The agent working in the call center environment has a number of things to juggle in one shift. He or she is responsible for handling customer interactions, delivering satisfaction for the customer, keeping the time spent on these interactions to a minimum and ensuring all customer account information is up to date. If technology like the predictive dialer can reduce the stress level for the agent, the call center as a whole can benefit.
A simple deployment on the network server is not the only step a call center should take if the aim is to reduce agent stress, however. The predictive dialer does eliminate a frustrating manual process that can slow production and better equips agents to meet their goals, but agents also need to take some steps to reduce their focus on those activities that keep them keyed up at unhealthy levels to ensure that they’ll want to stay with the job.
A recent Call Centre Helper article offered some great advice that call center agents can take to heart. The first point for consideration is to leave work at the call center. This is harder to do if the agent works from home, but the point is to not take the stress of the day outside of the office. Agents can feel stressed and pressured if they aren’t meeting targets, but worrying about it off the job does nothing to help get closure to those goals. An agent who is able to unwind and relax at the end of the day is more likely to come back refreshed and ready to try again.
Another simple method that may contribute to a better outlook is being nice to the nasty customer. While every agent needs to provide every customer with a quality experience, it can be much harder to do when the customer is less than polite on the phone. Agents should be trained to handle the nasty customer with grace and adding a little extra sugar to the interaction helps the agent maintain distance from the poisonous interaction that could easily affect the rest of his or her day.
It’s not uncommon for an agent to encounter a chatty customer. This person may be an extrovert who handles all calls that way, or simply lonely and excited to have a listening ear. The agent isn’t employed to enhance a customer’s social well-being, however. Learning to bring that customer back to the point so the call can be completed successfully is an important skill. If the agent can do that while mirroring the customer’s speaking style, avoiding frustration and demonstrating patience, the call is much more successful.
Finally, the agent able to have fun with his or her colleagues is better able to find joy in the job, shed the stress of those trying interactions and leave the work at work. When this is the daily process, the call center and its agents are more successful.
Edited by Blaise McNamee