Getting burned out

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I fear I am getting burned out.

What can i do to prevent it?

I tried to discuss it with the call centre manager, but I think he is burning out himself as well. his stock responce is that we have to lower the AHT and then the rest will sort out itself, there is no constructive help to expect from that side.

The work pressure is high, there is no time to talk to colleagues, teammeetings or even to keep up to date with the newest offers. And then it is not nice hearing custumers complain because they have been waiting for more than 15 minutes, i really want to help them but the rules most times don't allow me to do someting constructive. (most problems i can only record and forward to the back office, who almost never reply within the terms we are obliged to tell the custumer), I cannot blame the custumers for thinking that we (the agents) are just playing around.

Sometimes I think maybe best it to hang up every caller after a couple of minutes, that at least would bring the AHT within an acceptable norm. but I now that would be disastrous for custumer satisfaction and call quality (but maybe I am the only one who cares about those things I never hear the call centre manager or other managers talk about them)

I did ask for a talk with the HR manager, but that was refused because I could not be missed in the call centre.

Any suggestions how I can improve my life, wellbeing and job satisfaction?

is your center poorly staffed or badly understaffed ? else, it's kind of very difficult to tackle the real and fundamental issue/s.

At least the call centre is badly understaffed, see the long waiting times for callers. As some kind of efficiency drive the management decided not to train new agents anymore, therefor there is no replenishment of agents that left anymore, leaving more and more work for the remaining agents. Maybe the call centre is poorly staffed as well (but what is the difference between understaffed and poorly staffed?)

The difference between understaffed and poorly staffed is understaffed means you simply do not have enough agents to handle the call volume. It can be as simple as not having enough agents to cover breaks and lunches or to cover if someone calls out.

Poorly staffed basically means your staff is not up to par so to speak, poorly staffed call centers usually have enough agents or close to it but a fraction of them do not pull their weight thus putting more pressure on the ones that do. This will always result in the ones that do pull their weight and then some getting burnt out eventually. There is simply no room in a Call Center for someone that does not pull their weight, no employee wants to work harder because someone else can or wont do their job. When a manager allows this to continue over time it will bleed into other employees morale and performance. An effective Call Center Manager can spot this easily and handle it by getting to the root of why the employee is not up to standard and develop a plan to get them where they need to be.

jms, thanks, you're right on the dots !

littlemisshelpful, i hope you are NOT the center manager.

LittleMissHelpful I manage a small call center and let me tell you AHT matters but compared to Customer Service/Customer Experience it is irrelevant. Keeping morale up in a call center is by far the biggest challenge for a manager, it is nearly impossible. I have a few suggestions for you though.

1. Focus on the customer experience on your own calls, do not worry about what you can not control which is AHT and AWT. If a customer complains empathize with them but move on quickly, I have found the best way to stop complaining is to ask questions, for example if you do tech support ask the customer questions like "How long have you had this problem?" or "What all have you tried to resolve your issue before calling?". I started out on the phones and I found out very early on that it is very difficult for most customers to continue to complain or be rude to you if you kill them with kindness.

2. Understand that you can not control what is coming, I have agents that dread answering the phone every time because they fear every call will be a bad call. You can not control what is on the other end of the phone but you can do your best to help the customer. If you dread every time you pick up the phone it makes for a extremely long day and adds very unnecessary stress.

3. Be positive for your co workers to see, low morale spreads like wild fire in a call center. It is a difficult and often thankless job so if the person next to you complains every time they hang up the phone it wears on you. Negativity breeds negativity and it goes a long ways being positive in what is usually negative field.

4. Do not be so quick to blame your immediate supervisor. More often than not he does not have the authority to fix the staffing problems and has a tough job of trying to keep morale up. I am not defending him, he may be a crappy supervisor but keep it in mind and it may help you deal with your low morale a little.

5. Take pride in your job, nothing and I mean nothing will help you more to excel than taking pride in your job, even the little things like saying please and thank you or sir/maam or being on time everyday and not missing work unless you absolutely have to. Pride yourself in turning the complaining customers into complimenting customers. More times than not it is within your power to change (the customer that is angry because they had to wait) opinion of your company and all you have to do is be positive and empathetic. That is taking pride in your job by challenging yourself every call to send that customer away thinking "WOW!"

6. Leave your personal life and problems at the door. This job is tough enough to have to do without being stressed or mad before you answer the phone, that makes for a disastrous combination. The definition of "Professional" to me at least is someone who performs to the very best of their ability no matter what they are feeling inside.

7. Always conduct your self professionally, even if it does not benefit you at the moment or even at your current job. No great success story ever started off with a bad or negative attitude and neither will yours, this advice applies to any job you ever have. If you practice great attendance, great attitude and positivity it will become second nature and you will excel anywhere you go I promise. There are only 2 types of people in the world positive people and negative people and you get to choose which you want to be but be careful because if you are negative chances are if you have or ever have kids they will follow suit and no one wants that for their child.

Heavens thank, I am not the center manager, although I guess he has an happier life than me.

It is hard to stay positive in the call centre. A recent extreme example:

A client suffers problems because he was first wrongly advised and in his second call the agent hung upon him. I get his third call, I can see in the system that the first call was answered by an (inexperienced, and I guess also not really Italian speaking) colleague in our Romanian call centre. I can find no record of the second call, I cannot really solve the problems resulting from the bad advice (outside my possibilties to solve and cannot offer compensation) the client gets disappointed (to say it nicely) and wants to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor has a quick look into the problems and reminds me that the first call to Romanian call centre was more than 2 days ago (yes I knew that all ready) and that he in line with his position does not want to speak to the client, the client can send an email, then someday (no term given) the client will get a reply.

How to tell that in a nice, friendly, possitive way to the disappointed client? secondly do that within minus 2 minutes, the AHT for this kind of calls is 3 minutes and as you may guess this talk allready lasted much longer.

I don't blame my immediate supervisor and maybe even the local call centre manager does not have the authority to fix the staffing problems.

In emails the company proudly mentions their certified custumer service quality awards, but I sometimes wonder did the awarding body really do a proper investigation before awarding them.

I do not bring my problems to my work, but I have problems in keeping the work problems out of the rest of my life. I have no energy to do nice things after work, or even on days off after work I just slump to house and into bed and that all for less than an a living wage.

littlemisshelpful, you have my deepest sympathy on your working environment and condition.

if the fundamental issue of understaffed is not resolved quickly, jms may have another seven more pointers, you will still feel burnt.

may be, just may be - time to move on.

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