Few things in life are completely stress free, particularly when it comes to the work environment. But reducing stress in call centers is key to the health of your employees and the health of your business.
Stress in call centers leads to unhappy employees, which leads to turnover. And we all know that high turnover rates in call centers are expensive, inconvenient and certainly no boon to customer service. Here’s are some tips to stave off the stress:
1. Assess the situation
It’s hard to deal with stress in call centers unless you know how stressed your employees actually are. Assess the situation by talking to agents, walking the floor and conducting periodic surveys. You’ll have a better handle on how employees are feeling, and they’ll appreciate that you cared enough to find out.
2. Provide training and support
Your agents need the tools and knowledge to properly manage stressful situations, whether we’re talking about an irate customer, a long work day or technical issues. Training and support can come in many forms, whether it’s a formal training program from an outside stress-management specialist or regular team meanings to discuss stressful situations that arise and how to address them.
3. Give them a break
Sometimes just a five minute walk around the building or a coffee break is all it takes for an employee to de-stress and refresh. Some employers are stingy with breaks to improve efficiency without realizing that they’re contributing to stress in call centers – which can cause inefficiency. Offer a quick break from the desk every couple hours.
4. Build in rewards
Stress in call centers is often exacerbated by low pay rates. Employees wonder, “Why am I dealing with all this stress for $10 an hour?” Even if you can’t offer raises, reward valuable employees with incentives such as gift cards, extra vacation time, a free lunch or small bonuses. The small amount of money you invest will pay off in increased work satisfaction, decreased stress and better customer service.
5. Plan fun activities
Go the extra mile from time to time by planning something fun for your call center employees. Maybe it’s an after-shift pizza party or a weekend paintball tournament. Small gestures go a long way toward reducing stress in call centers.
6. Set clear expectations
Too many call center leaders fail to set clear expectations for their employees. This leads to stress in call centers, particularly when employees are disciplined for violating policies that have never been discussed or failing to meet unnamed benchmarks. Make sure to set clear expectations for call center employees from day one.
7. Address technology issues
What’s more frustrating than technology that doesn’t work as it’s supposed to? Add the frustration of working in a tough environment, and that’s a breeding ground for stress in call centers. Encourage employees to report any technical issues or difficulties they’re experience, and take steps to improve their experience.
8. Create a Pleasant Workspace
Environment has a big impact on attitude. Cramped spaces, uncomfortable seats and ugly decor has an impact on stress in call centers, believe it or not. Maybe a full renovation is not in the budget, but do what you can to provide employees with a comfortable workspace that feels a little less like corporate drudgery and more like home. It could be as simple as changing the paint color and bringing in a few plants.