomenal growth of CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service). Firstly, the adoption of the Cloud means agents can be hired anywhere in the world and work remotely, with all the supervisory features built in and remotely managed. Secondly, AI and machine learning have A) improved the automation of routine issues and B) improved the way interactions of distributed amongst agents leading to more successful outcomes. Finally, omnichannel communication platforms mean that customers can interact with their company in multiple ways, including phone calls, emails, WhatsApp and webchats.

With the apparently significant growth in CCaaS around the globe, what are the biggest problems when it comes to running them? It’s important to note that contact centres are a relatively new phenomenon, so we really are in the early days of all of this. Getting it right at the outset is absolutely fundamental. Here are some general stats about the issues businesses face when running contact centres to communicate with their customers, all taken from Live Agent [2]:

  • LinkedIn reports that customer services agents have an average turnover rate of 29%, compared to a cross-industry average of 15% [3]. High turnover figures relate to increased overhead costs and poorer CX results.
  • US companies lose $62 billion each year due to bad customer experience
  • 19% of customers say they are satisfied with the service they receive from support contact centres
  • 67% of customers believe they would stay with a company if it had been able to resolve the issues on the first interaction
  • 91% if customers will leave a brand without complaining if they are unhappy
  • 40% of customers will advise their friends not to use the company if they have had a bad customer experience
  • Callers are transferred on average 2.6 times to have a query resolved

What you’re seeing here is the agent-customer nexus that we at Zailab are obsessed with, because we understand that the customer and the agent want exactly the same thing. No one wants an unresolved issue. Agents want to resolve customer queries just as much as the customers do. So let’s look more at the numbers.

Centralus [4] looked at call centres in the UK, and how agent turnover impacts business outcomes. An improvement of 1% in employee turnover generated a $15,000 saving per annum. They used a base number of 125 agents and found that by reducing employee turnover from 26% to 21% brought an annual cost saving of £46,900 ($52,000). Extrapolate that to a contact centre with 500+ agents and a turnover rate of 29% and you’re looking at savings in excess of $360,000 to bring it down to 21%. 

Why is the turnover so high in contact centres? [2]

  • 42% of agents feel the systems they use are too outdated and disconnected
  • Agents frequently don’t have enough information to handle a query, and frequently have to ask a customer for information they’ve already submitted
  • Customers that are frustrated are much more difficult to interact with
  • Contact centre agents are heavily analysed and micro-managed
  • Overall agents become frustrated very quickly and end up leaving as a result

And on the plus side, there are huge benefits to improved CX [2]:

  • 77% of customers would refer the company to a friend after a positive experience
  • 72% of customers share a positive experience with 6 or more people
  • 96% of customers say that CX is an important factor to choosing a brand
  • 86% of customers are willing to pay more to have good CX
  • A 2% increase in customer retention is equivalent to cutting costs by 10%
  • A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25%
  • Companies can increase profits by $2,400 per employee per year by increasing employee engagement by 10%

So here are the numbers. By decreasing agent turnover rates and increasing customer satisfaction, this translates to less costs and more revenue, meaning significantly higher profits.

The burning question is now obvious, how does Zailab play a role? As we’ve already mentioned, we’ve been obsessed with this duopoly since 2014, and were one of the earliest developers of cloud-based omnichannel contact centres. We realized early on that technology needs to improve the experience of all stakeholders. An F1 driver with the best car is likely to win the race.

Zailab is the Nexus that connects the agent, customer and business. All with their own wants and all achievable under our platform.

  • Cloud-based so agents can work remotely, but feel close to supervisors
  • Omni-channel so customers can communicate on any platform
  • The ‘Single Waiting Room’ to 1) intelligently route calls for better interaction outcomes, and 2) prioritise interactions according to business value
  • Preview diallers and contact cards for better insight of the customer
  • Advanced supervisor features mean team leaders can listen in and ‘whisper’ to the agent
  • A 360 degree view of all previous interactions for better contect
  • 100% call recordings for better QA
  • Sophisticated reporting features for training and oversight
  • Easy API integrations for automation and plug-ins
  • Automated QA for improved outcomes and support
  • Customizable IVR for specific workflows

Overall, we are a CX business. The primary CX method is communication. And we are experts in communication. The people behind Zailab are real people; avid storytellers and conversationalists.

We believe in the power of rewarding conversations, between businesses and their customers. We use technology to bring people closer together. Just like in Iron Man, his strength comes from the relationship between Tony, his suit, and his AI. We like to think of ourselves as Jarvis, helping our agents save the world.

[1]Straits Research, “Contact Centre Software Market to Reach USD 165 Billion by 2030,” 8 June 2022. [Online]. Available:,f.
[2]Live Agent, “The Current State of the Industry,” October 2022. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 10 October 2022].
[3]Monster, “What is the Ideal Employee Turnover Rate?,” 2022. [Online]. Available:,this%20varies%20drastically%20between%20industries.. [Accessed 10 October 2022].
[4]Centralus , “Call Centre Turnover: A Vicious Circle,” 2022. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 10 October 2022].

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