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Why Are Call Centre Employees Not Taken Seriously?

Posted by Akash Jaiswal
Call Centre Employees 1

Since decades, call centres have been an essential part of several organizations, whether it is small, medium, or large. This is because call centre agents are the only way to bridge the gap between customers and organizations. However, these frontline workers are often not taken seriously because they don’t even respect their jobs and neither anyone else. 

Despite being the frontline warriors of customer service, call centre agents find themselves in a peculiar position – their efforts are frequently dismissed, their concerns overlooked, and their credibility questioned. In a world that demands exceptional customer service, why are these individuals, who play a pivotal role in shaping customer experience, not taken seriously?

Once Kate Zabriskie said - “The customer's perception is your reality."

In this comprehensive piece, our goal is to uncover many factors that lead to a lack of regard for call centre agents. Examining societal beliefs and industry norms, we will delve into the root causes behind the inadequate recognition these front-line workers receive. 

Furthermore, by delving into the complexities of the call centre world and the difficulties faced by its employees, we aim to illuminate the pressing need for a shift in viewpoint. So, let’s get deep into the knowledge pool!

Key Reasons Behind Call Centre Agents Not Taken Seriously

Well, many key reasons are there that indicate why are call centre agents not taken seriously. Some of the top ones are the following -

1. The Invisible Heros -

The hardworking call centre agents are the unsung champions of customer service. Far from just taking calls, they act as skilled problem solvers, compassionate listeners, and brand ambassadors. 

Despite the crucial role they play in ensuring customer satisfaction, they often toil away in obscurity. This disconnect between the visible impact of their work and the lack of acknowledgement creates a disheartening atmosphere where their contributions are often overlooked.

Within a culture that highly esteems tangible success and glamour, call centre work often goes unnoticed and underappreciated due to its behind-the-scenes nature. Yet, this perception does not accurately reflect the true nature of this profession. 

Have You Heard?

According to a survey, - “71% of customers anticipate personalized interactions, whereas 76% get frustrated when this expectation is not met.”

In reality, call centre agents possess a diverse set of skills, including exceptional communication and problem-solving abilities, that are essential in delivering superior customer service.

2. Stereotypes and Stigma -

Many people hold negative stereotype images in their minds for call centre agents, which can lead to a lack of respect for these individuals. There is a growing perception that call centre agents are tasked with arduous and menial tasks, forced to mechanically recite scripts without emotion. This harmful belief permeates our society.

However, this stereotype fails to recognize the range of responsibilities that call centre agents have and dismisses the emotional effort required to handle upset customers.

Not only are there stereotypes surrounding call centre work, but there is also a stigma that goes beyond. Many people view it as a temporary or low-level job which leads to a dismissive attitude towards those who make it their long-term career choice. 

As a result, the valuable expertise and experience gained by call centre agents over time are often overlooked, perpetuating the problem of not being taken seriously.

3. Burnout and Emotional Toll -

call centre agents

While answering every call, call centre agents face frustrations, complaints, and sometimes personal attacks from the customer’s end. Constantly dealing with negativity and finding solutions can quickly lead to burnout for call centre agents. 

Despite the critical impact on mental health, this often goes unrecognized, and employees are still required to maintain a constant level of professionalism. 

The combination of this emotional labour and strict performance standards creates a challenging atmosphere where employees are pressured to prioritize quantity over quality in their interactions. 

As a result, the genuine connections they strive to make with customers can be compromised, perpetuating the misconception that call centre work is robotic and lacking emotion.

Have You Heard?

As per recent studies, “approximately 74% of call centre agents are considered at risk of burnout, with 30% of agents facing a severe risk of burnout.”

4. Lack of Training and Professional Development -

One of the main reasons why call centre agents are not taken seriously is the misguided belief that their job entails minimal training and development. However, this couldn't be further from the truth as call centre work requires a multitude of skills such as effective communication, problem-solving, and adaptability. 

Unfortunately, this crucial aspect is often overshadowed by the emphasis on productivity-driven metrics, leading to a lack of investment in continuous training and professional growth opportunities. 

When employees are not given the chance to improve their skills or advance in their careers, it perpetuates the misconception that call centre work is stagnant and devoid of any growth potential. 

This failure to address the issue only serves to reinforce the notion that call centre agents are easily replaceable and disposable.

5. Technology Advancement and Dehumanization:

In customer service, the advent of chatbot services and artificial intelligence have revolutionized the industry. They offer streamlined processes and instant response to the customers. The advent of technology has undoubtedly revolutionized how we conduct business. 

However, it is important to acknowledge that this shift has also harmed the human aspect of customer interactions. While automated systems and chatbots offer efficiency, they lack the human qualities of empathy and understanding. 

As a result, the value of personalized customer support provided by call centre agents is decreasing, as customers become accustomed to automated responses. This not only has implications for the perception of call centre work but also reinforces the belief that human interaction in customer service is becoming obsolete.

6. Advocating for Change -

To effectively tackle the problem of call centre agents facing a lack of respect, a comprehensive approach is necessary. Paramount amongst the strategies that must be adopted is a transformation in societal perceptions of service-based occupations. 

It is imperative that we acknowledge the significance of customer service and truly appreciate the individuals who deliver it, as this is integral to dismantling entrenched stereotypes.

