Lets start by thinking about the most common type of stress a customer service agent will experience, which is dealing with customers on the phone. It may not seem like something that would or should bring on a lot of stress to someone but think of it this way: Everyone has had to take the time to call their phone company or their power company because something isnt right. You may be upset about how high the bill is this month, or feel you shouldnt be responsible for a long distance call you never authorized.
The person answering the call you make is a customer service representative who is acting on behalf of the company you are calling. In the end, the customer service agent is the one who gets the brunt of angry customer calls. And they wont be dealing with just your one phone call; they will be dealing with angry customers on a daily basis, all day long.
It is simply the nature of the business.
Customer service agents must have thick skin, and learn how to relief stress or deal with this type of stress if they are going to be doing this job for any kind of lengthy period.
In addition to the previous mentioned stress condition of working in a customer service call center, there are many other variables that can add to the stress, and in a big way.
Working schedules usually vary widely from call center to call center, making it impossible for an employee to feel secure in their current schedules because they know it can change anytime.
For a customer service agent who has a family at home that depends on them to be there, this can be very stressful even on a day to day business. Payment is low, and the possibility that your job may be outsourced to a low-wage country is very real.
And not to mention policies and procedures when it comes to what you say on the phone to customers. A lot of times call centers will place strict adherence rules to their scripts, leaving little to no room for flexibility.
What this means to customer service agents is that they have to worry about whether they forgot the littlest of things like saying please or thank you to a customer, as these things can bring negative consequences to an employee. When you know you are constantly scrutinized for your words and actions at all times, who wouldnt become stressed?
Quotas are another big stress factor in a call center environment.
When up-sells or service levels are a constant pressure, stress is sure to find its way into the equation... quickly.
Being a customer service agent is not an easy job to do because of the many demands placed on you as an employee.
The first thing to remember is to recognize when the stress hits you. If you cant do that, it is impossible to deal with it. You won't be able to relief stress.
Once you recognize the reasons for your stress, take the time to figure out the small things you can do to improve your working conditions in regard to the particular issue.
For example, if you are just fed up with angry customers and dont know if you can handle even one more day in talking to them, do some breathing exercises before work. Get up in the morning, take a nice walk and on the way to work, simply breathe. Before you walk in that door, smile and keep your head up knowing you are ready to face the world and whatever it throws at you for the day.
It doesnt hurt to keep in mind that its just another day and it will be over soon. Taking it one day at a time can save you a lot of grief when trying to deal with stress.
You may have heard this throughout your life, and it definitely plays a factor in handling stressful situations at work too: If you have a problem, dont just complain about it, find a solution! By no means will you be able to figure out how to get angry customers from calling you, or be able to make the call center you work for change their policies on script adherence no matter how silly you think the script is. But you can take steps to make sure that you handle the factors you can control yourself, and relief stress.
The result will be a less stressful working environment for you.
This was just a short primer on stress management. There are many more strategies to keep stress levels low. One of the best books on the subject I have ever read is "Why make yourself Crazy?" by G. Gaynor McTigue. I love it, because it doesn't throw loads of stress theory at you, but it gives you 300 very practicle, doable strategies to reduce the many stress causes in your life. I highly recommend you check it out!
Can't snap out of it? Sometimes it seems you just can't break away from your stressful thoughts, no matter what you do... at those times you may need the help of others to reframe your thoughts. Our friends at professional-counselling.com can help you out with anxiety and stress.