How to Recognize Call Center Stress – And What to Do About It

Here are some of the signs that a customer service agent is already stressed out from his or her job and what to do about it.

Many businesses today recognize the value of having a customer service department capable of responding to the needs, enquiries and complaints of each customer on a 24/7 basis. A call center agent plays a critical role in this department. The agent acts as a point of contact and may be responsible for online reservations, technical support, facilitating the delivery of an ordered product, or providing directory assistance.

Depending on the volume of phone calls received, some businesses require a large number of employees to handle the high volume. Their primary responsibility is to take calls and resolve customer issues before moving on to the next customer in line. At times, a call center agent may be unable to catch his or her breath, particularly during peak hours. On a particularly busy day, a customer service agent may handle over 100 phone calls, depending on the length of each call and the nature of their assigned work.

Depending on the type of work they perform for their respective companies, a Customer Service agent (CSR) may be required to perform multi-tasking tasks such as data entry on specialized software installed on their computers. However, despite computer automation, it places a great deal of strain and, eventually, stress on the agent as they perform this routine on a daily basis. It’s not easy to take calls from angry and demanding customers while also being a problem solver.

The following are signs that a customer service agent is already stressed out from his or her job:

  • Withdrawal from society
  • For extended periods of time, a decline in quality assurance
  • Absences and/or tardiness on a regular basis
  • Remarks critical of the account and nature of the work
  • Complaints about management are frequent and inconsistent

While call center agents’ work lives may not be ideal, this varies by company, there is tracking software and metrics in place to analyze all calls, such as how long it takes to resolve a particular issue and how long the customer should wait. That job can be extremely taxing, and it has long been established in the call center industry that it is a stressful environment that must be addressed immediately, as training a call center agent can be costly, and all efforts must be directed toward retaining a workforce.

Strategies for Coping with Stress

There are still some strategies you can use to keep your call center agents on top of the stressful situations that arise on a daily basis. Several suggestions for accomplishing this include the following:

  • Determine their motivations and how to boost their morale
  • Recognize and reward employees in a variety of ways
  • Enhancing agent satisfaction with their jobs
  • Create Programs for Employee Development
  • Create advancement opportunities
  • Enhancing the usability and aesthetics of their workstations

Even if sophisticated automated systems are available, there will never be a substitute for human interaction in customer service. Superior service is not only directed at your customers, but also at your call center agents, who act as the company’s front liner. As a result, having an open-door policy and free-flowing communication between the agent and management is critical in order to find solutions for dealing with stress in the call center environment.

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