Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, now most of us are more inclined toward online business. We have started ordering stuff even groceries from online stores and things get delivered to our doorsteps. Due to this new shift in business, customer support agents’ total number and workload have increased drastically, and so do the customer service stress.
Many companies offer omnichannel customer service through different social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and even WhatsApp, still, customers prefer to contact companies via phone calls or live chat services.
Unfortunately, because of the increased customer requests, a huge number of customer support employees have started experiencing burnout at their workplaces.
The increased work stress in support agents may include less motivation, a huge number of customers to be handled at a time leading to losing focus on work, etc.
Some customers tend to contact the support team for even petty issues. We have no idea how many complaints a customer support agent handles every day and this is exactly the main reason that the agent gets stressed so easily.
To help your customer service team to shake down their stress levels and be patient while handling the customers, here I have listed down a few things that the support agents can follow to keep their stress levels under control.
The Main Reasons Why Your Customer Service Team Gets Stressed?
Some professions are inherently complex and more stressful than others and the job responsibilities of a customer support agent fall into this category. Often, they face huge work pressure, handle many complex issues, and most importantly some rude and indifferent customers.
We need to understand one thing. Customers are already unhappy, that’s why they are calling your customer support team. This concept already has made the tone of the interaction a bit negative, then it’s the agent’s responsibility to solve the issues and calm down the customers.
There must be a lot of customer service agents who are experts in this domain, but it does not mean that they also don’t get stressed. So, here let’s first see why the support agents burn out and later will discuss some useful tips that can fix the stress issues.
1. Lack of Proper Product Knowledge & Training
If you own an online business, you will understand that under huge working pressure and the busy schedules of every team, sometimes it’s a bit tough to arrange product training on a regular basis. Somehow It gets overlooked.
If the support team is not properly trained in managing a higher volume of support requests and is not updated with the latest product updates, discounts, and offers, chances are that they will not be able to give their best. They will more likely to make mistakes which can be easily avoided by arranging regular training sessions for them.
Frequent mistakes and the inability to handle customers properly may lead to building a stressful situation for your customer support representatives.
2. Poor Workspace Infrastructure
The poor technologies being used in the office spaces make the job of customer support agents harder. Situations may worsen for both the customers and the agents. In the case of providing support over phone calls, customers get frustrated due to the long waiting time in the queue for getting assistance. This is actually not the fault of the support agents. At a time, one agent can talk to only one customer, but customers don’t want to understand this situation.
Switching between different systems is tough, at the same time, old infrastructure makes the situation even worse for the parties leading to frustration and unhappiness among the customers. At the same time, things become harder to handle for the agents making them feel stressed and unvalued by the organizations.
Many times, managers overlook such situations. Basically, the support agents should not only be responsible for offering the best customer service. The whole company has to help them to give their best.
3. Less Compensation
Customer service is not a very highly paid job that too offers very less benefits. Though the situation is changing slowly, but still in many companies, customer service representatives are underpaid.
The job is tiring, agents have a huge workload, and sometimes with some angry customers, the situation becomes even worse. All these together result in developing stress amongst the team.
4. Work Pressure
A customer service department is a busy place where the agents are handling a huge volume of consumers coming with different issues. Some customers are frustrated, and some even become mad and start shouting. All these situations together make the agents exhausted and overstressed by the end of the day.
Here the source of the problem is self-explanatory. Heavy workloads make them mentally and emotionally devastated. As a manager, it’s not necessary to hire more manpower to deal with such situations. Different technologies like live chat and chatbots can be the savior here to make the whole process of customer service faster and easier.
5. Poor Career Growth
Customer service many times becomes a monotonous job with very less opportunity for career progression. The salary is not up to the mark with fewer benefits. When the agents work under huge pressure, don’t get motivated to do their best, and are really underpaid, they want to naturally understand about the different ways to prosper in their careers.
6. Achievements Overlooked
The role of the customer service agent is a challenging one. Being the front face of the company, he is the one who handles all the customers. The customer service agents provide assistance to all the customers whenever they need making them happy and satisfied. Bad and unprofessional behavior from the agent side may harm the brand image and create dissatisfaction among the customers. Chances are that they will never return to the company to do business with.
