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Counteracting Agent Burnout Through Enterprise Automation

July 10, 2023
A woman wearing a headset smiles at her computer.

In our hyper-connected world, consumers place a high premium on superior and immediate customer service without realizing that providing that level of response is hard. Contact centers are confronting an emergent and serious challenge: agent burnout. 

The demands of this role are undeniably intense, and consumers can be volatile. Agents serve as the pivotal frontline in both brand reinforcement and customer satisfaction. This environment of continuous high stress, coupled with the emotional intensity of handling disgruntled customers, creates a breeding ground for burnout, threatening your contact center’s overall health and productivity.

In a recent article, Forbes magazine stressed that reducing customer service burnout is a top priority. If you leave agents feeling swamped and emotionally drained, you may experience significant consequences, such as underwhelming job performance, a decline in productivity, and even losing an employee with whom you have invested significant time and training. 

Digital innovation is poised to aid call center agents in the form of enterprise automation. In this article, we’ll discuss burnout and the benefits afforded by the Laivly platform’s AI solutions.

Understanding the burnout dilemma

Agent burnout is a pressing concern due to the reality of an agent’s role. Customer service agents are at the frontlines of customer service, handling constant customer requests. They grapple with disgruntled callers daily, addressing caller concerns while providing prompt, professional, and satisfactory resolutions. 

The job demands technical proficiency, advanced interpersonal skills, a high emotional understanding and resilience, immense patience, and a grounding in business procedures and product/service features and benefits. With this wide range of skills and abilities in play, the risk of burnout becomes possible. Mitigating this risk is an essential task for any organization that values its employees and the quality of its customer service.

Many agents feel trapped by unending calls from people they think they can never please. Remembering that customers have heightened expectations and coupling that with complex issues that demand fast and efficient solutions, you can understand how agents feel.

Further, customer service agents are constantly being assessed, often by the people they struggle to serve. Many call centers expect their agents to maintain impeccable performance standards, all within a fast-paced, time-sensitive environment. 

Even the most composed and patient individuals can be exhausted mentally and emotionally by the demands of the job, and every call or customer interaction adds another layer to their stress, amplifying the sense of being drained.

A look at statistics

Agent burnout isn’t a rare anomaly but a standard reality in contact centers. Statistics reveal that 74 percent of front-facing employees grapple with burnout risks, with as many as half of newcomers exiting within their initial three months, attributing their departure to stress. There’s also a corresponding dissatisfaction with customer service, with 75 percent of consumers reporting they’re unhappy with the service.

These figures serve as an urgent call to businesses to tackle burnout head-on. Ignoring its risks not only continues to reduce morale and productivity but also jeopardizes customer service quality and bottom-line results. It’s a critical issue demanding immediate attention and solutions. 

Moreover, burnout precipitates significant staff churn, which is extremely expensive. Since it can cost between three and six months’ salary to hire and train an employee, many call centers are spending a third of their staffing budgets on turnover—not including costs associated with poor service call center outcomes that come with burnout and disengagement.

Introducing enterprise automation

Use enterprise automation as a critical player in combating agent burnout. Introducing intelligent systems, such as generative AI solutions and other automated tools, can shoulder a substantial portion of the workload that agents traditionally handle. 

The reduction in task overload, in turn, helps alleviate the stress levels that often trigger burnout. Automation has shifted from being a simple convenience to an indispensable requirement.

Reduce “swivel chair” repetitive tasks

Contact center automation is an efficient tool to address routine inquiries and repetitive tasks. Consider the time an agent spends copying shipping addresses from a CMS to a shipping application. Instead, an automation tool like the Laivly platform can save the time and irritation of constantly copying information by automatically filling in the relevant information across applications that aren’t integrated. As a bonus, Laivly reduces transcription errors.

The offloading of simple, monotonous tasks to automated systems not only lightens the workload for your agents but also adds an element of diversity and challenge to their roles. This shift in responsibilities can make their positions more engaging, reduce feelings of stagnation, and instill a sense of fulfillment, directly countering the monotonous routine that often fuels burnout.

Change the game with a 24/7 response

Running a round-the-clock customer service program with rotating multiple shifts of agents or expecting an agent to be available at all hours increases agent burnout. Generative AI and automation can free agents from the stress of arriving in the morning to a pile of unresolved issues or struggling with after-hours requests.

As a result, agents can enjoy a healthier work-life balance, with no shift time changes or intrusion into their time. Further, they avoid struggling with angry consumers who have waited all night to get service, which means less emotional burnout.

The impact of automation

So, what are the benefits when Laivly enterprise automation enhanced by generative AI becomes integral to your contact center operations? The following results are diverse and impactful.

Improved agent satisfaction

By delegating mundane tasks to automation, your agents can dedicate their energy to tackling more complex, fulfilling tasks. This pivotal shift can substantially enhance job satisfaction, cultivating a team of enthusiastic and engaged agents. It’s a simple equation—an agent who is content and motivated contributes to creating satisfied customers.

Reduced turnover

You can substantially reduce turnover rates by strategically leveraging automation to alleviate burnout. The effect of this reduction extends beyond mere statistics. It means tangible cost savings in recruitment and training processes, fosters a more robust and experienced workforce, and instills a sense of stability and continuity in your team, enhancing overall performance and customer service quality.

Increased productivity

Harnessing the power of automation presents a two-pronged benefit: automation mitigates agent burnout and propels productivity. When the burden of repetitive tasks is removed from agents’ shoulders, it creates space for them to channel their efforts toward more value-driven tasks. 

The outcome of this shift is twofold. Firstly, it fuels an upswing in agent performance as they engage in more meaningful, satisfying work. Secondly, it can surge operational efficiency, bolstering your business’ overall effectiveness and bottom-line results.

Enhanced customer experience

When your customers are satisfied, they become more loyal and come back, forming the bedrock of any successful business. By employing automation for regular inquiries and round-the-clock customer support, you significantly enhance the customer experience. 

Not only do customers benefit from swift response times, but they also enjoy uninterrupted service, regardless of the hour. This means your customer service agents are dealing with happier customers who are easier to deal with, further alleviating burnout.

Your customer service agents are one of your most valuable assets. Improve their job satisfaction, reduce turnover, boost productivity, and enhance customer experience with an enterprise automation solution from Laivly. Contact Laivly today for more information.

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