Customer Service Burnout: Obvious Signs Your CS Team Needs a Break


Guest Writer

⏱ Reading Time: 8 minutes

Customer support jobs are not all roses. 

Your customer support team needs to stay on top of a heavy workload. They also need to adapt to a wide range of customer needs, problems, and tempers.  Consumers expect them to provide fast, helpful, and personalized feedback. If a CS agent fails to meet their needs, most buyers will switch to your competitors. 

Those are just some of the numerous factors contributing to customer service burnout. 

Poor employee performance and low morale can affect user experiences and increase customer churn.

🚀Read Customer Service: A Guide for Successful Business Growth🚀

Statistics back me up on that. According to American Express, 68% of customers believe CS agents are vital to exceptional customer service. Additionally, 89% of consumers switch to another brand following a poor customer experience. 

Here is how to identify the signs of customer service burnout and reduce them.

What Is Customer Service Burnout? 

In the past, companies observed employee burnout as an individual problem. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as an occupational phenomenon

According to WHO’s recent report, burnout is a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress. 

Therefore, burnouts are not about people. They are about your company. 

Many factors can cause customer service burnout, including: 

  • unrealistic workload
  • the lack of role transparency
  • communication issues 
  • unreasonable time pressure

Read An Introduction to People Management


Picture 1. Customer Service Burnout

The Symptoms of Customer Service Burnout

Gallup interviewed 7,500 employees about burnout. They found that 23% of participants felt burnt out more often than not. Moreover, 44% of employees said they felt burnt out sometimes. Most full-time staff deal with burnout at some point.

Your customer service is the nerve center of your organization. To keep your CS staff healthy, you first need to recognize the early signs of burnout. Here are some of them.


1. Your Customer Support Agents Often Lose Focus

Setting and maintaining clear company objectives is key to your company’s success. Your customer support team’s goal is to reflect your organization’s goals, missions, and values in every conversation.

However, getting caught up in mountains of tasks, your agents may lose sight of your company’s focus. That may impact your brand image and harm customer perceptions of your company.

2. Productivity is Dropping

According to Gallup’s State of the Local Workplace, 85% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged. That results in $7 trillion in lost productivity.


Employee productivity is linked with their satisfaction with their job and wellbeing. For starters, perform a thorough analysis and compare current employee productivity levels to past ones. Any unusual drops in employee performance may indicate customer service burnout. 

Read The Ultimate Guide to Productivity

3. Workplace Morale is Plummeting

Your customer support team needs to wear multiple hats. Complaints and disagreements are inevitable at some point. 

However, if dissatisfaction and negativity become synonymous with your CS team, that may indicate that your agents need to relax.

According to Deloitte, 91% of employees say that stress and frustration affect the quality of work. Moreover, 83% claim that burnout from work also compromises their personal relationships.

4. Customer Complaints are Growing

CS team’s satisfaction goes hand in hand with customer experience.  Your customer support agents often feel overworked and anxious. That may compromise interactions with the people outside of your company.

Do your customers complain about unhelpful feedback, unanswered emails, and rude CS agents? Communication issues can also be a sign of customer service burnout.


Picture 4. Customer complaints

How to Reduce Customer Service Burnout 

Customer service burnout can harm the team’s productivity, morale, and retention. Now that you have recognized its symptoms, it is time to work on resolving this problem.

1. Improve Employee Collaboration

Customer support is a team sport. If your customer support agents communicate effectively, they will cut ticket resolution time, boost customer satisfaction, and reduce stress. By improving communication, you can strengthen employee relationships and create a cohesive team. 

Choose employee engagement software that can improve both one-on-one and team communication. A workplace communication platform connects your CS staff members via virtual boards and mobile tools. It also centralizes check-ins, calendars, emails, SMS, push notifications, and alerts under a single platform. That way, it enables highly transparent workplace interactions. 

Read How Employee Engagement Can Keep Your Business Alive and Kicking

2. Invest in the Right CS Tools

Tech advancements have changed the customer support landscape forever. Your CS team can now automate a wide range of repetitive tasks. That is the opportunity to focus on building customer relationships.

For example, boost the productivity of your team by investing in help desk software. That is a centralized hub for both internal and external communications. It should deliver a shared inbox, self-service support, ticket organization tools, automation capabilities, and reporting functionalities.

