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6 common causes of call center stress and ways to overcome them

BPO and call center companies offer a pretty decent salary for call center agents. ZipRecruiter’s February 2022 report shows that in the US, the average annual salary for a call center agent is $32,625 per year

Although call center agents earn a good living, there is no denying that this type of work can be a demanding and stressful job. In working as an agent, you have to be prepared to deal with difficult situations. 

For one, you cannot avoid speaking with frustrated and enraged callers, mixed with other factors that cause call center stress. 

In this article, we’ll break down the six causes of call center stress that your agents may experience and the proper ways to deal with them. 

Understanding call center stress

Call center stress refers to the outcome of various work-related pressures that call center agents have to manage for their roles. 

In most cases, the level of call center stress that agents endure depends on whether they are handling inbound or outbound calls. 

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Agents making outgoing calls are more prone to various sources of call center stress. These agents are typically given target goals, including converting uninterested leads into customers. 

However, inbound call center agents aren’t much less susceptible. Apart from taking incoming calls, they also encounter irate callers, which can be mentally exhausting. These people are tasked to retain frustrated customers by doing everything in their will to solve the customers’ issues. 

Understanding call center stress
Understanding call center stress

5 common causes of call center stress 

Before dealing with the stress, it’s important to be aware of what causes it first. Here, we have outlined six call center stress that your agents encounter: 

1. Excessive workload 

A typical day on a call center production floor involves high volumes of calls—which, at times, may lead to agents skipping their breaks. Others also may be required to render overtime to cater to overwhelming queues. 

2. Mismanagement 

Call center agents also have to abide by different rules on the production floor, often leading to confusion. It becomes a source of call center stress if your agents are only given so little freedom at work.

3. Unfitting work environment 

You need to provide all the necessary resources your agents need to perform their roles efficiently. Faulty computers, slow internet connection, and uncomfortable chairs will lead to call center stress and discomfort. 

5 common causes of call center stress 
5 common causes of call center stress 

4. Micromanaging 

Excessive monitoring that’s borderline intrusive is another cause of call center stress. Micromanaging, in turn, is more likely to result in depression, reduced job satisfaction, or worse, increased employee turnover

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5. Unclear job description 

An unclear job description causes disorder in the work environment. This means that agents will not have a proper understanding of their roles and responsibilities. 

6. Feeling undervalued

Agents that feel undervalued will also fail to acknowledge the importance of their work. As a result, it will likely lead to demotivation and low self-esteem. 

6 potent ways to beat call center stress

Now, it’s time to beat call center stress. Here are the best ways company leaders and management can ease the stress agents usually experience.

1. Train your agents to manage their time properly 

Your training should include time management exercises to help agents increase their efficiency and deal with deadlines effectively. 

As an employer, you should also be aware of the total amount of time an agent needs to complete a task. This way, you can set realistic metrics and deadlines.

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6 potent ways to beat call center stress

2. Enable agent autonomy

There are different ways you can foster agent autonomy in the company, from making decisions without a manager’s intervention to giving more flexible working arrangements.

For instance, you can give your agents the freedom to choose their work shifts. Understand that there are people who are naturally morning persons and night owls. This way, they can work more productively and efficiently. 

3. Invest in resources

Help your agents perform their tasks smoothly by providing adequate facilities and tools. Invest in ergonomic chairs, high-quality headsets, and up-to-date call center tools to help reduce their daily work pressure. 

a woman typing in a laptop
6 potent ways to beat call center stress

4. Add a little excitement to their work 

Call center agents have repetitive tasks, and they generally encounter the same inquiries and issues over and over. At one point, your agents may find routine work exasperating.

To avoid this situation, you may assign agents special tasks to which they can also share their input and ideas. 

5. Explain job roles clearly 

As simple as it is, your agents will not have a clear understanding of their roles unless you fully explain them. More so, you can set particular key performance indicators (KPI) to measure and evaluate their performance. 

6. Enhance employee engagement 

Help minimize call center stress by encouraging your employees to interact with one another. Strengthen your employee relationships through different activities like team building, team lunch, and office parties. 

Final thoughts on call center stress

Stress at work happens to everyone and in all types of industries. As for your agents, you can reduce call center stress by incorporating a few changes within your organization. Follow the tips we have outlined above to help boost your agents’ morale and well-being. 

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.