With lockdowns, people started online purchasing in higher quantities, which increased the workload for call centers. And if the online store employees aren't prepared for such intense work, it can result in burnout. Managers are the proverbial face of the company, they communicate with customers, but in a state of constant stress, it's difficult to remain helpful. Knowing how to recognize burnout and overcome it will help entrepreneurs build their online store to retain good managers and maintain a high level of customer service.

What Is Call Center Agent Burnout in an Online Store?

The main signs of burnout: a breakdown, nervous exhaustion, feeling dissatisfied with your work. This problem is common among call center employees. The situation when, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, entrepreneurs transferred managers to remote work has become additional stress. Worrying about loved ones, the increased flow of calls from clients, the instability of the work environment leads to the fact that labor productivity is falling.

Negative consequences of burnout:

  • Managers are unwelcoming during telephone communication;
  • Decrease in the number of taken orders;
  • Higher probability to make mistakes when processing a purchase;
  • Increased risk of financial loss due to worsened quality of service;
  • Employees could quit the job, and the store will lose good managers and spend time and money on training new ones.

All of this will drop the level of customer satisfaction, their trust, decrease sales. This is why it's better not to wait until the crisis hits but instead to react to the potential threat of burnout promptly.

How to Lower the Risk of Burnout Among Online Store Staff

Call centers have an increased level of employee turnover. But if the team leader is interested in keeping the reputation of the company positive, increasing profits of the store, they need to make an effort to create a comfortable environment for the employees. Business processes that are running smoothly help to avoid emotional overload. Pay attention to the following aspects of the work to avoid the professional burnout of the managers.

Emphasis on Reducing the Stress

During the lockdown, not only the business activity increases but resignations as well. When managers are sent to work remotely, it adds to the uncertainty. Try to make sure agents have both the support of their more qualified colleagues and informative instructions for the job they do. Lockdowns can change the terms of how the store provides its products, so agents need to have a sheet with answers to FAQs handy:

  • The new delivery terms;
  • Availability of certain products, discounts, and promotions;
  • Business hours and order processing speed.

When an agent has this information and knows that they can go to their team leader for advice, it will help them feel more confident during communication with unsatisfied customers.

Create Comfortable Working Conditions

Nothing slows down the work process more than poor workplace equipment: lack of a good telephone headset, quick access to CRM, poor telephone connection, inability to track calls. VoIP telephony has an advantage over analog communication systems - you can get good voice quality at a bargain price for calls. In addition, it does not matter where you are located. And if it is necessary to transfer the agents of the online store to remote work, they retain access to all the telephony features just as if they're still working in the office.

The best way to manage calls in an online store using IP telephony services:

  1. Choose a virtual number. It will give you the lowest rates for outgoing calls (including those abroad, for shops with international service). The manager will see the calculation of the cost of each call in the statistics, and the operators will be able to use the number both from the office and from home;
  2. Use a softphone. Managers install free calling software (such as Zoiper) on their computers to communicate with customers from anywhere;
  3. Connect a virtual PBX. Call center agents will get a lot of call management tools. Call queueing will help distribute calls among agents and reduce stress. IP PBX has a voicemail feature, and you can set up free widgets for the website, for example, Callback. Then the manager will call back the buyer himself and better control the communication. There is an option to record calls.

Give More Autonomy to the Agents

If a team leader can offer more flexible hours to the managers of an online store, they will experience less stress. They know that they could change shifts if needed (to take care of their kids, for example). When they are given more autonomy, a team leader displays trust in the team, which supports its dedication.

Process automation also increases the self-sufficiency of the agents. It's best to add repetitive questions from the customers to the FAQ list on the website and record audio instructions for the interactive voice response menu (IVR). Then customers will be able to find out the basic information without bothering to contact a manager. And if needed to clarify something when using IVR, a customer can redirect the call to an agent. IVR reduces the load of the store's employees, giving them more time to react to customers' requests.

Incentives for Call Center Administrators

Proactivity, communication skills, ability to find creative solutions to difficult situations, all of those are soft skills of managers that help to create a positive culture of work in a call center. It's important to recognize agents with those skills and make sure they have the right incentives to keep their satisfaction level up and decrease burnout of the employees.

As an incentive, you can use a reward system based on performance/KPIs. It's important to keep in mind though that it's better to avoid a race between agents, to prevent additional work-related stress, by considering the level of workload. You can use data to check if you need more agents. For Freezvon virtual numbers, it is gathered in your account and includes:

  • call volume;
  • length of each conversation;
  • missed calls.

If a virtual PBX is used together with a CRM system, you will be able to check the time needed to wrap up the call with a customer. Statistical data will allow you to check the average workload on an agent and understand if there is an overload that could lead to burnout.

Training Programs for Online Store Agents

It is important not only to prepare manuals on changing the terms of service but also to practice the process of customer interaction beforehand, as well as how the agent should conduct themselves during a conflict. Use the call recordings of managers that your VoIP telephony saves to identify positive examples for conversation scenarios and come up with a plan for working with dissatisfied customers. Thanks to updated sales scripts and training, store administrators will have better control over the situation and be less stressed.

The use of IP telephony services will allow you to better automize the process of customer communication. This will help to prevent burnout among call center agents and will help increase the number of customers who are satisfied with the service.