For Healthier Call Center Agents, Warm up Them Pipes, Turn down the Noise and Pour on the Water
May 18, 2010
By Patrick Barnard
, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
Do you have your call center agents do warm-up vocal exercises before each shift?
Do you limit background noise so that your agents don't have to talk loudly?
Are you encouraging your staff to drink plenty of water?
If not, a recent medical study finds, your agents are likely getting sick more often than they need to be.
According to a report written by author Dr. Diane Hazlett, head of communication for Australia's University of Ulster (and as reported on News.com.au), the link between vocal health and overall well being should be taken seriously as an occupational health and safety issue for the call center industry.
Basically call center agents talk so much they've been making themselves sick, the report states.
These findings could help companies improve the health of their call center agents. By taking the aforementioned steps, call center supervisors can greatly reduce the "irritation" caused to the vocal chords when agents have to talk continuously at loud volumes for hours on end.
This irritation, in turn, can lead to infection. Not only that, it can also lead to a "false perception of infection." Either way the result is the same: The agent calls in sick, causing a scheduling gap.
The study looked at the health of nearly 600 call center workers in 14 locations across the UK and Ireland. Illnesses among call center agents were "abnormally high."
Those who worked longer shifts suffered from strained and sore vocal chords, which then impacted their overall health and performance.
In a period over six months, 69 percent of call center staff had taken time off for a voice-related condition.
For more, check out this report.Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard