Customer Experience News & Trends

5 signs agents are stressed – and 4 quick solutions

A little stress can make agents more effective. But over-stressed agents are a train wreck waiting to happen.

Too much stress in any contact center will hurt morale and productivity. Agents who work under constant deadline pressure or in the midst of ongoing conflict – two major causes of stress – will not be as effective.

Watch out for these five signs your agents are over-stressed:

  • No relaxing. If breaks or lunches are skipped, or laughter is seldom shared, agents never get to let off steam.
  • Absenteeism. When agents don’t show up, it often means they’re overwhelmed in the building.
  • Decreased productivity. First, little, seemingly insignificant things will fall by the wayside. Then you’ll notice the big picture productivity failures.
  • Increased petty fighting. Conflict rises as stress does.
  • Forgetfulness. With too much going on, it’s hard to give any one thing the attention it deserves.

To help agents manage stress before it affects their work, try these tips from workplace expert Laura Chamberlain:

  • Communicate more. People can manage their workload – and their reactions to it – when they know exactly what’s expected. Regularly share details on company, department and individual goals and accomplishments.
  • Watch your agents. Pay attention to their work habits so you know when they aren’t in their usual stride. When they start to stray from their usual ways, you’ll know to jump in and offer help.
  • Enforce breaks. Even when there’s a lot to do, agents must take breaks, lunch and vacations. The distraction actually makes them more efficient when back on the job.
  • Manage fairly. Hold true to established expectations and consequences, no matter the person. Slackers pay consequences, superstars are rewarded. Seeing that others reap just what they sow reinforces the standards and expectations that are demanded in your contact center.

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