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Identifying Call Center Agent Burnout

Call centres are notorious for being high stress environments with an even higher staff turnover.

Agents are expected to deal with challenging, frustrated customers on a daily basis and they are also measured and paid according to how well they deal with clients. This adds to their stress. Burnout can lead to agents lashing out at clients by placing them on hold for longer periods of time, transferring customers to the wrong department or simply hanging up. Here’s how you spot the problem:

Declining Performance

A drop in productivity over time is a tell-tale sign. Burnout can manifest as a decline in cognitive performance or as apathy in the workplace.


Absenteeism isn’t just not going to work on a particular day. It can also be taking longer lunch breaks or finding excuses to leave the office early. It is a good idea to keep an eye on agents’ schedules to determine whether or not an agent is guilty of this.

Emotional Outbursts

Irritability and anger about minor setbacks are calling cards of burnout. These emotions can sometimes lead to venting anger at colleagues or unnecessary arguments with clients. Check in regularly with agents who are exhibiting these symptoms.


Fatigue is often difficult to spot but it can present itself in a usually energetic employee’s sudden quietness and lack of enthusiasm.

These symptoms are often signs of other underlying issues or problems agents experience. It is of paramount importance that agents are monitored and given breaks when burnout starts rearing its head.

Rested agents are happy employees who are ready to tackle challenges and face the day, which leads to higher staff retention, reduced training and recruitment costs and increased profitability of the call centre.