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Call center agents are under incredible pressure. They work in a noisy environment with high customer expectations. Therefore, they are under a lot of pressure to reach company goals. The constant push to exceed performance metrics adds to this stress. At the same time, managers examine their service constantly! These variables add to call center depression symptoms and burnout for the agents.

What is Burnout at Call Centers?

Call center burnout occurs when call center agents feel chronic stress due to imprecise expectations, a lack of balance between work and life, and other poorly managed conditions at the workplace.

Burnout was officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2019. It is a syndrome with three main characteristics:

  • Feelings of exhaustion,
  • Reduced professional efficacy,
  • Increased mental distance or feelings of negativism toward the job.

Chronic stress and PTSD call center can cause mental health issues like contact center sadness and anxiety and physical symptoms like heart disease.

Call center agent burnout is too familiar. Customer service positions demand a lot of emotional labor, and keeping up with contact centers' fast-paced, results-driven work can be difficult.

Fortunately, managers can collaborate with agents to control burnout at call centers and decrease it as much as possible.

6 Effects of Stress on Call Center Agents

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Call center agents, their performance, and their attitude toward their jobs are all affected by stress.

The negative repercussions of their stress have an adverse influence on the company and its profitability.

There are some consequences of stress on call center agents, which we describe in this section.

1. Poor Health

The immunological, neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems are all affected by stress.

More stress causes more frequent and severe illnesses and longer recovery times, headaches, panic attacks, stomach trouble, and back discomfort.

There is also evidence that 30 to 40 percent of call center agents have eye strain, impaired vision, light sensitivity, headaches, depression symptoms, and other problems.

2. Inefficient Performance

Stress lowers an employee's capacity to do their job effectively. Instead, it redirects the energy away from work-related activities and stress management.

Stressed call center agents are less committed to their business and their position. It causes inefficiency and a loss of professionalism on the agents' part.

All these situations make call center agents less satisfied with their jobs and finally lowers profitability for the business.

3. Conflict at work

When call center agents are stressed, they are more likely to have workplace conflicts with coworkers and managers.

Workplace conflict can lead to more significant employee stress and call center depression symptoms when not managed or handled well.

Increased absenteeism, higher turnover, reduced productivity, decreased performance, and less organizational profitability are outcomes of conflicts.

4. Emotional Exhaustion 

Stressful events diminish the emotional resources required to cope with the current work environment, leaving you exhausted.

Workplace burnout is characterized by emotional or physical tiredness and a loss of personal identity.

5. Absenteeism

Absenteeism is a regular absence from work and is frequently done on purpose and for no good reason.

Absenteeism can be caused by various factors, including burnout, workplace harassment, family problems, sickness, and job hunting. Absenteeism may result in increased costs for employers.

6. Higher Turnover Rate 

Agents under higher stress at work are less satisfied with their workplace and are more likely to leave.

According to one study, contact centers had a 40 percent turnover rate, with more than a third of agents leaving because of stress-related causes.

How to Overcome Burnout in Call Centers?

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Unfair treatment, lack of clarity, lack of communication, and slight time pressure cause call center depression and burnout at work. The followings are the top six common ways to overcome it.

1. Recognize Depression Symptoms in Employees

It takes a sharp eye and a little empathy to see when staff are burning out. There are months before the full blow of burnout when one lacks motivation and is exhausted, which means the quality of their work is reduced.

The most important thing to remember about call center burnout is that it is not the fault of individual employees.

Managers can help their direct subordinates overcome the issues of burnout, but they can also contribute to it.

Burnout is one of the repercussions to be concerned about when employees are mistreated, micromanaged, or given unreasonable targets.

In addition to increasing call center attrition and training expenses, poor working conditions can affect a company's brand.

2. Provide Support

Throughout their shift, call center staff are watched to collect data on conversation time, average handle time, and other customer experience and performance measures.

