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Why do call centres have the worst attrition rates in South Africa?

Call centres have some of the worst attrition rates in the world. These organisations are typically characterised by high work pressure and work overload, which can lead to stress and burnout, absenteeism, performance problems and attrition. Call centres that solve the attrition problem will likely emerge as the most successful.

On average, managers report that it costs ~R20k to recruit, screen and train each new employee. This amounts to over 20% of the average annual salary. In other words, a typical replacement costs of one employee equals more than 2.5 months of their pay! Recruitment and retention should therefore be top priorities and call centres need to get this right.

So why is attrition so high and what should be done about it? Giraffe has worked with numerous call centres and identified the most successful strategies to improve staff retention in call centres. In our latest insights article, we share some of the key learnings.

Download the Giraffe insights paper on seven staff retention strategies for call centres here.

In this article we look at:
  • The different types of call centre in South Africa and their attrition rates.
  • The root causes of attrition in call centres.
  • Tried-and-tested ways that call centres can improve staff retention.
To uncover the causes for attrition and best-suited retention strategies, we have divided the call centre landscape into four groups - defined by the nature of the call centre (outbound or inbound) and the client value they serve (high or low). This matrix is used to identify different reasons for attrition and subsequent strategies to minimise attrition.

Typically, inbound call centres have lower attrition rates than outbound call centres since they are less stressful. Pay and incentives usually vary according to the value of the customer the call centre serves, so organisations that service low value customers typically pay their agents less than call centres that service high-value customers.

This means that outbound call centres (especially sales call centres) that serve low-value clients have the highest attrition rates. In our experience, some as high as 100% per year! This is largely due to the high-pressured nature associated with meeting targets. These positions sometimes offer no basic salary, making this environment one of the toughest work environments in South Africa.

To find out more about the reasons for attrition and what call centres can do about it, download our article on seven ways call centres can reduce attrition here.

About Giraffe

Giraffe is a fully automated digital recruitment solution that enables businesses to recruit medium-skilled staff faster and more affordably than any other recruitment method. Because Giraffe has automated the administratively intense part of the recruitment process – candidate sourcing, screening and contacting – employers can focus on more important tasks interviewing relevant candidates and managing retention.

For more information, contact us here.

Giraffe's press office

Giraffe is a fully-automated digital recruitment solution that enables businesses to hire high volumes of medium-skilled workers faster and more affordably than any other recruitment method.

Read more: call centres, Giraffe