Shaunna Wilson at Business Systems looks at what you can do to fix the real challenge of agent burnout.
Poor mental health is costing contact centres almost £1 billion each year.
Agent burnout and motivation is an ongoing concern, and something which is repeatedly being mentioned in conversations I am having with clients. If you’re struggling with agent burnout, here are my top 3 pointers to help overcome this.
1. Speak to Your Agents
I hosted our first Calabrio Community Forum of 2022 a few months back. Not surprisingly, hybrid working was a hot topic among my peers.
According to research, hybrid work arrangements make people less likely to quit. Surveys have shown that workers prefer hybrid work, facilitating benefits such as a better work-life balance and less frequent commuting.
With the media hype surrounding this, it’s easy to assume everyone is onboard with this way of working. But that’s not always the case.
So, one of the simplest and greatest tips I can pass on when it comes to this is – ASK your agents what works for them. You might find some prefer working from the office, while others prefer a hybrid approach. Some may even prefer a fully remote approach.
My key message here is – speak to your agents and welcome their thoughts.
2. Switch the Routine Up
We can all experience on-the-job boredom, from time to time, when tasks become repetitive or routine.
A day in the life of a contact centre agent is often filled with repetitive or routine day jobs. Handling back-to-back customer complaints or updating CRM records after each call or interaction can take its toll. Particularly on your high performers, who you will want to try and retain.
Consider the following to keep your agents engaged:
Handling different types of interactions can be a refreshing change of pace. If one of your agents is burnt out from handling the customer complaints department give them a break! Switch them over to the sales department, where they can learn new skills and break up the monotony of the day.
It’s a good idea to cross-train agents on multiple channels. If one of your agents needs a break from the influx of calls, give them a break by letting them handle email communications for a few weeks. Small gestures like these can be just the kind of break that refreshes your agent’s enthusiasm for their job.
Throw in a bit of fun while your agents are hard at work with an incentive program. Identify the behaviours that most impact your bottom line and find a way to reward your top performers and motivate lower ones. Make sure you match the reward to the agent. An employee who loves gadgets might love an Amazon voucher, while another employee might enjoy a gift certificate for a nice restaurant.
3. Offer Skills and Opportunity Growth
Once agents feel comfortable in their jobs, they may fall prey to boredom.
So, this one is simple – identify advancement opportunities, however big or small, and promote internally! Recognise your high-performing agents through financial rewards or career or responsibility advancement. Without this, agent attrition will be high, and performance will also suffer.
For many contact centres, small changes in the work environment can do a lot to reduce agent stress and increase employee motivation.
Invest in your employees. Provide them with the tools they need and avoid them falling prey to agent burnout. The rest will follow.