“Their youth was gone. They were old already. They were through with it. They had no more illusions, and no more resistance. They were empty and indifferent. They had been robbed of the simple human feeling of happiness…”
– Erich Maria Remarque
Global enterprises frequently offshore contact center operations, lured by benefits like reduced labor costs, 24/7 service capabilities, and multilingual support. While this strategic move allows businesses to concentrate on core functions, the well-being of these agents is paramount.
High stress and burnout rates not only affect retention but can compromise brand interactions. True brand integrity requires an inclusive approach, ensuring all representatives, irrespective of location, feel valued and integral to the organization’s mission.
According to a Cornell University 2020 research study, 87 percent of contact centre agents report high or very high-stress levels. This data doesn’t bode well for companies that rely on contact centres to be the first and only human contact with customers.
Contributors to advisor stress include back-to-back calls, verbal abuse from customers, understaffing, constant performance monitoring, heightened consumer expectations, and the perpetual demands of being a brand ambassador.
The Costs of Contact Centre Agent Burnout
Agent burnout has a significant negative impact on operations and the bottom line. Key consequences include:
- Increased absenteeism and turnover: Burned-out agents take more sick days and are more likely to resign, leading to staffing deficiencies and reduced productivity.
- Declining customer service quality: Exhausted agents struggle to deliver excellent service, making more mistakes, interacting rudely with customers, and demonstrating apathy. This drives customer dissatisfaction and lost sales.
- Heightened costs: The financial impact includes expenses for hiring and onboarding replacement staff, lost productivity from absenteeism and turnover, and incalculable costs from dissatisfied customers who may defect to competitors.
Proactively identifying and mitigating burnout is crucial to avoid these negative repercussions.
The Rise of AI and Analytics To Understand Emotional Intent
AI has become highly efficient at recording voice, video, text and email while providing multiple ways to present contact centre managers with meaningful updates on agent performance while monitoring call volume. The aim is to support the agent during peak periods to avoid the triggers of burnout and fatigue.
Consider a 2023 research study conducted by EvaluAgent, which provides quality assurance and performance improvement solutions for contact centres. The study was conducted among 300 contact centre professionals in Europe and North America. The highlights of the findings include:
- 47 percent of all contact centre employees plan to leave their jobs within 18 months.
- 23 percent of contact centres use AI
- 72 percent of employees are comfortable with AI solutions measuring their performance
Measuring absentee rates, turnover, customer satisfaction scores, and agent engagement can also provide leading indicators to address issues before they escalate.
Automation and AI have made significant changes to customer support, but complex and intricate issues still demand nuance require a human touch.
Recognizing contact centre agents, even across regions, as true vanguards of brand representation is imperative, especially as they often engage with customers during moments of frustration. Their experiences and insights, thus, become invaluable and prioritizing well-being and their feedback is essential.
“We’re hardwired to care about the social and emotional interactions with others. We’re social beings,” said Dr Phoebe Asquith, Lead Psychologist for Wellbeing Solutions and Senior Business Consultant at Sabio Group. But for agents, the common result of caring is exhaustion and loneliness, she said.
Get closer to your contact centre agents. Your customers will remain close too.
ULAP Networks has assisted Fortune 500 companies with our coverage in over 113 countries, specializing in cloud solutions for complex jurisdictions.
We work with leading SaaS platform vendors, including CallCabinet, that provide AI-driven business insights and sophisticated emotional sentiment analysis to help global enterprises connect with their remote operations.
Contact our business consultants to see how you can use advanced features in your global network at email@example.com