Global contact center operator uses cellular benefits to cut attrition and boost profits.

In an industry known for high turnover, ibex is bucking this trend with a simple solution employees love.

Let's face it, being a customer service rep in a contact center isn't the easiest job in the world. Callers are looking to solve problems and are usually less-than-happy about it. They want easy answers. And they want them now. Retaining employees in this environment can be equally hard with the average turnover rate for contact center operators fluctuating between 15 to 25 percent.

For employees, this can mean struggling to find another job. And for contact centers, this is expensive. Finding, training, and retaining good employees takes time and effort—often $2,000-$3,000 per employee. So, when employees leave after their training is over, it's a one-two punch to the company’s bottom line.

In a tight job market with record high employment, the challenge is just that much more difficult. Wages are going up and people have more job opportunities than ever, especially in the service sector. On the other hand, the longer you can keep employees on board, the higher the return on that investment.

That’s why ibex, a contact center operator with over 20,000 employees in the US and around the globe, brought in T-Mobile for Business to support a new employee benefit—one that, in some locations, has cut attrition rates up to half. 

It's all about the perks.

How does a wireless partner like T-Mobile for Business help a call center operator cut attrition rates? By partnering with companies to offer cellular benefits—namely free or discounted cell phone service—to employees. For many contact center operators, leadership and sales often receive this perk, but rarely is it offered to front-line agents—the people who are, in effect, the face of the company.

ibex gives employees free lines for themselves after 90 days, with the option to add family lines at a discount. Plus, each employee gets $175 towards the purchase of a new phone if they want one. T-Mobile has four smartphones all priced under $175, meaning any ibex employee could get a smartphone and service at no cost to the employee.

Even before the 90-day threshold, new employees can immediately take advantage of ibex's corporate rates, dropping individual line fees from $50 or $60 a month to just $12.50 per two-week pay period. For a family of four, this can save hundreds of dollars a year, especially with the addition of complimentary Netflix and no data caps thanks to them being on the ibex corporate plan. These are the same rates that any company with 100 or more lines could receive with T-Mobile.

"It's a hard job in a tight labor market so we knew we needed something, some additional perk to show our employees that we were serious about keeping them happy," says Paul Inson, ibex's Chief People Officer. "So, when T-Mobile approached us with the idea of offering cellular service to our contact center employees, it was a no-brainer."

Employees love it. One of the big reasons this perk is so appreciated is cell phones and cell service are expensive. In fact, ibex believes this one perk is responsible for keeping more employees happy and in their jobs longer than any other offering except healthcare. And this is on top of a company sponsored program that offers employees hotel discounts and other perks.

"This makes agents feel appreciated, valued, and supported since no one else in the industry is offering this," says Inson. "It's like free shipping—it’s just something that people really, really like."

No one today goes for very long without checking their phones for something, even if it's just the weather. When such an essential service is offered free of charge, people see real value right away.

“It's a really cool, easy thing to market to potential employees. It's practical. It's an easy win and everybody wants it and it helps us cut attrition by over 50 percent in some cases.”

Paul Inson, Chief People Officer, ibex

Dedicated support everyone can appreciate.

For the employees who are on ibex's corporate plan, they also have access to a rep from T-Mobile's Team of Experts. That way, if anything goes wrong or they have questions or need support, they can deal directly with ibex's dedicated account manager—something a customer service professional can appreciate. This helps resolve problems quickly and effortlessly for ibex's agents.

Originally made available to just US-based agents, because of its success, ibex plans to roll the employee benefit out internationally—a simple-yet-smart investment in long-term employee success and satisfaction, as well as organization-wide productivity.

"As well as the program worked here in the US, we're expecting great results overseas where smartphones can be people's lifelines and the main way they interact with the world at large," says Inson.

“We instituted this program because we understand that the best customer service starts with the best agents. With T-Mobile and cellular as a benefit, we are now holding onto those agents longer, lowering costs, and improving customer service all at the same time. It’s a win-win-win.”

Paul Inson, Chief People Officer, ibex

*ibex Holdings is both a customer of and contact center vendor for T-Mobile USA. Results and benefits may vary.

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