Managing call center stress: Three stress management training courses for agents
How can we help our call center agents deal with the emotional strain of the
calls they are taking so that they can still handle each one with the appropriate amount of empathy
and professionalism? In back to back calls, our agents might speak to a parent who is crying
because they have lost their child and then a caller who is irate because they haven't received a
check. By the end of the day our agents are often an emotional wreck. Is there anything we can do
to help them handle call center stress?
Call center stress is very common, and the role of a call center agent is undoubtedly a highly
stressful one. Call center agents are required to meet stringent productivity and quality
standards, handle increasingly high call volumes, and satisfy a multitude of angry or frustrated
callers. As if that weren't pressure enough, they must meet all of these requirements in real time
and within the structured confines of the call center, where they are often tightly regulated by
scripts, policies and procedures. Agent stress is a significant contributor to poor performance,
burnout, low job satisfaction, absenteeism and call center agent
Call center agents require stress management training to equip them with techniques to defuse
the tension of emotional calls and take control of conversations with confidence, proficiency and
empathy. Three companies specifically address managing call center stress, each with a unique
The Stress Clinic offers various stress management
programs which address inbound and outbound call handling.
Ulysses Learning offers simulation-based eLearning
courses to help agents learn complex customer service skills in a safe, simulated environment.
These courses also provide them with a strategy for handling emotional calls.
HeartMath offers training in conjunction with biofeedback
technology to modify the stress reaction before, during and after difficult calls, while applying
new communication skills to the interaction.
For more information on how to help call center agents express empathy when handling sensitive
customer situations, please refer to these Q&As:
This was first published in September 2008