How to Avoid Agent Burnout During COVID-19


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Filed under - Industry Insights,

Vincent Van Den Bossche of Wisper shares some advice for avoiding agent burnout in the “new normal”.

Working at a customer contact centre is not an easy job, as one may think – the job requirements are quite hefty for just a single person.

The general expectation is that the representative will be cheerful, put positives over negatives, appearing both happy and eager to serve the client/customer, have a nice conversational banter as well as express empathy.

It is a job that almost always will force one to be cheerful to meet and exceed the expectations set forth for them. Metrics are a large part of how Customer Service Representatives are rewarded with customer satisfaction being at the forefront.

Since March, when the pandemic hit, most companies did everything in their power to transition to remote customer contact centres. It was not easy or pretty…

Hastily put-together technology and platform solutions left many agents – and their customers on the phone – feeling frustrated.

How are your agents doing during this unprecedented, often confusing, sometimes painful time?

The coronavirus has changed work as we knew it for the foreseeable future. Many companies have moved to remote work, including customer contact centre entities. The major key is to tackle the pandemic and take the necessary measures to protect your organization, your employees, and your customers.

Today, many agents are at risk of burnout. This is a brutal reality for our people!

In addition to this, it appears that customer contact centres also have some of the highest turnover rates, ranging between 30 and 45%, more than double the average for all other occupations. And the average call centre agent lifespan is just three years.

What could we do to overcome customer contact centre burnout?

Obviously, we need to do everything possible to empower our people – Autonomy and freedom lead to employee engagement. Allow agents to choose their own shifts if you can. Offer financial incentives for picking up additional shifts or to reward other actions that benefit customers or help the team in other ways.

Priority must be given to stress reduction – Remind your team that taking their breaks, getting their exercise, and staying connected with others are important. Ask them how they are doing and share resources that can be helpful, whether that’s online mental health support. Get creative with additional ways your team can do fun things together. Maybe set up a weekly virtual coffee break or a regular game time or friendly competition.

Increase Management Support – Even from home, and more than ever, management needs to be available. Offer opportunities to talk about difficult situations, provide support during though these times and help them to reduce the effects of stress.

A headshot of Vincent Van Den Bossche

Vincent Van Den Bossche

Express your gratitude – Especially when things are going wrong, people will need to feel your support and gratitude. Not a simple “thank you” but by regularly communicating thankfulness for what they did. This will boost employee satisfaction and customer service and above all reduce burnout risk

Finally, keep building skills with training, practice, and coaching – More than ever agents need reassurance that they can learn and do the skills necessary to succeed. Skills need to be polished. Play your role and be inventive.

For further insights from Wisper and to find out more about their contact centre solutions, visit: www.wisper.io

Published On: 11th Dec 2020 - Last modified: 15th Dec 2020
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