How to Improve Customer Service by Reducing Employee Stress


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Have your customer service ratings been low lately? The problem obviously lies with your employees, but pinpointing exactly what’s causing them to underperform is a little more complicated. In many cases, the problem might be stress.

Stress is all too common in the workplace. According to the American Institute of Stress, U.S. businesses fork out more than $300 billion every year in order to keep up with absenteeism, medical expenses, employee turnover, and lack of productivity, which are all directly related to stress.

Stress is the cause of many work related problems, engagement being chief among them. It’s difficult to get high customer service ratings if your employees aren’t engaged, and they’re unlikely to be engaged when their stress factors take over their emotional well-being. The good news is you can reduce stress in the workplace.

Provide Healthier Snacks

Food actually has a direct relationship with your emotions. When you eat junk food, it makes you feel sick, sluggish, tired, and slow. In other words, you don’t feel like doing much of anything, particularly putting your energy into customer service. If you want your employees to feel better and have more energy, stop enabling their unhealthy habits with vending machines filled with junk food. Instead, offer healthful foods like fruits, vegetables, granola bars, and reduced-sugar sodas.

Make Work Hours Flexible

Is there wiggle room in your schedule at all? If so, let workers occasionally come in late or leave work early. As long as they meet their quotas and complete assigned tasks efficiently, the actual number value of hours worked should be irrelevant. Sometimes reducing the time spent working makes all the difference in commitment.

Encourage Frequent Breaks

You obviously don’t want your workers taking breaks so often they’re barely getting any work done, but it’s good for them to step away from the phones once in awhile to relax, meditate, talk through a difficult situation, or go for a walk. Each of these breaks can maximize employee performance on multiple levels.

Invite Humor in Interactions

Inviting humor is a great way to lighten the mood around the office. If you see a funny, appropriate video or meme, share it with the entire office. A little laugh can do everyone some good.

In addition, consider encouraging humor in customer service. There is such a thing as professional humor. It’s a more human-like method of communication that helps employees connect with customers on a deeper level. Many executives tend to stray from the use of humor at work to avoid unprofessionalism, but with strict training, that can be avoided.

Improve the Work Environment

Are the curtains always closed? Are the walls painted a dark color? Is there a place for your employees to escape from their desks to relax? Is the cubicle-style desk setup cramping your employee’s style? It might be that your work environment is making it difficult for the employees to enjoy their work, which can translate into shoddy customer service.

Improve the surroundings by providing relaxing smells, lightening up the paint colors, bringing in more light, knocking down separating walls, and improving the layout of the office. Through something as simple as improving the work environment, you can revolutionize customer service within the office.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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