MaxContact is warning SMEs of the need to rebalance employee wellbeing with customer satisfaction to avoid a mass exodus
More than half (51%) of customer-facing staff at SMEs across the UK are facing burnout after months of struggling to manage expanding workloads.
That’s according to new research from customer engagement software specialists MaxContact, which surveyed 439 staff working in customer-facing roles at SMEs. As well as customer service and contact centre staff, MaxContact spoke to those in other roles which involve speaking to customers each day, e.g., sales reps and administrators.
As a consequence of feeling burnt out, nearly half (46%) say they dislike their jobs and are looking to move. This could have devastating consequences for the UK’s 5.6 million SMEs, where the loss of staff can impact small teams.
Top reasons for burnout:
- 50% say their workload has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic without pay rise or promotion. Two fifths (39%) say they’ve taken on one extra person’s workload, in addition to their own.
- 61% believe that their organisation prioritises the end customer experience over employee wellbeing and 81% have felt under pressure to speak to a greater number of customers, rather than delivering more meaningful interactions with a smaller number.
- 61% say that their organisation could have provided more training to prepare them for their role.
- Just 46% were aware of mental health or staff wellbeing policies at their organisation and only 32% said that their managers followed them ‘all the time’.
- 45% stated that they didn’t have any specialist customer engagement software to help them do their job well.
Ben Booth, CEO of MaxContact, said: “The last two years have been hard for nearly every business, but especially SMEs. And for those on the phone to customers every day, prolonged working alone at the kitchen table, mounting workloads and little interaction with colleagues has taken its toll. People are telling us that they’re feeling overworked, under supported and aren’t hopeful that things are likely to change.
“While many small businesses are working hard to get back on their feet after the pandemic, it’s important that this isn’t at the expense of staff wellbeing. This means making sure staff feel supported and have the resources to do their jobs effectively. Specifically in customer service roles, this could include using technology to reduce time spent on menial, repetitive tasks, making it simple and easy to deliver great interactions with customers so they feel good about their work – without unnecessary stress.
“Those working in client-facing roles are the hidden support structure delighting customers every day – we need to make sure that we’re repaying their commitment with the support they deserve.”