Annual Agent Turnover | Metric of the Month
Each month, I highlight one Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for service and support. I define the KPI, provide recent benchmarking data for the metric, and discuss key correlations and cause-and-effect relationships for the metric. The purpose of the column is to familiarize you with the KPIs that really matter to your organization and to provide you with actionable insight on how to leverage these KPIs to improve your performance!
This month, I examine annual agent turnover, which is the percentage of all agents that leave a support organization over the course of a year. Let’s say, for example, that the average agent headcount for your service desk is 15 and that 5 agents leave and must to be replaced during the year. The annual agent turnover would therefore be 5 ÷ 15 = 33.3%. The metric is equally applicable to the service desk and desktop support, but the examples and illustrations I use in this month’s article are specific to the service desk.
Some organizations make a distinction between good turnover and bad turnover. Bad turnover is when an agent leaves the company altogether because of performance issues or to pursue other job opportunities. So-called good turnover, by contrast, is when an agent who is otherwise performing well is moved or promoted to a non-customer facing position in the service desk or accepts another position in the company that is outside of the service desk. Both types of turnover are included in the calculation of annual agent turnover because both types of turnover create a vacancy that must to be filled.
Why it’s Important
Agent turnover can be detrimental to a service desk because it typically results in a seasoned agent being replaced by a less experienced agent. When there is turnover, the knowledge and experience of the agent leaving the service desk walks out the door with them. For those who have worked in a service desk, you know how painful this can be! Industry estimates place the cost of replacing an agent at more than $12,000 in North America. This includes the cost of identifying, screening, recruiting, and training a new agent, as well as the indirect cost of lower productivity that results when a new agent encounters the learning curve of a new job.