Working as a customer service representative can be a difficult job. It can be repetitive and stressful to deal with endless customer questions, problems, and even anger, but there are ways to protect your customer service representatives from burnout.
Providing your customer service representatives with a strong foundation of knowledge is one of the most important tools you have to keep your representatives feeling capable and happy. Without an excellent knowledge of your company, your products, your procedures, and your goals, your representatives will feel unable to provide your customers with proper service. And like any other aspect of life, knowing one is not adequately prepared for the job at hand is very stressful. When you couple that stress with being on the receiving end of the inevitable frustration of customers who realize that a representative is not qualified to assist them in the ways they need, burnout quickly sets in. Avoid this by taking the time to properly educate your customer service staff with all customer-facing aspects of your company.
Positive Feedback from Leadership
Nothing can feel worse than working hard in a notoriously difficult role while feeling invisible to those who matter. Customer service representatives (like all of us) thrive when their efforts are noticed by leadership, so take the time to provide positive feedback whenever you notice excellent service being provided. Your approval and praise will serve not only to encourage more excellent service, but will also inoculate your representatives against the sting of difficult or angry customer cases.
Whoever is happy will make others happy too. —Anne Frank
It is a Herculean task to keep a customer service representative happy if the team as a whole is not. Investing time and energy into team building exercises will strengthen the department as a whole by forging relationships between representatives and thus providing them with a support system within their role. In addition to more structured team building exercises, consider allowing the department to propose and select recurring department bonding events during business hours (and perhaps after as well). You may also want to consider allowing the department the freedom to choose its own decor to reflect the team identity that develops. Everything you do to support the team atmosphere within customer service will increase the satisfaction the representatives feel from being a part of that team.
Working in customer service is a position with a very unique set of stressors and challenges, but they are not insurmountable. By taking the time to prepare your employees for their role, encouraging positive performance, and facilitating a sense of community, you will find yourself with happier representatives — and happier representatives lead to a lower turnover rate and thus happier customers who get to interact with more seasoned representatives.