Three Tips to Combat Employee Burnout in the Contact Center

Life in the contact center moves fast. This is inevitable; customers expect answers to their queries as quickly as possible, and it’s your responsibility to provide them. Even so, you need to take employee burnout seriously.

In 2024, nearly half of organizations report prioritizing employee experience. Agent attrition remains a significant challenge for contact centers. On average, it costs $1,400 to onboard new employees; stack this up over a year, and your contact center could be hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands.  

As we settle into 2024, your contact center needs to take action to reduce employee burnout, or bear the brunt of agent attrition. And there are three steps you can take immediately that make this possible:

  • Make scheduling easy – By equipping supervisors with the tools to generate automatic schedules, you make booking time off and personalizing schedules easier than ever.

  • Let agents work flexibly – Allowing your agents to work from home lets them access all the comforts of home, without a drop in service quality.

  • Adopt AI technologies – Support agents for generative-AI powered summarization, transcription, and analysis, to take repetitive tasks off their plates.

Reducing Employee Burnout with Efficient Employee Experience (EX)

When it comes to employee experience, it’s the little things that make all the difference. Those small points of friction that add up to create frustrations and drive employees away from your organization. Smooth out those snags, let your agents get on with answering customer contacts, and you’ll eliminate a significant source of employee burnout.

One major source of stress and frustration is scheduling. As outrageous as it seems, many contact centers still use Excel for their scheduling; making it a highly-manual process for supervisors. This difficulty is passed on to agents; supervisors aren’t likely to approve leave or allow for flexible scheduling if it makes an already complex task even more complicated.

Luckily, there are a couple of solutions to this:

  • A dedicated Workforce Optimization (WFO) solution – Take scheduling out of Excel, and put it into a dedicated WFO solution. Not only would a WFO solution improve security and accessibility, it would be much easier to onboard new supervisors, who no longer have to come to grips with the specific spreadsheet idiosyncrasies of your team.

  • AI-powered scheduling – Putting together weekly schedules shouldn’t be a manual task when AI can automate it in seconds. By leveraging AI-powered scheduling, you can generate accurate schedules at the click of a button, and factor in agent preferences just as easily.

  • Schedule against predictive demand – An AI-backed WFO solution lets you predict contact demand and adjust your schedules accordingly.

Flexible scheduling has a number of benefits:

  • Save time for managers – Free from highly-manual tasks, to focus on providing active support to agents.

  • Let agents be flexible – With scheduling changes no longer a significant blocker, agents are free to adjust their working schedules to their needs, rather than the needs of the supervisor.

  • Flex to meet demand – Prepare for surges with AI-powered predictive demand, scheduling the right number of agents, and adjusting schedules in real time.

Giving your agents basic clarity over working schedules is a simple, but effective, way of combatting employee burnout. And once you’ve given your agents greater control over schedules, you can expand that control to working environments.

Flexible Working’s Effect on Employee Burnout

The benefits of hybrid working are no secret. Both businesses and employees have something to gain from flexible working patterns. Enabling your employees to work flexibly is a key step in combatting employee burnout.

Let’s examine the benefits:

  • Not having to commute into an office can mean hours of time saved, every morning and evening. That means more time to unwind and decompress, more time to sleep, and consequently, a more energized employee with a better attitude. It’s that simple.

  • Fewer commutes means fewer cars on the road, and less emissions in the atmosphere. Working from home makes your business greener.

  • At home, agents have access to their creature comforts. Their own, private space, where they can work without disturbance, or getting drawn into distracting office politics.

  • Working flexibly means more flexible schedules. When agents are no longer dependent on the office to be able to work, they can work outside of office hours. 24/7 customer support is simpler when you don’t have to keep an office open all night.

And the benefits don’t stop there. Businesses benefit in a lot of ways, too:

  • By not limiting your hiring to a single location, you broaden the talent pool. More access to talent means easier recruitment, which means money saved on recruiters and job advertisements.

  • Increased hybrid working means you can safely downsize your office. Which means more money saved on rent, heat, and electricity bills.

  • A cloud solution can be accessed on any internet-enabled device, with increased security made possible by VPNs and multi-factor authentication. You might not even have to provide agents with a laptop if they already have their own.

  • When last-minute scheduling changes take place, your agents aren’t going to be happy. If they can work from home, and don’t have to plan a commute to and from the office at the last minute, that will soften the blow.

Enabling flexible working drives improved employee experience whilst boosting organizational efficiencies. But it’s not the only way to reduce employee burnout. Technology has a role to play here, too.

Avoiding Employee Burnout with Artificial Intelligence

Agents are busy people. When they’re not answering customer contacts, they’re completing highly-manual post-call tasks, such as data entry or follow-up actions. Non-stop work can be a major cause of employee burnout, but there are measures you can take to ease some of the load.

Generative AI has taken the contact center by storm, and one of its most powerful applications is the automation of post call work:

  • These details can then be used to populate post-call forms, and the data inputting into any third-party system of record.

  • This saves hours of time for agents, freed from highly-manual data entry tasks and able to focus on delivering outstanding customer service. And more time spent interacting with customers means more queries resolved, shorter queues, and more satisfied customers.

Equipping your agents with generative AI-powered transcription and summarization tools is a great way to free them from some of the more arduous contact center tasks. With more time to focus on doing what they do best, levels of employee burnout will drop dramatically.

Combatting Employee Burnout with Content Guru

Employee burnout is a major financial burden for your contact center. Improving employee experience and reducing agent attrition will lead to higher quality talent, a more efficient contact center, and cost savings on recruitment and onboarding. It’s time to stop ignoring the issue, and start solving it.

Ready to learn more about what Content Guru can do to improve agent experience and reduce employee burnout? Continue your employee experience journey by downloading our new whitepaper, Brace for Impact: Preparing Your Business for the Generative AI Tidal Wave.