Call center managers require a great deal of endurance and grace to handle the extreme pressure of the call center and create an environment that pleases customers without exceeding shrinking budgets. As a call center manager, your job is to keep your agents motivated and encouraged while holding your team accountable to goals and deadlines. In the face of this pressure, call center managers will easily feel overwhelmed and overworked.
As we continue to work with successful call center managers across the world, we have discovered that highly effective call center managers have a set of common habits and characteristics that set them above the rest. By adopting their habits and practices, one can train him/herself to become one.
Habit #1. Talk to your Agents
Agents are an invaluable research and feedback tool to your organization. They are the voice and ears to your contact center. Agents can tell you what’s important to your customers, and how your competitors are performing. They are able to provide you with a multitude of ideas on how to improve processes and practices to serve customers better. This not only helps in gaining feedback, but it also makes your agents feel that their voice is being heard, their opinions matter and they play a critical role in the organization.
Habit #2. Focus on Agent Engagement and Retention
Agent Retention is probably the biggest challenge of a call center manager as cited by many pieces of research. Call center is known to be a difficult place to work, which makes attracting and retaining quality customer service representatives an exhausting task. To eliminate this in your call center, contact center managers should focus on agent engagement programs and reward systems that empower agents to perform better. Incentivizing agents based on transparent reward systems motivate agents to actively engage in customer service process.
Habit #3. Provide Targeted Coaching
Apart from routine training and coaching practices, successful contact center managers work with agents to review issues that arise during a particular call. This allows agents to review complicated or confusing issues and prevent them from reoccurring.
Habit #4. Use Idle Time to your Advantage
Contact center managers would have a fair deal of idle time. But effective managers would harvest idle time and put it to good use by completing administrative tasks, training, mentoring, etc. This practice positively impacts the performance of agents by inspiring them to capitalize their idle time.
Habit #5. Review Workforce Management and Call Centre Management Software
Reviewing staffing levels to balance workflow and meet demand is a critical activity of a call center manager. The manager should be able to precisely predict how many agents are required to meet call demand in the light of spikes in call volume without over-staffing or under-staffing. Successful call center managers are able to effectively forecast calls, calculate staff requirement, and create staff schedules.
Habit #6. Put yourself in Agents' Shoes
When is the last time you picked up a headset and acted as an agent. You would be surprised what you could learn from this practice. It will get you a better understanding on the challenges your agents are going through and will help you redefine your contact center strategy to improve processes. And moreover, a manager seen to act as an agent will gain a lot of respect from subordinates and agents.
Habit #7. Stay on Top of Technology
The last decade has seen the most of technological advances. Businesses that have embraced new call centre technologies and growing customer expectation have proved to gain competitive advantage and significant profit margins. Call center managers should constantly keep an eye on new technologies that can displays importance of improvement in his/her sphere of influence - contact centers. For this contact center managers should have a say in budget allocation for investments in such technologies.
Use these traits of Great and Highly Successful Call Center Managers to help you guide your organization on its journey of improving customer experience. If you have come across additional habits of successful call center managers, I would love to hear them.