I have recently joined a company that is a new industry for me. Can anyone give me information on what would be considered average or normal turnover in a telemarketing company?


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  • Hi - I have heard crazy figures, like 200%, but I think the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) might have what you want, see http://www.bls.gov/opub/ils/pdf/opbils56.pdf for contact info.

     Here is another articles for managing turnover:


     Good luck!

  • I just recently left as the admin for a telemarketing agency and if we kept our attrition rate at 150% we thought we were doing well.  I saw a range of 150-200%.  You no sooner hired one in and 2 left :)


  • Sadly many call centers are "pleased" with turnover rates of 100-150%.  Amazing if you think about all the time, effort, and resources that goes into sourcing, hiring, and training these individuals and to be "happy" if they leave after only 9 months to a year in lieu of the usual 1-2 months. 

    Working with a number of call centers in our consulting practice we have found that one of the largest causes of turnover is employees who are not a proper "fit" for the job.  Not everyone can handle working in a call center. 

    We advise taking a close look at what an "ideal" employee would look like for the job and matching the job to the individual, not trying to force the individual to fit into the job.  Hoping that a new hire will "work out" is not an effective business strategy.

    Taking this approach can dramatically improve retention and give your call center a sustainable competitive advantage over those fighting a constant churn of their workforce.

    Best wishes,

    Chris Young


  • chris, your advice is good and should be considered when evaluating every job and candidate.   what do you think makes someone a good fit for a call center position?
  • Thank you!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Here's a long answer to your short question...

    There isn’t necessarily a single “good fit” that is universal.  Each call center position type is unique.


    There are two "major components" to consider in hiring the "ideal" candidate for a call center position because there are many potential variables that must be captured in the thought process.  

    1. What kind of Task Orientation is required?
    2. What kind of Behaviors, Values, and Personal Attributes are required?


    Regarding Task Orientation –  One must keep in mind… The call center "world" is quite unique in terms of the Task Orientation needs of the job.  There’s an incredible potential for repetition and exposure to people on a face-to-face level is typically almost nil.  It takes a Task Orientation “special mix” to enjoy this type of job and to do it well.  Obviously people that don’t enjoy the Task Orientation of the call center job leave – leading to higher employee turnover.  I think this “Task Orientation” mismatch is the biggest reason there is such high turnover in call centers today.  Most people will go crazy working in a call center for long periods of time because of the Task Orientation needs of the job.


    Every "job" in general has some mix of tasks in the following categories:

    • Routine Tasks - highly predictable and have a low delay tolerance (must be accomplished immediately)
    • Troubleshooting Tasks - highly unpredictable and have a low delay tolerance (must be accomplished immediately)
    • Project Tasks - highly predictable and have a high delay tolerance (do not have to be accomplished immediately)
    • Negotiable Tasks - low predictability and have a high delay tolerance (do not have to be accomplished immediately)

    As a first step – we look to see what the call center job requires in terms of an “ideal mixture of task types” (Routine, Troubleshooting and Project) that provide an individual the most intrinsic motivation, or personal satisfaction.  After all – if you put someone into a role that requires a lot of repetitive actions – and they don’t like that – you will have turnover.  Again…  This is a serious problem.  Most call centers are hiring people that can’t stand the Task Orientation of the job. 


    We suggest a Task Orientation Benchmark to understand the “Task” needs of the job. We need to know what the Task Orientation of the call center job is and then match the candidate to the job.  We suggest profiling candidates and hiring those that closely fit the Task Orientation Benchmark.  Failure to do so will result in higher employee turnover.


    Regarding Behaviors, Values, and Personal Attributes – Some call center positions require more technical orientation – while others may require more interpersonal soft skills or sales.  We need to understand the unique combination of Behaviors, Values, and Personal Attributes of the call center position. 


    By reviewing the “key accountabilities” of the job through a Job Benchmark process – we can understand the unique combination of Behaviors, Values, and Personal Attributes necessary to do the job well.


    Does this work?  Oh yes.  No process is bullet-proof, but yes this approach works incredibly well. It takes time, energy, and resources and most of all – commitment. 


    In Summary...  If your objective is to just reduce call center employee turnover - then just do the Task Orientation Benchmark.  If you want to improve the Customer Experience, then do both benchmarks. 

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