Call centers are high pressure environments, you have to deal with customers rude or nice, you also have to bear in mind that your calls are being monitored and timed, comes with a lot of stress (physical and emotional).
Call centers have become notorious for having one of the highest employee attrition rates of any industry. According to this post by QTA, attrition rates for the call center industry ranges between 30-45%. Comparing this to the 2015 average employee turnover rate for all industries which was pegged at 16.7%, you can a see why burnout is such a problem in the call center business. But…
What makes call centers stressful?
A variety of factors can contribute to stress levels in a call center, some of the common causes include;
- Ineffective Work Tools
- Excessive Monitoring –
- Over Standardization
- Lack Of Incentives
- Angry Customers
All of these factors lead to increased stress levels, burn out and subsequently a high turnover, this a very serious challenge in the call center business, it is important that a proactive approach is taken to avoid it. Below are 6 tips to help reduce call center agent burnout and turn over.
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#1. OFFER AGENTS CHALLENGING RESPONSIBILITIES
Allocate tasks which are not too simple to achieve or too challenging for the agents to handle. The job responsibilities assigned to the agents should match their competency and interests. Agents should also be allowed to switch their responsibilities from time-to-time to avoid the monotony and boredom that comes from doing the same task day-in-day-out. The tasks should be assigned in such a way that they are interesting to accomplish, you can do this by attaching small perks to completion of such tasks.
#2. LOOSEN UP ON THE SCRIPTS
The use of scripts is an easy and efficient way to ensure standards are maintained and it helps to speed up agents call handling time. But, scripted conversations lack personality and frequently leave customers feeling like statistics and the agents get bored by saying the same thing repeatedly.
It is important that the agents are allowed some degree of freedom to balance the scripts with their individual uniqueness. This would not only reduce burn out, but also enhances the customers’ experience when they interact with agents.
#3. REWARD AND RECOGNIZE AGENTS
Most times rewarding and recognizing employees are not considered necessary due to cost implications (they are being paid for their work aren’t they?). However rewarding and recognizing agents goes a long way in improving engaging and reducing burnout
Creating an effective way to reward and recognize agents can be challenging. While financial rewards are always appreciated, the rewards do not necessarily have to money (Read about: creative ways to reward and recognize employees)
#4. PROVIDE EFFECTIVE WORK TOOLS
Functional work tools are necessary for agents to carry out their tasks efficiently. Ensure that work tools such as computers and telephone headsets are functional and up-to date. Investing in modern call center software would do wonders to the efficiency of agents as they become more productive and better able to assist the customers, this eliminates stress and reduces burn out.
#5. AVOID OVERWORKING AGENTS
Too much exposure to calls is detrimental to an agent’s performance, when agents become overworked they burn out faster. It is very important to avoid overwork as much as possible.
Explore other means of reducing workload by leveraging on technology and automating the processes where possible, this would ensure that work efficiency levels are maintained and the agents are not overworked.
#6. MAKE THE ENVIRONMENT FUN
Making the call center a fun place to work helps improve employee engagement and reduces stress. A simple way to achieve this is to have events once or twice a month. The events can be anything from collective birthday celebrations, to giving the agents TGIF snacks on the last Friday of every month.
Fun in the workplace will put a smile on the face of the agents & their happiness will equally rub off on customers, leading to a more positive and friendly experience.
Do you have more ideas on how to reduce agent burnout? I’d love to hear from you in the comments box.
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