How to address burnout in customer service roles?

How to address burnout in customer service roles?

Although every day is a new day for reps working in customer service roles, sometimes it can get challenging when things pile up or frustrated customers call. Escalation happens — and customer service reps find themselves wading through a tough day. Such high-pressure jobs can be demanding and wear down stamina, leading to severe burnout. 

A study report found that 87% of call center workers feel very high-stress levels in the workplace. Disturbed and irregular sleep patterns, feeling anxious continuously, and feeling emotionally drained are frequently found among people working in such frontline roles. 

Burnout does not just impact the health and wellness of the employee, but it passively affects the productivity of the organization, creating tension between coworkers and ultimately leading to a toxic workplace. 

Hence, it's important to identify burnout early and address it effectively.

Burnout signs

A cluster of signs often manifests burnout. Some of these include:

  • Recurring anger on self, customers, coworkers, etc.
  • Excessive stress
  • Fatigue and insomnia ( as a result of coming to work late)
  • Substance abuse
  • Altered behavior pattern
  • Vulnerability to diseases
  • Dread of facing another work day leading to an increased rate of absenteeism
  • Getting easily triggered by minor incidents due to a sudden burst of adrenaline
  • Prolonged exhaustion that doesn't go even with holidays
  • Constantly being anxious about performance
  • Increased mistakes at work
  • Working long hours but still backlogs piling up
  • Deterioration of physical health with visible change in energy level, gut health, posture, etc.

Strategies to manage burnout in customer service roles

While managing burnout completely is not in anyone's control, managers can take various measures to identify early symptoms and intervene on time to reduce the impact.

Offer helpful resources

Organizations should have various support materials and resources to help their employees combat burnout. Offering external training, counseling sessions, and awareness sessions can help employees identify their issues and seek professional help. 

Create a safe environment

Creating psychological safety for the team is the first thing that every manager should look at doing. Allowing employees to open up and talk about their feelings without any negative repercussions can help address burnout symptoms early on.

Offer a mix of projects

Daily monotony and huge workload are some of the common reasons for burnout. Allow your employees to take up various projects that help them break the monotony and step away from the daily grind for a few days. 

Establish feedback mechanism

Make it a habit to have regular one-on-one meetings with your team. This will help to build trust and encourage the team members to open up about any issues. Offer constructive feedback to help the employees overcome any bottlenecks. If you find an employee is overburdened, reduce the workload to help them ease up. Encourage to take vacations if you find an employee hasn't taken off for a long time.

Watch for metrics

Keep a regular tab on the employee worksheet to identify any outliers. If an employee has been unproductive or spending long hours at work while workloads are piling up, it can be a clear sign of burnout. 

Shift channels

One of the most tiring things about customer service roles is one needs to be continuously on the phone engaging in conversation. Phone communication requires you to be attentive all the time, show emotional intelligence, and have strong communication skills. All of these can cause burnout. To prevent burnout, you may consider mixing different channels( phone, chat, email) during the agent's shift. This can reduce burnout, and some reps may not feel so stressed. 

Define work timing

Encourage your employees to stick to work hours and shut down and leave the office after work. Sticking to a work schedule will ensure they're able to switch off the work brain on time. Ensure the email notifications on the phone are turned off, or Slack notifications are muted during off hours ( if possible). 

Implement technology

Leverage technology to make the lives of your employees easy. For example, there are many powerful customer service tools like ticketing software, live chat applications, and software for a knowledge base that can streamline the process and let your customer reps utilize their time more efficiently. 

Set time at the beginning and end of the workday

Set aside dedicated time at the beginning and end of the workday that gives some breathing room to your employees. It helps to decompress the mental state and start or finish the workday with a clear mind. 

It also allows employees to ease and bond with one another.

Key Takeaway

Burnout is real and, if not addressed on time, can lead to serious mental health issues like depression, anxiety, addiction, and suicidal thoughts. It can also impact the workplace negatively with reduced productivity, absenteeism, loss of revenue, dissatisfied customers, etc. So, managers need to watch for burnout symptoms and should be able to offer help in a timely manner. 

Need help taking care of your employees' wellbeing? Contact Manah Wellness today!