All you need to know about Customer Service Burnout

6 min read
May 24, 2023

In our latest Complaints & Well-Being series, we’ve addressed the importance of accessibility, how to set realistic expectations and how businesses could improve their complaints processes. But, at the heart of customer complaints management is, of course, the customer service team. 

Customer service agents are expected to display empathy towards highly stressed customers. But dealing with difficult customers, meeting high service expectations, and managing a high volume of interactions can take a toll on employees’ mental and physical health. It can even lead to burnout. 

Contact Centres and Customer Service (CS) teams often struggle with high agent turnover, with an average annual rate of 30-45%. Agent burnout is another significant risk and ranks as the second biggest concern after turnover. 

Customer service burnout does not only affect employees’ well-being. It also has a negative impact on the quality of service provided to customers. It is just so important for organisations to acknowledge and tackle this issue to ensure that their employees are supported and motivated to deliver excellent customer service. So how can you support your CS team and reduce the mental burden?

Understanding Agent Burnout

Customer service burnout is a significant and highly prevalent problem that can impact employees in any industry involving customer-facing roles. It occurs when customer service representatives experience emotional exhaustion, reduced personal achievement, and depersonalisation due to the constant demands and pressures of their job. 

The symptoms of customer service burnout can manifest in various ways, and they can be physical, emotional, or behavioural. Here are some common signs that a customer service representative may be experiencing burnout:

  • Emotional exhaustion: feeling drained, depleted, and emotionally detached from work, colleagues, and customers.
  • Reduced personal accomplishment: feeling that they are not meeting their personal or professional goals and that their work is meaningless
  • Depersonalisation: adopting a negative, cynical, or dismissive attitude towards customers, leading to both poor customer service and low job satisfaction.
  • Physical symptoms: experiencing chronic fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances.
  • Behavioural changes: becoming more irritable, impatient, and short-tempered with customers, colleagues, and friends outside of work.

If left unaddressed, these symptoms can have a significant impact on employees’ mental and physical health, as well as their job performance and satisfaction. 

Preventing Customer Service Fatigue

It is crucial for organisations to recognise and tackle customer service burnout to ensure their employees’ well-being and deliver high-quality service to customers.

In order to prevent customer service burnout, there are several steps organisations can take.

Providing adequate training and support

The first and most important is to provide adequate training and support to help employees handle different customer situations effectively. It is essential to set realistic service expectations for employees and customers and provide them with the necessary tools and resources. 

Other effective ways to prevent customer service burnout include: encouraging regular breaks, promoting work-life balance, recognizing and rewarding employees, and fostering a positive work environment that encourages open communication, teamwork, and collaboration. 

By implementing these strategies, organisations can promote a healthy and positive work environment for their employees.

The importance of management in preventing burnout

Effective management is critical to preventing customer service burnout in teams. Managers can create a supportive work environment by setting clear expectations, providing support and resources, and promoting work-life balance. Having the right tools for Customer Service, like Resolver’s case ​​handling software, can improve the flow and reduce the stress of having to navigate too many platforms.

To keep teams motivated and productive, it’s important to consider their work preferences and communicate with them regularly. It’s also helpful to switch up their tasks, provide incentives, and offer opportunities for growth and advancement.

Finally, managers can monitor employees for signs of burnout and take prompt action to address it. Investing in employee satisfaction and wellbeing can go a long way in reducing agent stress, increasing motivation, and improving overall performance.

By asking their agents what works for them, managers can ensure that they are happy and comfortable with their working arrangements, whether it’s fully remote, hybrid, or in-office. They can also keep their teams engaged by rotating their tasks, offering incentives that match their interests, and providing opportunities for skills development and advancement within the company.

Finding the right individual support

When struggling with customer service burnout, whether you are an agent or a manager, finding the right individual support can be crucial for recovery and preventing future burnout. Here are some tips for finding the best individual support:

  1. Identify your needs for support: Do you need someone to listen to you and offer emotional support? Do you need advice on managing your workload or handling difficult customers? Knowing what kind of support you need can help you find the right person or resource.
  2. Talk to your manager: Your manager may be able to provide some support and guidance, such as adjusting your workload or providing additional resources. They can also refer you to an employee assistance program or other resources that can provide further support.
  3. Seek professional help: Consider reaching out to a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor, who can provide individual support and guidance. They can help you develop coping strategies and provide emotional support during this challenging time.
  4. Connect with colleagues: Talking to colleagues who have experienced burnout or who are experiencing similar challenges can be helpful. They may be able to provide support, advice, and understanding based on their own experiences.
  5. Find online resources: There are many online resources available, such as forums, chat groups, and blogs, where you can connect with others who have experienced burnout. These resources can provide a supportive community where you can share experiences, get advice, and find encouragement.

Remember, finding the right individual support may take time and effort, but it can make a significant difference in your recovery from customer service burnout. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support when you need it.

The importance of investing in Customer Experience

Investing in customer experience is crucial for businesses to succeed in today’s competitive market. According to a survey by PwC, 73% of customers say that customer experience is an essential factor in their purchasing decisions. 

Moreover, investing in customer experience can lead to customer loyalty and increased customer lifetime value. A study by Harvard Business Review found that customers who had the best experience with a company were more likely to make repeat purchases, recommend the company to others, and stay loyal to the brand over time. 

According to Salesforce, 77% of customers are likely to recommend a company to a friend after having a positive experience. These statistics highlight the importance of investing in customer experience to build a loyal customer base and drive long-term business growth.

Wondering how you can improve your customer experience, make the best out of your customer feedback and save your CS team time? Discover our Resolver Business packages and get in touch with us now. We can help you manage your complaints more effectively and collect a lot of data to make the best out of your customer feedback and improve your products or services.

If you have any thoughts on this topic, or any other consumer issues you would like us to cover, feel free to get in touch with us at

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