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How can we help our call center agents deal with the emotional strain of the calls they are taking so that they can still handle each one with the appropriate amount of empathy and professionalism? In back to back calls, our agents might speak to a parent who is crying because they have lost their child and then a caller who is irate because they haven’t received a check. By the end of the day our agents are often an emotional wreck. Is there anything we can do to help them handle call center stress?

How can we help our call center agents deal with the emotional strain of the calls they are taking so that they can still handle each one with the appropriate amount of empathy and professionalism? In back to back calls, our agents might speak to a parent who is crying because they have lost their child and then a caller who is irate because they haven’t received a check. By the end of the day our agents are often an emotional wreck. Is there anything we can do to help them handle call center stress?

9/15/2008

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Question
How can we help our call center agents deal with the emotional strain of the calls they are taking so that they can still handle each one with the appropriate amount of empathy and professionalism? In back to back calls, our agents might speak to a parent who is crying because they have lost their child and then a caller who is irate because they haven’t received a check. By the end of the day our agents are often an emotional wreck. Is there anything we can do to help them handle call center stress?

Answer

Call center stress is very common, and the role of a call center agent is undoubtedly a highly stressful one. Call center agents are required to meet stringent productivity and quality standards, handle increasingly high call volumes, and satisfy a multitude of angry or frustrated callers. As if that weren’t pressure enough, they must meet all of these requirements in real time and within the structured confines of the call center, where they are often tightly regulated by scripts, policies and procedures. Agent stress is a significant contributor to poor performance, burnout, low job satisfaction, absenteeism and call center agent attrition.

Call center agents require stress management training to equip them with techniques to defuse the tension of emotional calls and take control of conversations with confidence, proficiency and empathy. Three companies specifically address managing call center stress, each with a unique approach:

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