The scourge of good, solid experience in the workplace and job market in general is attrition, and the call centre industry is no exception when it comes to this. Walk into any corporate call centre setup and the agents gracing monthly-target notices in cafeterias are the same ones making a move to the neighbouring company while the coffee’s still hot in the pot; and for what you ask…better working shifts, perhaps; better hourly-rates –you bet!

Quality consultants are hotly contested all the time, and this is partly the reason why end-of-month customer satisfaction stats show spikes one month and dips the in next one. It boils down to inconsistent service, where in one instance, a bright front-line seasoned staff member might enthral and exceed a client’s expectations with their assertive and pleasant manners, and when this same caller rings again months later the unanticipated result is that of alienation because an agent of lesser quality handles the call.

On the other hand you have learners, eager to put down their roots and stick it out with their prospective permanent employer. Since the inception of accredited learnerships in keeping with SETA standards, such enthusiastic entrants to the job-space come ready with an instilled professional etiquette, high-bill of manners and motivation. Most of them have suffered the hardships of joblessness and are resolute in making their stay a lasting one and their impact felt – they’re not rejoining the unemployment ranks!

Findings from the collaboration of relevant SETAs and host organisations show that amongst learnership benefits is the parting of industry good-practices to their applicants, from good communication and people skills, excellent product knowledge coupled with the ability to solve problems as they arise. It needs to be mentioned again that these pupils are prone to out-performing seasoned employees due to their insatiable hunger and self-motivation, plus the bonus of never having acquired bad-habits from a previous working experience (as is often the case with experienced agents).

Thus, upon entering the workplace, they are sharp from having undergone intensive screening and countless assessments. On average it will take a learner a month’s conventional on-the-job training and orientation to come up to speed and start pursuing targeted productivity levels – this runs contrary to the misperception that learners place the company’s reputation and customer satisfaction at stake.

Of utmost importance to a learner is a credible résumé: it should show their healthy level of commitment; so job-hopping in the early stages of their tenure they feel would count against them in the short and midterm – they are after all building a career path with as high an ambition as a lawyer or any other professional harbours; they’re prepared to work at a fraction of their comparative worth in light of the entry-level market worth – and no better hourly-rate or shift from a generous neighbour will deter them from their goal. Give them enough time and they too will have amassed enough confidence, call-handling finesse and call-control skills to rank amongst the most experienced lot on the floor…for a fraction the cost.