Published: October 07, 2020 | Comments
It’s no secret that customer support employees have demanding and often stressful jobs. This was true before our current crisis, but the heightened expectations surrounding these roles has exacerbated agent burnout.
Burnout is more than just exhaustion; it’s a syndrome that results from chronic stress at work. In contact centers, those stressors can include increases in workload, difficult customers, and even outdated technologies. It’s important to address these issues because research shows that when we reach burnout levels, we can experience insomnia, depression, and other health risks. From an organizational perspective, burnout can mean increased absenteeism, conflicts with teammates and customers, and/or financial consequences.
In other words, supporting your contact center employees has never been more important. Organizations have a range of options available to them. Here, we explore just a few of the many avenues available.
Implement a recognition program
Great work deserves great recognition. Industry research has found that 78% of employees work harder when their efforts are recognized. To accurately recognize employees for their good work and high level of customer service, managers can turn to technology solutions that use analytics to track successful interactions. The best agents are not only recognized by the technology, but help to train the technology for future interactions.
Avoid overworking your agents
From strategic scheduling to reminding employees to take breaks and exercise, one of the best ways to help agents avoid burnout is to avoid overworking them. Technology can play a key role in this effort, too. As one example, many organizations have already begun implementing conversational artificial intelligence (AI) within their customer experience workflows. Often called virtual assistants, these tools engage customers using conversational strategies to respond in context, acknowledge frustration, and provide customers with the answers they need quickly. When appropriate, virtual assistants recognize when it’s time to escalate the call to one of your live agents, who can handle more complex interactions personally. When your agents are freed from the more repetitive, mundane calls, they have more time, space, and energy to focus on creating meaningful interactions and delivering an exceptional customer experience.
Update technology to give employees more of what they need
Not only do legacy technologies carry significant costs in terms of maintenance, upgrades, training, and extra work, they can also hamper employees’ productivity and satisfaction with work. For example, if agents are asked a question they don’t know the answer to, they often are forced to put a customer on hold and seek out a manager to get the information they need. This can create a frustrating situation for both the agent and customer on the line.
On the other hand, AI-powered, employee-facing solutions can play a significant role in helping agents improve productivity and alleviate stress. Enabling engines and automation tools can improve call routing and provide agents with visibility across all channels, ultimately driving call handling efficiency and quality and optimizing your workforce.
Another AI-powered solution to consider? Voice biometrics, where a customer’s voiceprint becomes their password. This technology not only creates a better customer experience; it can also reduce the potential for fraud, all while helping employees authenticate callers’ identities faster and more securely. By allowing voice to be the authentication factor, it removes the need for agents to verify identity – taking one more task off their plate so they can focus on higher quality interactions.
By giving employees easy access to the information they need – real-time insights, visibility into active conversations, and proactive recommendations – employees are empowered and more confident as their work life becomes more efficient.