15 Jan 4 Ways To Avoid Post-holiday Burnout In Customer Service Agents
After all the decorating, travel, presents, dinners, parties, desserts, fireworks and countdowns to the new year (if that’s how your holidays roll) regular life seems dull. (Oh, we have to go back to ‘that’?) Big expectations fueled by FOMO inducing ad campaigns and hype followed by a let down holiday is depressing too. Bummer. Meanwhile, customer service teams are working hard to make sure all of the parties, travel, gifts and so on, happen. Then, come January 2nd, instead of the holidays being over, they’re still processing returns and dealing with the post holiday fall out. It’s all the stress of the holidays, but it doesn’t end with them. Customer service post-holiday stress can lead to full on burnout. Here are four ways to help avoid post-holiday burnout in customer service.
Give Them Something to Look Forward to
One problem for many after the holidays is feeling that the good times are over (or that they weren’t that great at all). Having something positive to look forward to puts the focus on the future rather than the past.
Give your team a reason to come in that goes beyond just getting a paycheck. Motivate them with something fun like a contest for the strangest question of the day (It might be hard to choose a winner there.) Give weekly awards for the team member who came up with the most creative solution to a customer problem or the most supportive team member. Anything that takes the focus off work for a moment, but still connects work with something positive supports your team morale and creates better company culture.
Your incentive: it is cost effective to keep well-trained, experienced agents and beneficial to keep them happy.
“Employee Benefit News (EBN) reports that it costs employers 33% of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement if that worker leaves.”
If that position is replaced multiple times a year those costs can well exceed the position’s salary.
Appreciate Their Work
Working hard under duress, only hearing criticism, is demoralizing (and it doesn’t win you Best Boss mugs). Make sure your customer service team knows how much you value their dedication through the holiday season.
Say it and show it. If you just say thanks and push everyone back to work it looks like a platitude.
The holidays are a time when some businesses slow down, but customer service ramps up. Long hours and overtime are common. Offer reduced schedules to those who want down time post-holiday, without fear of losing their jobs, and plan ahead for coverage.
Have a post-holiday party instead of (or in addition to) a pre-holiday shindig.
Recognize high performers, but encourage everyone. Competition can be a driving force or a crushing one.
See your team members as individuals and honor them accordingly: “Your staff will recognize your appreciation as genuine if you take the time to offer praise that appeals to their personalities.”
–“How to Manage Your Amazing Customer Service Team”, Zendesk
Support Your Team’s Work-Life Balance
Remote work is now common and for good reason. Customer service agents and managers have families and personal demands just like any other humans. Communicate with your team to find a work-life balance that offers them support and you a stronger team: “…brands are finding that work at home agents have longer tenures.”
Offering a work from home option even one day a week shows respect for your team and empathy for their human needs.
Support Worker Well Being
Long hours, heavier social and family commitments (and excess sugar) impact well being. Have a wellness plan in place to help your team stay healthy. This could include a healthy in-office snack program or one later start day a week.
Part of well being is the feeling of self esteem. Put advancement options in place so your team members build a career not just do a job. Knowing there are positions with not just higher pay, but also opportunity for growth, is incentivizing. You’ll benefit by building a team of super agents with deep knowledge of your business and customer base.
Being heard is part of being valued. Ask your team what could be improved and actually act on their solid feedback.
Burnout in customer service doesn’t just strike after New Year’s Day. Apply these supportive actions following your business’ peak time. Keep your team strong and your customers and business will benefit.