Call Center Burnout - Definition & Causes

Published 2022-11-07

High levels of stress are common among those who work in call centers, and this stress all too frequently results in call center burnout. This high turnover rate is a result of the high demands and expectations placed on call center agents.

Let's learn call agent burnout’s definition and its causes to identify this issue as soon as possible.

What Is Call Center Burnout?

Burnout in call centers happens when workers experience extreme stress that is poorly handled and communicated. They gradually develop apathy towards their jobs.

Employee burnout is a "syndrome regarded as originating from continuous working stress that has not been properly handled," according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). It is distinguished by three distinct results in particular:

  • Decrease efficiency 
  • Feeling tired or lack of energy
  • Feeling negative or cynical

Call centers can face a high turnover rate as a result of improper stress management. Employee retention is only about 3 years, which results in a turnover rate of 30 to 45% annually.

Causes For Call Center Burnout

Causes For Call Center Burnout

Agents are professionals, but they are also people. When they leave the workplace, the tension they've been experiencing at work doesn't immediately go away. It will remain.

According to a Deloitte poll of 1000 US professionals, 77% of them had experienced employee burnout at their current job. What's even more concerning is that more than half of the respondents claim to have gone through it multiple times.

We compiled the most typical causes of call center burnout that you should be aware of.

Angry Customers

Although call center workers are instructed to not take it personally, the pressure to keep placing or receiving calls means they have little opportunity to rest and recover. None of us enjoy being yelled at or verbally assaulted. One of the key factors contributing to contact center stress, weariness, and isolation is this.

>>> Read more: Types Of Angry Customers In A Call Center

Role Ambiguity    

Role ambiguity raises stress levels at work. In a call center, this is frequently brought on by the customer putting pressure on the agent to solve their problem and pressure from the call center managers or supervisors to achieve operational efficiency while tracking agents' metrics and KPIs. Role conflict occurs when a call center agent experiences two (or more) simultaneous sets of pressures where "compliance with one would make compliance with the other."

On the other hand, job ambiguity happens when a call center agent is not provided with the information they need to efficiently carry out their duty. For instance, call center agents may experience burnout because they have no support on how to answer customers' questions. 

Excessive Monitoring 

Although call center agents frequently experience stress from call monitoring procedures, it is a widespread practice. One study claims that the mere fear of surveillance is sufficient to "harm employee well-being."

When cameras are installed in the home to monitor employee performance, monitoring call center agents who work from home can be very intrusive. Some claim that this entails not only ongoing supervision of the employee but also of their families.

The emotional strain of rigid surveillance systems can result in "high anxiety and stress, and low intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction." Human resources must assist the agents whenever and wherever it is possible in order to prevent these situations. 

Lack Of Recognition 

Although they are the faces of your business, agents rarely feel appreciated. They'll begin to feel disengaged with their position if they don't feel empowered. The work could start to feel more like a chore than a calling.

Due to their failure to be acknowledged as frontline employees, many call center agents feel undervalued both inside the organization and by society as a whole. Call center burnout can be brought on by the belief that their efforts are in vain and that their necessary abilities are often disregarded.

Agents at call centers experience increased stress when they are aware of ongoing supervision and micromanagement. As a result, they are incapable of feeling independent. Burnout follows the point at which a person begins to feel more like a resource than a living being.

Poor Treatment 

When an agent feels mistreated, they perform poorly as well. One of the most frequent causes of stress in customer service centers is unfair treatment. We can mention extremely severe regulations here. For instance, little or no paid time off or micromanaged time.

Your agents will feel exploited if they are not even allowed to extend their lunch break or leave the workplace a little earlier. Today, flexibility ought to be a top concern.

Additionally, if your customer service is still powered by outdated technology, you might think about upgrading to a cloud-based software program like StringeeX. Your agents can work from wherever they choose in this manner. They get the impression that their well-being is being treated with concern.

Unsupportive Management 

Your representatives are unquestionably excellent workers who are capable of managing consumer relations on their own. However, management support is also crucial. Only 20% of call center agents speak with their team leader at least once every six months, according to statistics on call center burnout.

Talk to your staff more frequently. It demonstrates that you are fair to them. Make them feel understood by listening to them out. Plan follow-ups for at least every three months. However, it is best to do this each month. Agents must be aware of who they can consult for help.  

Meetings for feedback also reveal how well agents are doing their jobs. Monitoring data from a real-time dashboard or call center statistics can help you identify areas where your agents are succeeding and those where they might use some work.

Employees may grow frustrated and possibly feel incompetent if they don't learn from their mistakes and keep making them. Burnout makes agents 50% less likely to proactively communicate their performance objectives. Nevertheless, they only lack direction.

Excessive Workload 

The number of hours that call center agents work and burnout rates is related. Their position might be particularly demanding because they frequently need to be on call virtually nonstop. Few people even use their paid vacation days.

People do, nevertheless, have boundaries. Even the most ardent enthusiast does not want to labor constantly. The restriction is also physiological because too much screen time impairs our brain's ability to think clearly. When a person works more than 50 hours a week, their productivity drastically decreases, according to the website

Out-of-date Technology  

Multiple office systems, outdated hardware, and ineffective software can irritate call center clients as well as staff members. Employees who experience these difficulties believe they are unable to maximize their production and efficiency, which raises stress levels and causes agent burnout.

The first and foremost tool for a call agent is the effective call center software. It will help your agent manage customer information, record calls, and take notes while calling customers. 

StringeeX Call Center is one of the best choices for businesses of all sizes and industries. We can provide high-quality calls with affordable prices and 24/7 customer support. 

Final Thoughts 

Understanding the symptoms of burnout can help managers respond before the situation gets out of hand, but prevention is much more important than cure.

The likelihood of call center agent burnout is decreased by call centers that put a high priority on customer happiness, stress reduction, and the utilization of cutting-edge call center technologies.

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