Call Center Burnout has risen to be one of the most common reasons why people quit their jobs in the BPO industry. It affects thousands of agents every day. If left unchecked, it can be the cause of a lot of unwanted problems ranging from personal relationships, work performance and health issues.
What is Call Center Burnout?
Call center burnout happens when the combination of physical, emotional and mental stress of working in a call center weigh too much on you. In a sense, it is the by-product of stress which is endless while working for the BPO industry.
American Psychological Association’s David Ballard, PsyD describes job burnout as “An extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.”
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers aged 20-24 stay with an organization only 1.1 years on average and workers aged 25-34 stay 2.7 years. Compared to these longevity numbers, call center workers who generally fall into this age group (ages 20-34) stay only about one year.
Although there are a lot of other factors contributing to these statistics, it cannot be denied that call center burnout is part of the reason.
Signs of Burnout
It varies from person to person but below are the general symptoms of burnout:
The feeling of being perpetually tired even though you have slept for solid 8 hours can already be a possible sign of burnout. Exhaustion can also include mental and emotional fatigue. It’s also the state of being constantly drained of energy.
2. Cognitive Problems
Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating is also a symptom of burnout. A common case is when you’ve already asked for the customer’s information but cannot seem to recall what the information was. This can also be a result of chronic stress.
3. Negative emotions and lack of motivation
Traits like anger, irritability, pessimism and cynicism tend to rise out more quickly if you are burnt out. You easily get angry or you always see the negative side of things is a clear indication of stress. The feeling that what you are doing is useless when a couple of months back you used to love what you were doing is an early sign of burnout. So is the lack of enthusiasm to do anything. Although it is normal to feel like this sometimes, but if it comes very often, then you need to check with yourself.
4. Depersonalization and interpersonal conflict
When faced with stress and constant pressure, agents tend to detach themselves emotionally from their work and the people around them. This can lead to not sympathizing with the customer and not responding to their colleagues and the management. Also, if there is an increase of conflict in your personal life and at work, then chances are, you’re burnt out.
5. Decrease in job performance
Burnout is usually a long term thing. Another sign that it is happening to you is when your job performance decreases. This can start slowly. A few low-rated calls then it can creep into you being late and eventually being absent all the time.
6. Not taking care of yourself
When you are burnt out, you tend to do a lot of unhealthy things out of compulsion. Wrong eating habits, smoking, drinking and improper sleeping habits are just to name a few. Losing yourself and not observing proper hygiene is also an indicator of burnout.
If you are experiencing some or most of these symptoms, then most probably you’re experiencing call center burnout.
Dealing with Call Center Burnout
If you think you are going through a burnout do not panic. There are several ways to cope with it. Below are just a few:
1. Take relaxation seriously
Always allot time to relax. When you do relax, take it seriously. Do not let other stressors affect you. Release your mind and just concentrate on being okay. Read a good book, listen to music, do yoga or meditate. Turn off all of your gadgets to avoid distractions. Go unplugged. Do all of these things with all your heart and don’t do it half-way. You’ll feel considerably lighter when you do.
2. Know your priorities
Learn when to say no to work. Make a clear boundary between your personal life and work life. Is that overtime worth it? Should you really cover your friend’s shift when you haven’t slept properly for a while? It’s okay to be selfish once in a while.
3. Pamper yourself
Find a way to get some time for yourself. Get a massage. Sleep for 8 hours straight. Travel with your family and friends. There are a million ways to indulge yourself once in a while. Do it while you’re still able.
4. Ask for help
When nothing else works, seek professional help. See a psychiatrist. There is nothing wrong with saying that you’re not well. Do it as early as possible. If you cannot reach out to a psychiatrist, seek comfort from the people who know you. It’s always good to talk with your friends and family. Although it’s a big step, you will feel better when you do.
At the end of the day, we all deal with stress differently. It is important to value our jobs but let’s not forget to take care of ourselves first. Always.