Burnout is a massive issue among your call center agents – whether you’re talking about it or not. According to the APA’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey, of the +1500 workers surveyed, 79% of them said they’d experienced work-related stress within the last month. And, with remote work becoming the norm, employers have recognized that their employees can’t relieve work-related stress on their own while WFH. They need your help.
As many as 74% of call center agents are at risk of burnout. And of those, 30% are at severe risk of burnout. Why? The job is Stressful – with a capital “S.” They’re handling questions, concerns, problems (and whining) nonstop for hours and hours at a time. The job is fast-paced, often underpaid and underappreciated. Not to mention, they’re dealing with angry customers who blame them personally for the issues they’re facing.
And when agents are burned, they leave. Then that sends your retention rates spiraling down and out the revolving door – right behind your agents.
So what can you do to help?
One way is to shift processes and channels to improve both agent and customer satisfaction. For instance, add texting to your call center. When you text customers from your call center, agents have a lower risk of facing abusive interactions and they’re able to handle more issues at once. And that means, when you text customers, they’re getting answers faster, leaving both customers and agents more fulfilled in their interactions.
How to Identify Employee Burnout
It’s critical that managers, like you, spot the signs of burnout early on before it becomes a chronic issue. But, burnout isn’t always easy to identify, especially if you manage a remote team. It can affect an employee’s physical, mental, and emotional state. And often, employees are experiencing symptoms privately.
To identify burnout, you need to know what it looks like. The World Health Organization breaks burnout down into three categories:
- When employees feel energy depletion or exhaustion.
- When employees experience increased mental distance from their job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to their job.
- When employees have reduced professional efficacy.
People also experience physical effects like headaches, fatigue, or changes in appetites and eating habits. So, how can you catch on and address these effects head on?
Ask yourself some of these hard questions:
- Are you noticing employees taking more sick days or appearing tired?
- Are reliable employees showing up late to shifts?
- Do the people on your team seem distracted or bored?
- Are people talking about how little time they have for work or personal life?
- Are employees complaining often in meetings?
- Have any employees started arguing with other employees?
If any of the answers are “yes” to any of these, you may have some burnt out agents on your team. Other indicators of burnout could be drops in performance and increasing errors made. Plus, it’s also good to listen for comments from employees like, “I just haven’t been feeling like myself lately” or “I’m just tired—I’m sure a vacation will take care of it.” Comments like these can be a sign that your employees are worn out and stressed.
But, then what do you do?
Tactics You Can Use to Addressing Burnout
Understand the root causes and be an advocate:
Relationship building with your team is critically important to identify and address burnout. Talk with your agents one on one and as a group to identify what is causing stress in the workplace. Is it a heavy workload? Not enough clarity around roles or expectations? A lack of tools and training? Difficult customer interactions?
Ask questions to address the root causes of your teams’ burnout. And then, fight for your teams’ well being. Create flexible schedules. Protect their time. Reward your employees for hard work. Listen to their concerns and work alongside them to find solutions.
Text customers to make work simpler and less stressful for your employees:
Create options for employees who are experiencing burnout on your team. Perhaps you have a number of agents who have serious phone and email fatigue. They’re sick of getting belittled and berated by customers on the phone. They’re tired of the high call volume that never seems to ease. Move them to a texting team.
Provide text for customers who want a quick and simple way to reach out and help your employees relieve stress at the same time. On a texting team, employees get a break from the constant ringing of phones. They are able to interact with customers in a more casual and flexible form of communication. As a result, you can keep agents in their seats, keep them mentally healthier and happier, and provide more opportunities for interactions and higher satisfaction for customers, too.