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Disengagement and unhappiness among staff at call centres is costing the UK economy £2.3 billion a year, according to new research.

Staff turnover alone was estimated to cost a call centre just over £50,000 a year, with absenteeism adding an extra £65,000 to the total. Lower productivity and efficiency both exceeded the £100,000 mark, at £109,000 and £153,000, respectively.

Combined, workforce engagement specialist, EvaluAgent, calculated the average cost of disengagement and unhappiness to be £379,294 a year. And with around 6,200 call centres in the UK, the total cost to the UK economy hits £2.3bn.

The company said that only a small number of companies have a genuinely customer-centric culture at their core, but now as more traditional means of differentiation have started to deteriorate in effectiveness, every business has to pay close attention to the customer experience in order to secure a genuine competitive advantage amongst consumers.

The challenge many businesses and their call centres face is that a great customer experience is almost impossible to deliver without engaged and motivated employees, who have the best interests of the customer and the brand at heart.

Jaime Scott, managing director of EvaluAgent, said: "A major challenge faced by many is delivering a great experience to customers that are more demanding and vocal than ever. As the call centre continues to play an increasingly important role in the customer experience, customer service leaders need to invest not only in customer experience technology, but technology that engages, motivates and empowers the humans behind the technology."