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Dorottya Márton
April 01, 2021
#Call Center Life
5 min read

Preventing Agent Burnout

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Call center agent positions can often be demanding, due to unusual working hours, long shifts, monotonous work, and angry customers. The combination of these factors often leads to agent burnout, bringing a lack of morale and productivity. Regular agent burnout can also lead to health-related issues, increasing sick leave, and can lead to high employee turnover rates.

If any part of your operation relies on communication between agents and customers, it is essential to make sure that your employees are stress-free and motivated, so they can provide the best customer support possible.

In short, it is essential to avoid agent burnout. But how? Here is a list of 5 ways you can help reduce agent burnout.

Set realistic goals

The number one priority of most, if not all contact centers is efficiency. However, it is important not to do this to the detriment of your employees’ well-being. When automating and fine-tuning your processes, make sure to keep the capacity of your agents in mind. Set realistic metrics and KPIs. If your operation uses a power dialer, make sure that you set it so your agents can have time for short breaks in-between calls.

Do not overwhelm your agents, challenge them

Make sure to allocate tasks according to your agents’ skills and abilities. Don’t overwhelm but challenge them by setting realistic goals that enable them to have a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, make sure to vary their tasks as much as possible. Doing the same thing over and over again can make anyone feel burned out. Allow your employees to switch tasks with each other.

Listen to your agents

Oftentimes, companies do not allocate the necessary resources for the regular mental health management of their employees. This can easily backfire, as the problem is often not dealt with until managers are suddenly faced with low agent morale and productivity and a high employee turnover. Prevent this by regularly checking in with your agents. The best way to do this is by implementing regular employee wellness surveys. There are a host of HR companies offering wellness-survey templates. Look into what template would be the most suitable for your company, enabling you to better understand your agent’s needs.

Don’t just focus on the metrics

While keeping your contact center’s goals and metrics on track is important, make sure to be able to take situational circumstances into account as well. For example, your agents’ performance might not always be able to meet certain metrics when they are handling an influx of angry or anxious calls. Handling angry calls is an extremely stressful task. Make sure that your agents don’t feel like they are going to lose their job if they don’t always perform according to your set goals of the day.

Encourage time off

Make sure that your agents have valuable time off from their work. A lot of companies do not emphasize the importance of taking time off. If your agents are overworked, their productivity will eventually decrease leading not just to burnout but an unprofitable workforce and high employee turnover. Help your agents disconnect, by encouraging them to turn off their notifications during lunch breaks and past working hours. A lot of employees don’t take their holidays for fear of looking lazy. Nevertheless, encourage your employees to take their vacation time. They will return feeling rested and productive!

Contact center managers and business owners often feel a lot of pressure to enforce the highest levels of productivity within their contact center. However, this aim can often be counterproductive as overworked agents will quickly burn out, leading to low productivity and high turnover rates.  Make sure to set realistic goals and KPIs for your agents, and give them tasks that match their abilities. Listen to their needs, by regularly checking in with them, and, if necessary allow your operations to stray from KPI and metrics targets in certain scenarios. Finally, make sure to encourage your employees to take time off!

Dorottya Márton
Dorottya Marton is a writer, copywriter, and general media enthusiast. Her work intersecting between IT, media, and society, Dorottya's writing at VCC focuses on the social dimensions of technology and the practical applications of top-notch B2B software.