Customer Experience News & Trends

Why contact center reps are flaming out

Burn out isn’t what it used to be — and contact center leaders need to prepare staff to avoid or get over the newest challenges they face. Here’s what to watch for and how to help.

Turns out, burnout doesn’t just come in the form of a rep who busts her hump and works tirelessly until she can’t take it anymore. There are at least three types of burnout — listed below — seen in contact center employees, according to new research published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. And for each type of burnout, there are different coping methods, researchers said.

Service can go south quickly

Burnout is a detriment to any contact center. When reps reach the end of their rope, they’ll likely take on a poor attitude that affects service levels and customer experiences.

Here’s what will surface in your center, how people tend to deal with it — and what leaders can do to help staffers overcome it.

  • Frenetic Burnout is the most common version — the kind we’re all familiar with. Reps have too much on their plates, feeling pressured by too much work, too many obligations and a demanding personal life. They fight back by adopting a negative tone — “Everyone wants too much from me” — and vent to anyone who listens (even customers). To avoid: Meet with reps regularly to review their workload. Find out what burdens them most and discuss how to manage everything.
  • Under-challenged Burnout is on the other end of the spectrum. The reps aren’t getting much satisfaction from their work so they mentally distance themselves from their work, becoming disengaged employees. To avoid: Watch for employees who do little more than go through the motions of their jobs. Offer them more challenging assignments — perhaps larger responsibilities such as heading up a project team, leading training or becoming a customer advocate.
  • Worn-out Burnout is prominent in employees who struggle with the stress of their day-to-day work. Eventually, they may choose to neglect their work because of the stress they’re feeling to do it all. To avoid: Reps who struggle to handle the pressure of their jobs often need additional training to be more efficient.

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