10 Reasons Behind Call Center Agent Burnout


Burnout is an individual’s response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors within the workplace. And a Call Center’s job is known to be one of the most demanding and stressful job out there. Call center agents are prone to experience burnout and stress due to the nature of their job and this leads to increase in call center attrition.

How Burnout Affects Call Center Employees

Below are few effects of burnout in the workplace:

  • Job withdrawal: Intention to leave the job, Absenteeism, Turnover
  • Lower productivity
  • Ineffectiveness
  • Decreased job satisfaction
  • Reduced commitment to the job and/or organization
  • Greater personal conflict with colleagues
  • Disrupts coworkers’ job tasks

Working for too many hours in a high-demand environment is not the only reason behind a burnout. There are many complex causes that lead to it and affect the agent’s performance to a considerable degree, thereby impeding the quality of customer service.

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Listed below are 10 reasons that lead to stress and burnout within the call center agents:

1. Increase in Workload

Work overload often make call center agents exhausted and stressed. Handling high volumes of customer calls, dealing with customers of different temperaments, pressure to meet the targets, high performance metrics and rigid call schedules are certain demands of this job profile which leave the agents in a state of emotional exhaustion and burnout.

2. Stringent Call Procedures and Policies

Apart from strict targets and high performance metrics, tough policies and rigorous training and coaching sessions can also lead to agent burnout. Getting constantly scrutinized via call monitoring make them feel frustrated and stressed. Always being under close observation and supervision might make them nervous and assume that they are under performing.

3. Poor Management

Managers are sometimes too intimidating and dominating in nature, which leads to agents feeling overpowered and devalued. Agents lose their trust in people and develop a feeling of hostility if the management treats them in a very harsh and authoritative manner. This can increase the tension and jitters between the agents and their managers, making the former feel more stressed and trapped.

4. Lack of Proper Call Center Training

Agents will not be able to provide superior customer service if they lack the skills and knowledge required to handle customer calls effectively. Call centers are equipped with various tools and technologies which increase agent productivity. However, if not trained properly to make effective utilization of these tools, they might lag behind. And, when they are not successful in doing so, they lose confidence in their abilities and risk of turnover increases drastically.

5. Repetitive and Monotonous Work

80% of the time, agents are on phone talking to customers. Doing the same routine task everyday and adhering to rigid telemarketing scripts, make them feel like robots – and doesn’t give them the opportunity of being creative and innovative. Doing the same thing day after day can prove to be really monotonous for them and hence it is important for them to have a diverse workday. Taking good agent engagement initiatives and using their idle time between calls to conduct training is a good way to keep them interested, while improving their knowledge and skills at the same time.

6. Lack of Rewards and Recognition

When the agents are not recognized and admired for their hard work and good performance, they feel unsatisfying and get demotivated. Not receiving effective feedback from their management tends to reduce their morale and drive to work harder. If they see no clear career path, they are more likely to get burnt out and ultimately leave the company.

7. Workplace Hurdles

Any sort of conflicts with the team members or the managers can damage and spoil the environment of the workplace. This makes every agent in the team to get stressed. The loud, noisy and crowded surroundings of a call center might distract them from their work, reducing their concentration and attention towards the job.

8. Insufficiency of Necessary Tools and Resources

Lack of adequate staff, supplies and the required tools and technologies such as virtual call center solutions, for the job can make the agents less productive. If they are not successful in their roles, they might feel unsatisfied. It is crucial for call centers to invest in the right call center software technologies to make the agents happier, which in turn would make the customers happy.


9. Difficult Customers

Managing difficult and angry customers is a real challenge for the agents. It makes them feel depressed if they come across difficult customers frequently. Handling annoyed and furious customers and listening to abusive language can hamper their motivation levels and prevent them from keeping calm.

10. Poor Compensation Structure

If the hard work of a person is not rewarded with adequate salary, then he/she might feel underappreciated. Hard work and poor wages does not go hand-in-hand. Providing bonuses for high performance is a great way to beat call center burnout and motivate the agents.

A call center manager should make sure that the work environment is conducive to productivity, employee engagement, and overall satisfaction that prevents call center burnout and stress within the agents.