Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gimme a Break!

Breaks are often frowned upon in many workplaces. Sitting, tethered to a desk for 8.5 hours a day is a badge of honor. Who needs a break? Who needs to take lunch? There is work to be done!


Breaks and lunches should not be abused. However, at the same time, they should be encouraged. Customer service is hard; answering the same questions and giving the same information over and over again can be boring at best. CSRs deal with customers who are angry, confused, frustrated and even lonely. After hours on the phone, taking call after call, a break is in order.

A break does just what the name implies, it breaks them away from the monotony and the emotion. Getting away for 5 or 10 minutes gives the CSR time to reset and recharge. It gives them a chance to breath and gain some much needed perspective.

Breaks and lunches boost productivity because a few minutes can make all the difference. It's so important that there is even a law dedicated to it. The Law of Diminishing Returns says, "to continue after a certain level of performance has been reached will result in a decline in effectiveness." In other words, if someone handles 20 calls in the first hour, and 20 calls in the second and third, eventually, they'll be answering 18 calls, then 16 then 14 calls." Eventually, there will be a decline in performance.

The law was originally used for economics but it can definitely be applied to human behavior. We've all seen this in our own work lives. We are working on a project and are completely focused, so we decide to burn the midnight oil. Yet, the later it gets, the more distracted we become and the less we accomplish: diminished returns.

Breaks and lunches break that cycle and allow workers to return to the job ready to go. So give your CSR's a break!