What Is Quiet Quitting and Why Is It an Issue in Customer Service?

Office worker looking at his watch

Stephen Holliday, CEO and Founder of Level, looks at the problem of ‘quiet quitting’ and what organizations can do to address it.

The world of work is currently going through a really volatile period. With the skills gap and the Great Resignation combined, employers are finding it really difficult. Now, a new phenomenon has emerged, that only adds to the problem: quiet quitting.

So, what does this new problem in the workforce mean and why is it a problem at all?

Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with leaving your role. The point of quiet quitting instead is to do the very bare minimum your job requires of you. It’s rejecting the notion of trying to progress, of going above and beyond in your role or even having a ‘work ethic’.

It’s a strategy some members of the workforce are adopting when they’re no longer happy in their current roles. It’s seen as a happy medium – not going through the stress of quitting but not facing the stresses of work either.

It’s a real issue, especially for bosses in customer service. Adding this to the ever-extending list of issues in retention and recruitment right now is going to cause a serious problem. It breeds discontent in the workforce and customer service roles are not roles that would be performed very successfully if staff chose to quiet quit.

Fortunately, there are ways to address this.

Employees with control

Much like the trend we’re seeing with brands and consumers, the power has switched hands from the employer to the employee due to simple supply and demand. There’s an abundance of jobs for skilled individuals, and for companies, there’s not a lot of individuals to choose from.

This newly empowered employee is demanding more from organisations around work, pay and flexibility, and when organisations don’t meet these expectations, they’re left behind. Skilled employees will leave and find a company that will.

Organisations need to be asking themselves: what do employees want and how does that align with what we can afford?

Avoiding ‘tone deafness’

It’s become a running joke that companies are too often tone deaf when it comes to the demands of staff. They will host wellbeing webinars and offer gym classes, which do still serve a function in supporting staff, but they don’t get to the crux of the issue.

Employees want to be paid more for what they do. But that comes at a high cost and sometimes it’s impossible to match salary expectations and continue to run a company profitably. For contact centres that have a very high number of employees, this issue around salary is exacerbated.

So aside from increases, what can customer service departments do to support their employees, meet their demands and create a better working environment that will attract new members of staff and retain high skilled workers?

The salary link

Employers have complete control over pay. That doesn’t just mean how much; it also means when.

The majority of the UK workforce is paid on a monthly cycle. Employees complete a full month of work before they receive a paycheck. Employees are no longer on board with that structure, and employers are recognising their capacity to change it.

Financial wellbeing is just as important as the sum of money that arrives in the bank each month. By allowing employees to choose how and when they’re paid, they’re given more autonomy over the money they’ve rightly earned and they can manage their income in a way that’s appropriate to them.

Employers can go one step further too.

Real support

There are a multitude of ways to support a member of staff financially. Employers could look to focus on financial education, savings accounts that take payments at the point of payroll, tools and reminders that rely on behavioural science to better manage money.

Now, more than ever, it’s so important that contact centres are focused on supporting the financial wellbeing of their staff. The cost of living crisis coupled with the Great Resignation means companies that are not doing all they can for their employees are going to fall behind.


Customer service bosses have to meet the demands of their staff if they’re going to avoid this issue within their companies. And it can easily be avoided. Quiet quitting is incompatible with a workplace where employees feel listened to, valued and supported.

Companies may not be able to meet all of the demands of their employees, especially through challenging times, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do anything. By adding more flexibility and support, this will go far in not only minimising the effect of quiet quitting in customer service, but it will also improve issues surrounding retention and recruitment too.

About the Author

Stephen Holliday is CEO and Founder of Level.

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