How to handle call center stress?
It’s not hard to see why contact centers are a very stressful work environment – and this doesn’t just affect the agents on the front lines. It’s something that CEOs and business owners must pay attention to, as well, because excessive workplace stress often triggers lower morale, higher attrition, and higher overall costs.
But given the nature of call centers, and the most common call center challenges, how can companies reduce stress and encourage healthier work environments? Here’s what we’ve learned.
Proactively balance agents’ workloads
The American Institute of Stress says that 46 percent of survey recipients cited excessive workload as the main cause of their stress. Although this survey didn’t call center-specific, the same findings are likely true for those in call center positions. The workload is absolutely one of the most common call center challenges. And one of the hardest parts of answering phones all day is that most agents don’t get a break. They go from call to call to call and have to keep going as long as calls are coming in.
One powerful antidote to excess workload is for a business leadership team to structure some formal downtime into agents’ schedules. Making short breaks like this an accepted, and even expected, part of your employees’ day can help get them through even the busiest whirlwind of calls.
But the very best way of all that we’ve found to reduce stress in this area is by properly forecasting call volume. The better your forecasting, the better you can staff up or down according to need. If this is hard for you to do with your own call center, we can help. We regularly supply trained, skilled call center agents to our customers according to their call volumes, seasonal demands, and other needs.
Equip agents with the right training and tools
One of the most prevalent call center challenges that have increased steadily in the past few years is the amount of complex and emotionally charged calls that agents receive. The more that live chat options and self-service customer service have been adopted, the more that phone calls have become the medium for high-stress matters. This has been intentional since it’s a smart use of resources from a business perspective, but it can also further burden agents.
In order to reduce stress for your customer service agents, ample training and access to key tools are crucial. At Conectys, we invest heavily in training our agents so they won’t be caught off guard during a complicated customer call, and so they know the extent of their autonomy. This includes training employees about how to handle irate callers with extensive de-escalation training as well as front-line supervisors and team leads. All of this deeper training empowers them to resolve issues more effectively, and often more quickly.
Lastly, contact centers’ tech stacks often vary. But the technologies you use and train your agents to use can make a big difference in how supported they feel in doing their jobs. If you get complaints from employees about the systems you have in place, it might be time to reconsider your technology. We can help you figure out the best tech for your business, and let you know the systems we use at our own call centers.
Stress is often inevitable in every line of work, but call centers are notorious for their stressful work environment. You’ll be doing yourself, your customers, and your employees a big favor by identifying their biggest sources of stress and taking proactive steps to reduce it.