How to Protect Your Call Center Agents from Burnout
Any job in a call center can wear people down, especially those in high-volume retail, technical or collections departments. It’s no wonder that call center employees have an above-average turnover rate. During the busy holiday season, call center agents can get even more stressed out from the number and type of calls they get.
Burnout, emotional exhaustion, and high turnover rates are part of life in the customer contact center. The average work span of a Customer Service Representative (CSR) is around 3.3 years. That’s not surprising, considering that working at the contact center is acknowledged to be stressful, frustrating, repetitive, and boring. CSRs can be engaged in up to ten hostile encounters per day with customers. These are one-sided, abusive confrontations that the representatives are forbidden to respond to negatively for fear of losing their job.
From a business standpoint, having to replace call center employees is a frustrating and costly venture. Not to mention that it can take months to train new hires and bring them up to full speed. Therefore, employers must do all they can to help call center employees to reduce stress as much as possible. Here are some steps you can take to protect your call center workers from seasonally induced stress.
Provide Flexible Scheduling
Give your call center employees the choice between three shifts coming in and leaving an hour between, so they can either come in later or leave later, depending on other personal commitments. This can help to alleviate much of the stress of family responsibilities during this busy season.
Augment Teams with Temps
Hire seasonal customer service agents to work on a temporary basis during the peak season, to prevent current teams from being overworked and overwhelmed. You can then recruit a percentage of these temps for permanent placement at the end of the season, if you have lost anyone. This can also help to prevent overtime costs.
Have a generous paid time off policy in place and encourage your workers to take time off as needed for seasonal breaks. Make sure everyone uses up remaining PTO by the end of the year. Let workers earn extra time off around the holidays as an incentive for meeting their other work goals.
Have an EAP in Place
Your employee assistance program (EAP) can be a good source of support during the busy season. Educate employees about stress reduction and encourage them to reach out if they feel they need to talk to someone.
Create a Healthy Workplace
Good health habits can contribute to less stress for your call center employees. Provide healthy snacks, beverages, onsite fitness support, and plenty of downtime to encourage better behaviors at work. Educate employees about the importance of good rest, drinking water, and getting exercise in each day.
Most of all, take care of your call center employees by showering them with praise and respect. They are the front line of your company and if they are unhappy, your customers will pick up on this and become unhappy too.