Tracking the employee experience, that is, breaks, scheduling, time off, and so on, can create a climate in which good employees feel underappreciated.

It is critical, however, to maintain track of daily KPIs. Where is the happy medium?

Micromanagers may have good intentions, but their leadership style is ineffective.

Micromanagement occurs when a manager carefully monitors and controls their employees' work.

Call centers rely so heavily on KPIs, so managers may unintentionally track staff beyond useful ones, creating an environment where employees feel overwhelmed. Nobody enjoys being nitpicked.

Managers can help their workers in a variety of ways. For example, allowing call center agents to take personal days rather than holding them over their heads might improve the working atmosphere.

Similarly, optimizing the labor schedule can provide employees with the downtime they require between shifts.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed, providing opportunities for employees to get constructive feedback rather than criticism makes them feel valued and appreciated. Micromanaging input is nearly the polar opposite of intelligent feedback given with context, assistance, and counsel, and it is presumably this that will produce the results that managers seek.

3. Address Unfair Treatment

Unfortunately, deciding what constitutes unjust treatment is entirely subjective. Whether they have HR intervene in a workplace disagreement or ignore it totally, managers are accountable for keeping the safest, healthiest work environment possible.

It is beneficial for staff satisfaction and productivity. It's a difficult task, but a skilled leader may make a difference.

Empathy as a company goal is a great place to start, but it may be beyond the control of a call center manager.

Don't worry: empathy training can help managers and employees feel understood by honing skills like active listening and emotional intelligence.

4. Clarify Roles

A lack of role clarity is frequently blamed for workplace stress. More leadership satisfaction, improved productivity, and a higher possibility of remaining on equals better role clarity. The cycle is one strategy for resolving a lack of position definition using continual input. Whether it's a daily standup to address short-term goals or regular one-on-ones, consistent feedback and direction can help anxious employees feel centered. Most employees want feedback, even when they are stressed. If regular feedback isn't already part of your call center's culture, give it a shot.

5. Sort out Unmanageable Workloads

If your employees' workload is becoming too much to handle, you might consider reducing it.

While it may seem paradoxical to propose decreasing expectations in a results-driven workplace, we must remember that customer service representatives are people.

At the start of their careers, employees might be balanced out by hiring suitable agents, people with industry expertise and knowledge. These are naturally produced folks and can offer assistance to those suffering.

As previously said, call center software can significantly affect the quality of work. Customers appreciate having options, and modern contact center software that offers new channels like messaging and chat and email and phone allows agents to work more efficiently.

Allowing agents to switch between workstreams can improve the quality of their experience, mainly if boredom is an issue.

Furthermore, current support software add-ons like chatbots, automation, and self-service can reduce rep workload by handling simple questions.

Agents can use analytical tools to self-monitor, so they will not require their boss to breathe down their neck to meet KPIs.

6. Use Better Technologies 

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If call center equipment is old and disconnected from the rest of the company's software, it can be a source of frustration for support agents.

Employees can feel empowered or hindered by their workplace depending on whether their call center software allows them to interact across departments, provides helpful information, and is easy to use.

The call center software solutions that prevent agent collaboration, display irrelevant metrics, or fail to include relevant customer information alongside call data can lead to a frustrating employee experience. It is the customer who suffers the most.

Allow the employee to concentrate on the task at hand, allowing them to give the best possible customer service while avoiding unnecessary stress.

The bottom line is no longer profitable. Customer experience is crucial because it breeds loyalty. Employee experience and customer experience are linked, and the ability to prevent call center rep burnout is critical in today's world of customer communications.

Final Thoughts

Call center agents usually experience a call center depression state and severe and chronic stress. They also have high rates of medical absenteeism and work burnout. This article offers you ways to recognize depression symptoms and overcome call center burnout. Agents can use these measures to feel good about their jobs and continue the call center career path toward a better future. Visit our blog for more expert advice and helpful hints on advancing your customer service career path.

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