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Top 10 Reasons Most Contact Center Agents Burn Out

Published: February 20, 2012 | By: Matt McConnell

If you are in the call center business, you know a thing or two about turnover.

There are many factors that contribute to turnover, but a major one is agent burnout. It is so common that it has worked itself into the workplace vernacular of many centers both here and abroad. When executives use the term “agent burnout,” they are typically describing the result of poor management and the belief that agents have become complacent with “nothing left to give – no energy, hope of future in the company.”

But that, as they say, is the bad news. The good news is that burnout is avoidable! With the right preventative measures, you can reduce agent burnout and, ultimately, your turnover.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons agents burn out and what you can do about them:

Reason #1: Lack of Motivation – Communicate with your staff. Let them know what is expected of them and that they are an important part of a team so they can be inspired to give their best effort.

Reason #2: Unachievable goals – If the benchmark is too high, it soon becomes impossible to catch up with high targets and the workload piles up.

Reason #3: Not enough support – Team leaders must provide a strong support for agents, empowering them to effectively deal with customers.

Reason #4: Lack of training – This one’s obvious. Agents who lack the knowledge and skills to effectively handle customer inquiries are unable to provide outstanding customer service. When agents lose confidence in their abilities and are unsuccessful, risk of turnover increases.

Reason #5: High-volume calls – Too many calls and not enough agents on the floor can lead to high stress levels and, ultimately, high turnover. Again, support is essential!

Reason #6: No future prospects/rewards – If agents feel that their work is not meaningful or rewarding, it can seem pointless and unsatisfying. If good work goes unnoticed, or if there is no clear career path for agents, they are more likely to leave the company.

Reason #7: Bad working conditions – Is your staff getting enough breaks? Are working conditions satisfactory? Do they feel like an important part of your company?

Reason #8: Uninteresting/undiversified workload – Another common reason for agent burnout is doing the same thing, day after day, hour after hour. It is important that agents have a diverse workday. Using idle time between calls to push training is a good way to keep agents interested while improving their knowledge and skills at the same time.

Reason #9: Poor wages – Hard work and low wages can make anyone feel underappreciated. A good way to deal with this is to provide bonuses for high performance, which also provides some much-needed motivation and is a great way to beat burnout. No budget for bonuses? Recognize high-performing agents in a public way.

Reason #10: Lack of necessary tools/technology to do a good job – Satisfied agents are also the most successful. Invest in the technologies that will make your agents better at what they do. In the end, your agents will be happier – and so will your customers!


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