In spite of giving their best, customer service agents often don’t get proper recognition and motivation. Companies are more focused on making money that they often overlook the hard work of the customer support team. All these situations together make them overstressed.
7. Lack of Creativity
What is the basic job of a customer service agent? Customers come to him with their issues and he provides assistance and helps customers to solve their problems. Isn’t it get monotonous sometimes?
Agents most of the time perform the same task again and again. There is very less chance to show their creativity. This may lead to demotivation and boredom among them.
We all should enjoy some sort of creativity in our daily official tasks. Where the office culture is too restrictive and has no room to show enthusiasm and inspiration, then it becomes too tough to handle.
8. Rude and Indifferent Customers
One thing we need to understand here. Customers are contacting your support team because they have some issues or problems to be solved. Chances are high that they are already dissatisfied or even angry. In this situation, it would be wrong to expect politeness from them.
Your customer support agents have to deal with such customers on an everyday basis. Though it’s their job to handle such situations, but we should not forget that they are also human beings with emotions. They may feel bad too.
Naturally, they get very disheartened by such rude customers and this definitely affects their overall performance.
9. Tight Deadlines
Support agents every day handle a huge volume of customers. In the case of phone support, one agent can handle one customer at a time, whereas other customers wait in the queue. He is already pressurized to finish one call and getting to back to the other customer to avoid any sort of dissatisfaction.
Apart from this, they also have tight deadlines to follow every day which adds extra stress to their daily lives.
10. Limited Resources
Every company has a different volume of manpower depending on their capability of handling the expenses. Some may have human agents only to offer 24/7 customer support because they can not afford to opt for live chat or chatbot technologies. Some may have both.
In poor infrastructure, the support agents work with very limited resources. They are divided into groups to offer 24/7 support to the customers. Many times, with limited manpower, they handle a lot of customers. All these situations make them overstressed in due course.
11. Poor Work-Life Balance
We should not forget that a customer support agent has a life outside of the office too and that is his personal life. He has a family to take care of. After completing all his tasks in the office, he gets so stressed, that many times, his personal life, his health, and his family get overlooked.
It becomes tough for him to balance both his professional and personal life.
How to Fix the Stress?
Getting upset or unfocused while facing some indifferent customers shows that the customer support agent is stressed. If you are one of them, then this section is just for you. You can fix up your stress issues if you can be prepared for the difficult times beforehand.
To make you motivated, steel strong at the workplace, and patient while handling customers, here I have created a small list of things to keep in mind for handling your stress at the workplace.
1. Take a Deep Breathe
You must have heard a lot about it but trust me it actually works wonders.
You have many customers to handle every day, thus having huge workloads at the workplace. 51% of them get exhausted by the end of working hours, especially when they face some of angry and rude customers.
But you have to be calm and patient to help relieve the customer’s anxiety. It’s your job. So, when you feel that you are not been able to manage such situations, and it’s getting out of your hands, practice deep breathing. Take a long breath, hold it for 5 seconds and exhale. Repeat this exercise 4-5 days a day to get the best results.
It helps to release negative energy; makes you calm and relaxes your nerves.
2. Control Your Emotions
Being a support agent, you have the great quality to put yourself in the shoes of the customers and understand their situations. In the case of technical support, you handle several customers who don’t understand the technology at all.
Let me give one example here. Suppose a customer suddenly encounters a problem with his device and comes to you for help. The biggest problem that can arise here when you will try to make him understand the problems technically and the customer won’t understand it. It can create some misunderstanding and frustration between both of you.
We all understand that frustration may make people rude, customers are also no exception. Chances are that he will start shouting at you. Here please don’t get emotional. You need to understand that the customer is having issues and has not been able to understand the technicalities.
Handle him with care and compassion. At the end of the day, when the problems get resolved, the customer will be the one to thank you for all your assistance.
Under such heated circumstances, if you can be calm and polite to them, you will be able to solve the issues, and actually turn the rude customers into happy ones.
3. Ask for Help If Required
If you are handling a customer and getting too stressed, ask for help from others. Such situations may make you feel powerless and unable to offer services to the customers. There is no harm to seek assistance from your mates in difficult times.
