Research released today by the CCMA (Call Centre Management Association) highlights the changing nature of calls taken in the contact centre are having an impact on frontline wellbeing, with more than half of frontline colleagues reporting at least one symptom of work-related stress or burnout.
The good news is that employers are stepping up and providing support, with 42% of frontline colleagues receiving a bonus payment in 2022.
The research report, Wellbeing in the Contact Centre, unveils the cognitive load on the front line is becoming consistently more intense as simpler queries that offer advisors respite are increasingly deflected to self-serve. As a result, it’s getting harder for frontline colleagues to take appropriate breaks and recharge during the working day. The ability to take breaks is the most important factor separating those who experience signs of stress and burnout, versus those who do not.
Stephen Yap, CCMA’s Research Director, led the project and said, “Resilience is a collective concept and organisations and leaders have a critical role to play as the onus has shifted from self-managing to organisations’ responsibility to support. When you have more than half (52%) of frontline colleagues concerned about their ability to make ends meet, it’s not really surprising that more than a third of colleagues turn up for work when sick. It has become evident that organisations should be building shrinkage time into resourcing plans to allow people to take those valuable breaks.”
Interestingly, the research also revealed that 28% of frontline colleagues say they have cut back on essentials such as food and energy, with 17% saying they have used a food bank in the past year. In addition, 23% say they already spend more time in the office due to rising energy costs, and a further 41% say they may do so in the future, fuelling a return to the office.
“Colleague wellbeing has always been a priority in contact centres, but the experiences of recent years have placed it firmly at the very top of the agenda,” explains CEO at the CCMA, Leigh Hopwood. “We have conducted this incredibly thorough piece of research, canvassing views from across our community using multiple methods, to better understand wellbeing in the contact centre. I’d like to thank all those that supported this project, as the findings are fascinating and I hope provide the evidence for organisations to continue to build on their wellbeing programmes.”
“At Sabio, we’re strong advocates of highlighting the importance of advisor wellbeing and advisor empowerment,” says Tim Pickard, CMO at Sabio Group, supporters of the research. “We believe a healthy and happy workforce directly correlates to better customer service, experiences and relations. As workplace mental health rightly moves up the executive agenda, this report is full of tangible insights in support of strategies that place the health and wellbeing of people at the heart of a vibrant and performant contact centre operation.
“This research is essential reading for anyone involved in the contact centre industry. It will help to raise awareness of the benefits that positive wellbeing and advisor empowerment can bring – and not just to the contact centre itself, but the wider business overall.”
Led by the CCMA’s Research Director, Stephen Yap, this research comprised both qualitative and quantitative methods, findings from which are integrated throughout this report. In-depth interviews were conducted with eight advisors and team leaders. Further group discussions were convened with 11 Heads of Contact Centre and Directors. All of these conversations occurred during November and December 2022. In addition, a structured online survey was conducted in November 2022 among n=303 frontline colleagues in the UK. To be included in the survey, participants had to be working full or part-time in an external customer-facing role with an annual salary of no more than £40,000.
Download the report
The research is a free download from the CCMA website: https://www.ccma.org.uk/colleague-wellbeing-in-contact-centres/