Call center agents are prone to experiencing stress because of the nature of their job. In order to help them, managers must know what contributes to their stress. Open Access BPO lists down seven common causes of burnout in the call center.
There’s no denying that call center work is one of the most stressful jobs out there. A call center agent faces a lot of demands every day that can make his job physically and emotionally exhausting. If not acted upon, job burnout can lead to call center agents having lower productivity, poor career satisfaction, or health impairment.
In order to eliminate stressors that trigger agent burnout, call center managers must first be aware of its common causes. Although burnout is an individual experience and may vary in terms of causative factor and extent of effects from one agent to another, the factors that influence its occurrence can be listed down. Here are some of the common causes of agent burnout in a call center.
• Work overload
Increasing job demands can directly lead call center agents to occupational stress. Whether it’s the non-stop influx of calls or the high performance metric targets, work overload involves placing unrealistic time and work output requirements as quality assurance measures on top of the complicated processes that agents have to execute. The strict quotas and rigid schedules can, from time to time, cause agents to feel overworked and exhausted.
• Strict procedures and policies
Aside from strict performance metrics and ambitious quotas, policies and resource management procedures can also lead to agent burnout. Excessive live call monitoring, frequent coaching sessions, and repetitive work scrutiny can increase anxiety and exhaustion among agents. Agents who feel that they are under constant surveillance may assume that they are underperforming or doing something terrible. Unreasonable office policies, such as those concerning attendance, work shifting, and leaves, that are too strict can also add to the stress experienced by agents.
• Poor management
The way agents view the call center management affects the way they see their role in the call center. If managers are domineering, harsh, and too controlling, agents begin to lose their trust in the people who are supposed to fight for their welfare. Ineffective and poor management decisions can make agents feel devalued or trapped in a miserable workplace. All of these can lead to either anxiety or tension between agents and management.
• Ineffective training and work resources
The availability of equipment, office supplies, and other technologies needed in meeting job requirements can influence the confidence of agents with their productivity. Computer systems and programs that crash every now and then can have an impact on agent efficiency. Moreover, agents who are not trained properly will feel underprepared, which can eventually affect their self-esteem. This makes them feel as if they do not meet the call center’s knowledge and skill requirements. The lack of office resources and insufficient training exposure can build up frustration among them.
• Job monotony
Call center work may oftentimes involve routine tasks that do not require any input or creativity from the agents. Rigid telemarketing scripts that do not allow agents to make conversations more fluid can make them feel like robots or powerless since they can’t contribute much to the team. Agents who perform the same duties all throughout the day, five times a week, can grow tired of their jobs because their duties don’t challenge or inspire them to work harder anymore.
• Lack of recognition
Agents who do not get recognized or appreciated despite their hard work and outstanding performance may reach a point where they begin to lose the drive to push further. Because they feel unaccomplished, they may think that the management does not not care if they excel at work or not. They may either have self-doubt or feel frustrated because of lack of recognition.
• Workplace issues
When agents have conflicts with fellow agents or management, it can disrupt the workplace harmony. This contributes to the stress not only of the involved parties, but every member of the team. If the work environment is distracting, overcrowded, or cramped, it becomes unconducive for work. Office politics, gossips, and unfriendly competition can also contribute to an agent’s likelihood of experiencing stress.
These causative factors can contribute to agent burnout either separately or altogether. For managers to reduce call center stress and job burnout among their agents, they must be able to identify if these factors are present in their organization. Diagnosis is key to preventing agent burnout from creating a negative impact on call center productivity and work culture.