How to prevent customer service agent burnout

There are a lot of challenges that contact center managers need to overcome in order to deliver the best possible customer experience to all of the company’s clients. One of the biggest problems that these leaders face: agent burnout. The unfortunate fact is that many contact centers struggle to keep their agents motivated, satisfied and energetic. Far too often, these workers eventually reach a breaking point and either quit or allow their performance to drop to unacceptable levels. When this happens, the contact center is forced to hire and train new employees, losing valuable agent experience, and the workplace becomes less enjoyable for those agents who remain.

Here are four strategies to consider to prevent customer service agent burnout.

1. Hire the right agents
One of the best ways to cut down on agent burnout is to pick the right agents in the first place. Some people are simply not well-suited to this career, and they aren’t likely to thrive in these positions. By choosing candidates who not only have the right qualifications and experience, but also have motivated attitudes and demonstrable determination, contact center leaders can go a long way toward reducing their overall agent burnout rates.

2. Invest in training
Training is invaluable in this capacity for two key reasons.

  • First, training is necessary to prepare agents to effectively tackle customer service challenges, as ICMI contributor Tamara Irminger Underwood recently explained. Without effective training, customer support staff will not have the knowledge or skills they need to meet their benchmarks and satisfy their clients. This will create significant stress and anxiety for agents, causing them to burn out faster.
  • Second, providing training is a great way for a company to demonstrate that it cares about and is invested in its employees. That makes agents feel more appreciated and valued, which in turn will make them less likely to burn out.

3. Provide useful tools
Few would argue that being a customer service agent is an easy job. But there are steps that contact center leaders can take to minimize the difficulty while improving results for everyone involved.

The right tools can play a key role in this capacity. With effective customer service resources at their disposal, agents can become far more efficient and productive. As with training, high-quality contact center tools enable agents to better reach their goals and achieve a higher level of performance, all of which increases job satisfaction.

4. Develop reasonable benchmarks
Finally, it’s important for contact center leaders to set reasonable goals for all of their customer service agents. When agents are presented with borderline impossible benchmarks, and then fall short of reaching their objectives, they inevitably experience a significant hit to their morale. Conversely, reaching or surpassing a benchmark can make agents feel empowered and satisfied with their performance and their jobs.

Of course, it’s also essential for contact center leaders to make sure they are meeting the needs of their customers and the company as a whole, and that means that they can’t afford to set low, easily achievable goals for agents solely to make accomplishing those objectives easy.

Instead, contact center managers should turn to data analytics and other advanced solutions as a means of identifying benchmarks that are both achievable and suitably high. By basing these goals on hard data, contact center managers can reduce the risk of agent burnout without compromising company-wide customer service.

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