What Is Call Centre Agent Burnout and What Are the Signs?


Dr Phoebe Asquith at Sabio explains what is meant by the term employee burnout and outlines the signs an agent is facing burnout.

What Is Call Centre Agent Burnout? What Are the Signs?

Call centre agent burnout, or burnout in general, is caused by chronic stress. And it’s a gradual process and it’s something that’s a real risk factor for call centre agents at the moment.

Signs of Burnout

So some of the risk factors are excessive emotional labour, or repetitive emotional labour, a lack of breaks between calls, or the increased complexity of calls that we’re seeing at the moment that agents have to deal with.

And some stress like that, that type of stress can be fine, can be good, and can help people to engage with their roles.

But if you’re experiencing that type of stress in a repeated manner, and without any kind of let-up, it can be really damaging.

So the signs that we see when you’re moving toward burnout, so at these earliest stages where you’re starting to feel stressed, or when you start to feel emotionally drained, you might start to feel underappreciated, you might find it difficult to sleep, or you feel kind of lonely at work, or detached from work.

And unless these are addressed early and recognized early, this can spiral towards burnout. And what burnout looks like, so like I said, it’s that chronic stress.

And the three main symptoms of burnout are mental and physical exhaustion. So you might start to feel ill, you just have a really low level of energy.

Then the second one is feeling hopeless. So you start to feel like, I can’t do my job, and I don’t know what to do about it, and I don’t think my organization knows how to support me either. I don’t know how to get out of this cycle. I just feel really tired and hopeless. I don’t know what to do about it.

And the third symptom of burnout is when you start to detach from your role. So because you’re feeling tired, because you’re feeling hopeless, I don’t know what to do.

You start to kind of use a protective measure to step away from those triggers, from that job, because that’s the only kind of way you can protect yourself from these symptoms.

So it means that you’re going to detach from the role itself, as well as all of those social connections or social support that you might see at work.

Dr. Phoebe Asquith
Dr Phoebe Asquith

And this can increase absence and can lead to lots of people actually leaving their jobs because they just find it too difficult to cope.

So if you can recognize the signs early, there are things we can do about it, and it’s mainly just understanding human cognition and the impact that work can have on the way that we think, and the way that we’re responding to the demands that we see day to day.

For more information on employee wellbeing, read Sabio’s eBook: Placing Advisor Wellbeing at the Top of the Contact Centre Agenda

If you are looking for more great video insights from the experts, check out these videos next:

Author: Phoebe Asquith
Reviewed by: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 31st Jan 2023 - Last modified: 20th Nov 2023
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