Ways to Avoid Call Center Agent Burnout Intensified during a Crisis

The tough times due to COVID 19 can make jobs highly demanding and pressurizing. So is the job of an agent who works for a customer call centre as he is responsible to answer customers who are calling to get their issues solved no matter if the same issue the agent is also facing. The Pandemic situation of COVID 19 has started companies to work remotely and virtually. This makes the tasks tougher which often then results in exhaustion due to overloaded customer calls and ultimately leading to employee burnout.

If we define employee burnout, we mean a situation where employees/agents of a specific enterprise have completely exhausted physical & emotional strength because of continued work pressure. It’s not every time the work pressure but often the lack of support and resources from the upper level with tight deadlines and the thought of job loss can all result in burnout. Constantly being on call with an increased number of panic queries, customers being demanding and rude at the same time and the inability to support and resolve issues with unending deadlines is likely to be stressful.

All these situations if not properly taken care will ultimately drive the employees to leave the company thus increasing call centre attrition rates. To check this complicated crisis does not hamper smoother running of operations and employees are well-taken care off, the HR has to take the below-mentioned essential steps to curb burnouts and attrition rates.

1. Match their skills with their tasks: 

Allocating the right tasks to employees/agents during these tough times is very important. Make sure that no agents are given challenging tasks which they, in the end, aren’t able to handle. The job should match the agent’s skill sets, competency & interest. Remember there is no need for innovation required during such a crisis or thinking that your employees can handle whatever tasks you give them, not making sure whether they are trained will be a foolish idea. Yes exchanging the job responsibilities of agents will be a good plan to avoid monotony and this will indeed break the boredom but prior tools, software, training, time to grasp shall be given to the employee. The tasks should be assigned in a way that the employee finds the provided situations and tasks easier to accomplish and interesting. Also promoting the idea to learn while during varied jobs and recognizing their efforts will help to further motivate and retain them.

2. Ease out the work and the schedule: 

This time will surely get the agents more work calls. considering the situation every customer wants answers and the call ratio will increase over time. If an agent is answering too many calls at a time can, of course, hinder his performance and productivity. Try and divide the calls with other employees who comparatively have less work pressure to avoid overwork. Or if you are already having a shortage of resources, use technology and automate your processes. This will highly make a difference. Automating processes where feasible will ensure that efficiency levels are met and the agents are not overworked under any circumstances.

3. Employee engagement: 

The HR induces a variety of activities while we work during normal days to lighten the work pressure and break the monotony. So why not to implement the same amid crises as well. If the operations don’t change amid crises then why shall the HR invest engaging with the employees? Make the virtual workplace, a fun place to work as well. This will lighten the crisis stress and curb distress among employees. These small initiatives will definitely put a smile on your employees and equally showcase their effect during the customer interaction. If their company takes care of them, they will surely take care of the customers.

4. Give them the authority to make some decisions: 

It is not necessary that you are always connected to your team in a virtual workspace when compared to a regular office workday. Times might come when the agents a re on call and are stuck to seek the manager’s help but unlike when they are working remotely, this will not be the best foot forward. Managers should promote the concept of self-judgement and decision making. Obviously, your employees have been taking calls for a long time now and no solution to give to customers. Managers should encourage employees to use their self-judgement while handling customers and working from home. This will boost the confidence that you show in them and autonomy of an employee to perform at their best will increase over time.

5. Empower Teamwork: 

Collaborative working is the key to crises and is extremely important to consider curbing burnout and attrition. Technologies and tools like conference calls & call transfers to the different departments will likely solve more customer queries. This will not leave the issue solving process to just a single agent but will involve several people and other teams for better customer experience increasing one’s morale. This allows employees to work freely and enhance productivity and performance.

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