3. Encourage Regular Breaks during the Day 

Sometimes, taking a short coffee break outside of lunchtime can feel like a time-waster for your team. However, it is often necessary. Breaks allow your customer support representatives to recharge batteries and stay focused on tasks. 

That is where you should invest in the right customer communication tools. These tools allow your CS team to manage their time more effectively. For example, if an employee wants to take a break after a long phone call with a customer, they can change their status from ‘open’ to ‘on hold.’

4. Promote Healthy Habits 

Customer support is a sedentary job. That is why you should promote healthy behaviors. 

For example, if you have some extra space, consider installing a gym and providing workers with 24/7 access. You can also arrange discounted gym memberships for your staff.

Encourage employees to take breaks that will improve their health. No matter if that is a fruit snack or quick yoga workouts, short breaks will boost employee satisfaction.

Finally, prioritize workplace efficiency over the hours worked. Let your CS understand the difference between emergencies and tasks that can wait until tomorrow.  

Read 7 Ways Organizational Culture Influences Employee Productivity

5. Improve Workplace Transparency

Some companies stick to quarterly or yearly conversations with their staff. However, that is not enough. The lack of transparency discourages your CS team from voicing their dissatisfaction. As negative emotions and unsaid thoughts keep accumulating, customer service burnout is unavoidable. 

Your customer service team members already have a lot on their plates. They need to tackle a wide array of tasks, from customer communications to reporting. To keep them satisfied and motivated, schedule one-on-one meetings at least once monthly. Ask employees about their private and professional lives. If you notice that their performance has lowered, talk to them honestly. Additionally, help them identify the cause of the problem.

Keep in mind that some staff members are not fond of speaking up publicly. Find alternative employee feedback solutions. For example, conduct anonymous surveys to encourage employees to provide honest feedback.


Picture 5. Workplace transparency

6. Show You Care about your CS Team

No matter if you are running a small business or a global enterprise, understand the importance of your customer service team for your organization. Every day, they communicate with various customers, some of whom are super-difficult. Their behaviors reflect your company’s culture, attitudes, and values. 

Let your CS team know that you are tracking their performance and achievements. Sometimes, a simple ‘thank you’ note or a surprise birthday party will cheer them up. 

Apart from professional success, celebrate them for being collaborative team members. For instance, reward them for ‘going the extra mile’ or ‘being an awesome team player’ to boost their morale.

7. Let your CS Team be Creative

Customer support agents usually receive scripts to follow. Copying and pasting the same text kills creativity and motivation. Furthermore, pre-written scripts usually cannot answer specific customer problems. That triggers frustration and often results in communication problems. 

Instead of forcing your CS department to follow the same template, consider giving them more autonomy. They should have more control over interactions with consumers. Start by investing in a reliable CRM solution. It captures customer data via multiple channels. With a CRM tool, your team can use existing company data to show innovation in problem-solving.  

Read 9 Ways to Overcome a Creative Block

8. Promote Life-Work Balance

Having to deal with mountains of tasks every day, your CS employees often fail to balance private and professional lives. As a manager, ensure your staff has enough time for friends, family, and self-care. 

For example, provide flexible and remote arrangements for workers who cannot adapt to strict 9-to-5 schedules.  Let them choose their work hours.

Most importantly, build a remote work policy. That is particularly vital to your CS staff amid the Coronavirus. Invest in cloud communication tools, such as VoIP, which will improve boost internal and external communications.

Minimize Customer Service Burnout

Focus on employee satisfaction to reduce the risk of customer service burnout.

Promote life-work balance and healthy employee habits. Provide CS teams with work flexibility and allow them to make decisions. 

Most importantly, build and nurture team spirit. Improve your team collaboration and keep collecting feedback.

How do you reduce customer service burnout? Please, share your experiences with us!

Lauren is a regular Bizzmark Blog author that has many articles published with the main focus on clients who want their brands to grow in the fast-changing and demanding market. Her personal favorites are successes of small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. She goes through life with one strong moto – Kindness, always.

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Customer Service Burnout: Obvious Signs Your CS Team Needs a Break was last modified: April 29th, 2021 by Martina Pranjic
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