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Work-Life Balance Is a Big Problem for Contact Centers

The hardest part of any contact-center business is balancing what employees need against what it takes to keep customers satisfied. Contact center leaders run into this same dilemma time and again. How can they balance a business model that demands 24/7 customer service while honoring the work-life commitments made to agents?

This constant push/pull scenario puts even the most flexible contact center operation to the test. It’s a delicate balance that was hard to achieve before the pandemic. In many cases, it’s even harder to achieve now with the need for more remote work solutions. Let’s explore why it’s been difficult to adapt and some ways to achieve good work-life balance in contact centers.

Current Challenges in Contact Centers

The world has changed, and the way contact centers function is no exception to this. Leaders need to find more ways to keep agents engaged and balance a hybrid or remote team, all while meeting customers growing expectations. So, what are some factors that contact center leaders need to address to achieve this balance? Here are a few examples:

Agents Crave Greater Workplace Flexibility

Agents want to keep the workplace flexibility given to them during the pandemic. The rise of remote working opportunities let agents control more of their own destiny. A great example is how they could care for a sick child between calls without having to use up a sick day. After having access to that freedom, agents don’t want to go back to the old way of doing things. Agents want the best of both worlds, and they want it right now. Call center leaders may be concerned about their agent’s ability to manage personal and professional responsibilities in these conditions.

Agent Attrition Is on the Rise

Agents are more likely to leave if they don’t get what they want. The job market is changing, and that opens the door for agents to push back. This brings new challenges or retaining top performers and recruiting new agents. Employees today have more job options from companies willing to match their preferences.

The demand for talented contact center agents is increasing. More contact centers are hiring, raising their wages, and increasing the amount of workplace flexibility they offer agents. That’s why contact centers need to get creative to avoid agent attrition.

Contact Center Operations Are Expanding

The pandemic forced contact center agents to jump into action, making large-scale technology leaps like never before. Although great strides were made, most contact center operations are still catching up. There’s no denying contact centers needed a reboot regarding how they approached remote work and using call center reporting.

The pandemic forced most of them to try to cram five years of workplace flexibility progress into eighteen short months. For many, the result is a disconnected technology infrastructure loaded with powerful tools that aren’t used to their full advantage.

The Art of Work-Life Balance in Contact Centers

All of this forms an unprecedented scenario: how can contact center leaders rise to meet these new challenges? Thankfully, there are three things you can do right now to help improve your organization’s work-life balance:

1. Create Greater Performance Coaching Opportunities

Agents want to know there can be a solid future within a contact center. By showing them career path opportunities, they feel appreciated. Set up continuous feedback loops with employees. Ask them what they like or dislike about their work and what flexibility means to them. You may find that their answers evolve over time, so make sure to keep asking them.

By adding performance coaching, agents can expand their knowledge on all different channels, learn soft and technical skills, and get engaged with their work. During this process, leaders can encourage personal and professional growth while helping to set career goals. Also, make sure younger agents are coached in the way that best suits them. What works for a Gen-X agent might not work for a Millennial or Gen-Z agent.

2. Make Sure You’re Using the Right Technology

Deploy cloud-based contact center tools that enable more workplace flexibility for remote and hybrid agents. This eliminates data siloes, manages new cohorts, unifies communication channels, and helps them better manage an agent’s time. Supervisors can then proactively encourage each tool’s use and monitor how readily agents adopt it. Both your contact center and your agents fully benefit from what it can do.

3. Optimize the Omnichannel Experience and Flow

Lastly, unite your digital channels to greatly improve the customer journey. You can gain richer insight and continually improve the omnichannel experience for both agents and customers. Create greater seamless customer experiences by breaking down these communication channels.

Better Work-Life Balance Is Possible

In conclusion, giving agents a better work-life balance with workplace flexibility is the new standard. It’s the best option for contact centers that want to attract and retain talented agents. The time has come to embrace that reality, and start making real, lasting, and technology-enabled changes within your organization.

Find out more about improving agent well-being and retention. Read the Calabrio Agent Wellbeing Report to learn more ways to invest in your agent’s mental health and professional success. Take charge of this time by creating a greater workplace environment that can stand the test of time.

As the Product Marketing Manager for WFM at Calabrio, Florian matches extensive experience in the contact center space with a unique bilingual worldview that gives a distinctive take on contact center challenges and technology. A contact center veteran with years of experience helming WFM teams, Florian loves to share his knowledge with other CX professionals. He can often be found walking the beach with his family hunting shells, playing guitar, or even flying the occasional airplane, but his inspiration is found in his wife and daughter. A quick "Bonjour!" to Florian will have him reminiscing of his Mother's French cuisine.
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