If you are handling an angry customer, and things are getting out of your hands, ask your manager or teammates to step in and try to manage together. Help can also be in the form of emotional support. As your teammates also share the same working environment and infrastructures, chances are that you all are handling the same situations.
If you have some short deadlines, figure out the things you have to sort out and prioritize your other tasks based on that.
Don’t let stress impact your work. It’s always better to ask for help rather than being at risk and compromising your overall performance and customer engagement.
4. Exercise Regularly
Regular physical exercise and maintaining a balanced life are the two great ways to deal with the stressful work culture in office. Just sweat out all your anxiety and frustrations out of your body and mind. As highly recommended by many health experts, regular exercise is a great way to eliminate stress and trauma. Actually, due to physical exercise, endorphins get released from our brains triggering different kinds of positive feelings.
You can try some quick exercises during your lunch break. Many companies even offer yoga sessions and gym memberships to the employees to reduce stress, and boredom leading to a happy and healthy work environment.
5. Don’t Multitask
Please avoid multitasking. Many of you multi-task for giving your best in comparatively less time. You juggle different tasks at the same time. Working under such tremendous pressure on a regular basis may affect your mental health.
Study shows that multi-tasking in customer service jobs decreases 40% productivity and increases 50% the chance of making errors.
As a customer service representative, always prioritize your different tasks as per their deliverables and request your teammates and even the manager to assist you if required.
6. Be Positive
Always be positive. It is the best way to win different hurdles. Instead of getting frustrated and overstressed, think of the challenges and opportunities that you are getting to make yourself strong and experienced in your field.
Think of yourself as the problem solver and take the proactive approach. Understand one thing. By assisting your customers with their problems, you are not only helping them but also developing a positive image of your company. Here you are also a gainer. Every day you are learning something new from different experiences which will definitely help you in self-development.
Stick some inspirational quotes on your desk and whenever you feel down just read them once. Trust me, those will pump you up immediately.
7. Invest in Technologies to Aid Customer Service
To offer the best customer service possible and make the agents more efficient, there are many options available in the market to choose from.
Adopting an omnichannel platform helps greatly to improve the productivity of the agents and lets them give their best in less time.
The best two options would be offering customer assistance through live chat and chatbots. Agents can handle multiple customers at a time, and work efficiently for better customer engagement and assistance.
On the other hand, chatbots can automate the whole customer support process. It can provide the same customer support as a human agent without even letting them understand that they are actually talking to a machine, not a real agent.
How REVE Chat Can Be the Stress Buster
If you own an online business and really worried about the efficiency of your customer support team, then REVE Chat is the right option for you. REVE Chat is an omnichannel customer engagement software to offer instant help to your website visitors. Your support team can see the customers on your website in real-time and reach out to them proactively for providing personalized assistance.
REVE Chat also has come up with REVE Chatbot, an AI-based platform to automate your customer support, sales, and marketing activities. It will interact with your customers and reply to all their queries just like human agents.
Want to know how it can help your customer support agents?
- Proactive Chat: REVE Chat lets your agent visualize the website visitors in real-time and reach them proactively to offer instant assistance.
- Voice and Video Calls: Customers can initiate voice and video calls to your support agents whenever they need.
- Visitor Analytics: It gives all the information about the website visitors like their geographic locations, page visits, chat history, used browsers, etc. All this information helps the agent to personalize the conversation for better engagement.
- Queuing: This special feature gives an idea to the customers about their waiting time in the queue.
- Canned Responses: Agents can create predefined responses about common queries to respond faster.
- Desktop Notifications: Agents get desktop notifications regarding new chat requests when they are busy navigating other pages. It helps them to respond faster to customer queries.
Over to You!
Running an online business is not easy. Investing in the right technologies and creating a positive environment for the customer support department make it easier for the support agents to give their best and reduce stress levels.
The happiness and good health of your support team should be important to you. If your employees are satisfied then only, they are going to stay with you and deliver Steller performance.
Having a happy mood and working with full enthusiasm let the agents work in a better way to solve customer issues. Here not only do customers get happy but also your company develops a positive brand image.