Furthermore, businesses have a crucial hand in transforming the perceptions of call centre work. To cultivate a positive and respectful workplace, companies must provide thorough training, prioritize career growth, and recognize the emotional demands of the job. 

However,  taking steps to prevent burnout, like setting realistic performance standards and offering mental health resources, can lead to a more sustainable and rewarding career for call centre agents.

Besides, changing the negative perception of call centre work calls for a proactive approach from both the media and society. Boosting a more authentic and varied portrayal of these employees in film, television, and literature can greatly contribute to a deeper appreciation of the vital and multifaceted contributions they make.

Why Does Call Centre Career Matter?

Happy and motivated employees are crucial in those industries where attrition rates are extremely high. Furthermore, call centre agents become more predictive, offer better customer experience and services, and take fewer leaves for other opportunities when their needs are met.

According to the Lumina Foundation’s case study on Cigna, the company's investment in employee training and development paid off handsomely, yielding a remarkable 129% return on investment (ROI) over four years. 

The proven success of this approach highlights the importance of engaging employees in their work. Not only that, having a steadfast workforce in place brings further advantages such as reduced expenses in recruitment and training, as well as enhanced knowledge sharing and consistent delivery of services.

Md Saleem exemplifies a real-life case of an employee who reaped the rewards of his company's commitment to professional development. Leveraging his learnings from day-to-day corporate life, he diligently acquired knowledge, fostered connections with various clients, and enhanced customer experiences. Through his exceptional performance, he ascended to the position of the head of the Enterprise Cloud Sales team at Cyfuture India.

He mentioned, "Employers who encourage a learning mindset for their employees often find that it leads to happier teams. Content employees tend to perform well, pitch in new ideas, and contribute to the company's objectives effortlessly. Success comes naturally when there's a balance of continuous learning, forward-thinking, and a positive workplace environment – no need to go chasing after it."

Moreover, when call centre agents perceive career progress and development opportunities within a company, they are more inclined to stay engaged and dedicated to their work. This enables a stable and efficient workforce, fostering a sense of appreciation and dedication towards the organization's prosperity.

Strategies to Set Career Path for Call Centre Agents

In the Call Centre Industry, creating a call path for call centre agents is important to retain the top talents and also overall experience for the employees.

Here, I’m mentioning a few top strategies that aid organizations in setting the career paths for their call centre agents -

1. Determine Career Goals and Interests:

To craft a personalized career development plan for call centre agents, it is crucial to understand their career goals and passions. By gaining insight into their career goals and interests, we can design a plan that truly caters to their individual needs. 

This can be achieved through various methods such as consistently conducting performance evaluations, seeking feedback through employee surveys, arranging meetings with career coaches, or engaging in one-on-one conversations with managers.

call centre agents cta

2. Offering Development and Training Opportunities:

Once you've pinpointed your career goals and passions, companies can offer an array of training and development options within the call centre industry. These can range from on-the-job shadowing to cross-training, enrolling in online courses, attending conferences, and attending workshops.

3. Providing career coaching and Monitoring:

One powerful strategy for promoting employee growth and advancement within the call centre is mentoring and coaching. By connecting employees with experienced coworkers or managers, these practices have the potential to boost employee development significantly. 

Additionally, engaging the expertise of a professional career coach can further enhance these efforts and provide valuable guidance to employees as they navigate their career trajectories.

4. Creating Continuous Improvement and Learning Culture:

To thrive, call centres must prioritize fostering a culture that embraces ongoing learning and development. This can be achieved by empowering employees to share their valuable insights and skills with their colleagues, acknowledging and celebrating their achievements through consistent feedback and recognition, and providing pathways for upward mobility and career progression within the company. Such proactive measures are crucial in creating a workplace culture that promotes constant growth and improvement.

Bottoming Up!

In conclusion, the lack of respect for call centre agents can be attributed to societal biases, inadequate acknowledgement of their varied abilities, and the difficulties they encounter in their positions. Despite being the unsung heroes of customer service, their efforts often go unnoticed in a culture that prioritizes visible accomplishments and prestige. Preconceived notions and societal stigmas surrounding call centre jobs only add fuel to the dismissive attitude towards these dedicated individuals.

The pressure to maintain composure while handling customer complaints often leads to burnout and emotional strain, ultimately hindering the ability to form genuine connections with customers. Unfortunately, this issue is frequently overlooked, resulting in a challenging work environment. This is due in part to the mistaken belief that call centre positions do not require significant training or offer opportunities for professional growth.

As technology continues to evolve, it has undoubtedly made tasks more efficient. However, this constant progress has also had a downside - the growing depersonalization of interactions between customers and call centre agents. This has resulted in a decline in the appreciation for the individualized support that these agents are trained to provide. To tackle this problem, we must work towards changing public attitudes, implementing comprehensive training initiatives, and promoting a more authentic image of call centre work through media and society.

Championing for transformation requires businesses to prioritize employee well-being, establish achievable performance expectations, and provide mental health resources to combat burnout. Acknowledging the significance of call centre roles not only cultivates employee contentment but also enhances customer interactions, diminishes turnover rates, and bolsters overall business prosperity. 

Embracing a mindset of continuous learning, as showcased through tangible success narratives, shows that employers can optimize employee capabilities and cultivate a motivated, innovative, and committed workforce. Essentially, valuing call centre agents is not only an issue of fairness but a shrewd investment in the future triumphs of both the employees and the organizations at hand.

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