Customer Service Insight: How We Combat Call Center Burnout

Oct 16, 2015

Bright Explosion Stress Customer Service
Call center agents have one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. Sure, they aren’t the President of the United States or a general in the army, yet handling customer issues can really take its toll on a person physically and psychologically.

Why is the job so stressful? If you boil it down to its essence, an agent’s job is to listen as customers complain and then use their problem solving skills to figure out how to best help those customers. And it’s not just one problem, but rather many problems back-to-back for an agent’s entire shift. Didn’t you get exhausted just reading that paragraph?

Call centers have a high agent turnover rate because the position, under certain circumstances, sets the stage for burnout. The greatest contributors to service agent burnout include:

  • Bad Management
  • Little or No Proper Training
  • Lack of Tools and Resources
  • Not Enough Recognition
  • Tedious Work

Even the best, most employee friendly call centers are going to have higher turnover rates than other businesses. Yet, there are ways you can help your service agents put a damper on their stress levels. Here’s how we combat some of the biggest stressors of our call center agents.

Bad Management
Bad management creates an ickiness in a call center that spreads like the plague. No one feels safe or supported. When employees don’t feel comfortable reaching out to management, they will allow their issues to fester.

Our solution: There is a lot of love and empathy for our call center agents from our entire company because every employee has at least spent time with our agents while they take calls. Many of our managers have been call agents themselves. We also keep our agents informed on changes and issues so they are in the loop. An understanding of the position plus transparency makes our management top notch.

Little or No Proper Training
A whopping 42 percent of service agents aren’t properly trained or equipped to resolve customer issues with expedience or effectiveness. When employees aren’t properly trained, they cannot resolve your customers’ issues. And it’s just plain stressful not being set up for success.

Our solution: We pride ourselves on providing thorough training to our call center agents, who spend a whole 2 weeks learning the ins and outs before they go live on our phones. In addition, their calls are monitored and graded so they can learn where to improve and are continually educated so they can optimally serve our customers.

Lack of Tools or Resources
When you don’t have the right tools for the job, customer issues simply can’t be resolved. A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor when their issues are service related versus price or product related.

Our solution: PATLive agents are equipped with our call software, which is loaded with all their scripts and helps to keep agents up to speed on their callers. If they feel like they need more functionality, we encourage them to speak up. We are all about tools that make us more efficient for our customers.

Not Enough Recognition
It’s easy to to be apathetic about your job when all the time and energy you put into it isn’t recognized. We all want to get a pat on the back occasionally. Apathy leads to poor customer care. Poor customer care leads to no customers.

Our solution: It is a part of the PATLive culture to recognize great achievements. Our call center agents are the ones managing our customers’ happiness, so it’s important to show our appreciation. We recognize an agent monthly for excellent service. We celebrate Customer Service Week with a bunch of fun events. We do outings and drawings for fun items when we hit big goals. Showing our appreciation keeps our agents invested and interested.

Tedious Work
Let’s be honest: all work can be tedious at times. However, a call center agent can easily get burned out by reading the same exact words from the same exact script all day long.

Our solution: We do several things to liven up our agents’ shifts. We bring in lunch or other meals for them. We encourage them to take breaks often and stock our break room with plenty of fresh fruit so they can whip up a smoothie. We don’t discourage use of social media. We don’t discourage visiting a friend. But most importantly, we don’t make our agents strictly stick to their scripts. They are allowed to handle our customers with autonomy, and management only steps in when absolutely necessary. Tedium, be gone!

Your turn! What do you do to keep your customer service reps from burning out? Tell us in the comments!

Author:

Stephanie Jones

Stephanie Jones is a content writer and the social media manager for PATLive. She works from her cave, er, her home in Fayetteville, Ark., with her trusty dog and curmudgeonly cat by her side.

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