Customer Service, Team Management

Common Reasons Customer Service Agents Get Frustrated—And How to Fix Them

Here are some typical frustrations your customer service team handles and how to help.

Source: Tyler Olson / shutterstock

We’ve all been there: You dial in to a customer service line for help with a sticky situation, and the agent on the other end of the phone is clearly having a tough day. As a customer, it can be difficult to empathize, as you already have one problem on your hands, and things can escalate quickly. As a customer service manager, you know these frustrations can become a huge disruption to the customer experience—not to mention the toll they can take on employee morale.

Don’t sit back and let frustration fester. Read on to learn about the most common reasons customer service agents feel frustrated and what you can do to restore calm.

Your agents are overwhelmed: In any busy call center, especially on a high-volume shift, customer service agents can feel a lot of pressure. They want to be mindful of wait times and call lengths, but those concerns can detract from their mission to solve the customer’s problem. If your call center team is struggling to balance all the demands, look for ways to reduce the stress. Do you need to adjust scheduling so there are more agents available during peak times? If call analytics affect agents’ pay or performance evaluations, consider how that impacts an agent’s motivation to satisfy a customer as opposed to simply getting each call completed as soon as possible.

Your agents feel ill-equipped: If your customer service agents don’t have the right tools or knowledge, they may feel like they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. For instance, some call center agents need a deep level of product knowledge in order to serve customers effectively, so ensure those agents receive the training they need to meet your expectations. Cross-departmental training, even at a high level, can also give agents context for the conversations they have with your customers. And don’t overlook your systems—make sure your agents know how to navigate your software and can easily access customer account and order information with a variety of lookup methods before they hit the phones.

Your agents lack autonomy: It’s not uncommon for customer service agents to become frustrated simply because they do not have the authority to solve a customer’s problem. Giving customer service agents the leeway to make decisions about how to resolve customer complaints can go a long way to alleviate that frustration. Consider empowering your team to make decisions within a predetermined budget threshold, and review the outcomes on a monthly basis to ensure you’re getting the results you want.

Paying attention to the situations that frustrate your customer service agents the most will require some additional time and energy on your part, but rest assured that your efforts will be worth the results. Reducing frustration in your call center will boost morale and employee performance, and your customers will thank you, as well.