Is Work-Life Balance an Issue for Call Centers?

The hardest part of contact centers is balancing the needs of employees with customer satisfaction. Call center leaders face the same dilemma time and time again: how to balance a business model that may demand 24/7 customer service with work and personal life commitments of the agents.

This constant tug-of-war scenario tests even the flexibility of call centers. If it was already a difficult balance to achieve before the pandemic, in many cases, it is even more difficult to achieve now.

1) Agents Want to Maintain the Workplace Flexibility They Were Given During the Pandemic

Having to work remotely during the pandemic allowed agents to have more control over their time. They could, for example, care for a sick family member between calls without having to take time off work. This, among others, is one of the reasons why agents do not want to go back to the old way of doing things.

2) Agents Are More Likely to Leave If They Don’t Get What They Want

Before the pandemic, recruiting new agents could be challenging, but it was relatively easy for many call centers to retain the ones they already had. But today’s employees have more job options than before COVID-19 hit the world: More contact centers are hiring, most are increasing their salaries, and many are increasing the workplace flexibility they offer to the agents.

3) Contact Center Operations Are Still Catching Up

There’s no denying that call centers needed a reset in how they approached remote work, but the pandemic forced most of them to try and rack up five years of progress in workplace flexibility in just 18 months. For many, the result has been a technological infrastructure that has not been implemented correctly and with new collaborative tools that are not being fully used.

In This Unprecedented Scenario, What Can Be Done to Overcome the Challenges? 
1) Improve the Training That Agents Receive and Their Possibility of Growth

It is convenient to establish regular cycles of feedback with employees. As well as training them on the different communication channels they work on and asking them about their personal career goals, you also need to find out what they like and don’t like about their job, and what flexibility means to them. Also make sure younger agents are trained in a way that works best for them, as what works for a Gen X agent might not work for a Millennial or Gen Z agent.

2) Make Sure You Have and Use the Right Technology

Cloud-based contact center tools must be implemented that allow greater flexibility in the workplace for remote and hybrid agents by unifying communication channels and helping them better manage their time. Subsequently, you have to proactively encourage the use of each tool and control the ease with which agents adopt it, so that both the call center and the agents fully benefit from what they can do.

3) Optimize the Omnichannel Experience and Flow

Lastly, digital channels must be brought together, so that the context persists throughout the customer journey, with the aim of obtaining a broader vision and continuously improving the omnichannel experience that both agents and customers have.

In conclusion, contact centers must offer agents a better work-life balance by allowing flexibility in the workplace to attract and retain talent. The time has come to embrace a new reality and start making real, lasting, technology-based changes within your organization.