I wonder if you thought that I was going to explore the frustrations that we sometimes have when we make a phone call to a call centre. Sorry to say, this post is not about your frustration, it's about the frustrations faced by call centre staff when you abuse them. This post is provided to give you a perspective from the call centre agent’s point of view.
Frustration is probably the best single word to describe workplace stress in a call centre. Frustration at the caller who isn't comprehending what they are being told, frustration at not seeing their work completed when they have to hand the call over to another agent, frustration at colleagues who didn't do their job well-enough in the first place, frustration at being overly supervised, and frustration at the numerous performance measures implemented to monitor their work.
Add to this the challenging people who call; the angry, the sad, the talkers, the swearers, and those who just won’t listen. If not dealt with adequately, this continual frustration will lead to workplace stress.
Stress is probably not something that you would associate with a call centre unless you have worked in one. Compared with other professions, call centres have a higher than average staff turnover rate, higher than average presenteeism, and higher than average absenteeism. Who would have thought, all they do is to answer the phone isn’t it? Anyone can do that can’t they? No and no, they do much more than that.
Can you imagine going to work with the intention of helping people and all you get for your effort is to be screamed at by the very people you are trying to help? Depending on the type of call centre and the role within it, an agent can expect to be yelled at every 1 in 10 calls they receive. That would be unacceptable in any other industry.
The way these abusive calls were handled in early times was to simply hang-up the phone. In today's environment, that is not only forbidden it causes more problems than it solves. The disgruntled caller is now likely to complain about your actions, harbour a grudge, tell all of their friends about how bad your company is, and return even more enraged as they fester on how badly they were treated.
I like the saying; "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar". What this phrase is actually referring to is that when you're trying to accomplish something, you'll have more success by being polite rather than being rude.
The next time that you have to phone a call centre, be nice to the agent and watch what happens.