The Pillars You Need for Creating Amazing Contact Centre Team Leaders
Contact Centre Team Leaders are the backbone of any call centre.
Yet typically what happens is one of the better operators is made a team leader and thrown into the
deep end with little or no understanding of their role, much less comprehensive training or on-going
As a result, all too often, we turn a terrific team member into a stressed and underachieving Team
Leader and get frustrated with the results.
Then after a few months, or even weeks, we end up replacing them and usually lose a really good
telemarketer in the process too!
The best way to overcome the frustration and stress of getting caught in this revolving door of
constantly replacing Team Leaders is to follow the 7 Pillars for creating amazing Team Leaders who
coach, nurture and lead winning teams that continuously meet (or even exceed) their monthly targets
Having owned a call centre myself and working all over the world for 34 years running marketing
departments and call centres and consulting with businesses mentoring their call centre managers and
I’m well aware of the difficulties of developing amazing team leaders who coach, nurture and lead
After doing this over the years, I’ve learnt that to create truly amazing Team Leaders you need to
develop an effective training process incorporating these 7 Pillars, so they clearly understand their role,
and acquire the practical skills needed to lead their teams to consistently achieve their targets and KPIs.
7 Pillars for Creating Amazing Contact Centre Team Leaders
1. Getting The Right Person
All Team Leaders ARE NOT the same and there are common traits, characteristics and practices that set
successful Team Leaders apart.
The key to selecting the right Team Leader is understanding these traits, characteristics and practices, so
you can look for them in prospective candidates when recruiting from outside or promoting from within.
Obviously, you want the right person from the start; even if you need to help them learn some of the
skills they’ll need to be successful … because it’s always easier and quicker coaching someone who has
the right basic traits and characteristics to begin with.
2. Effective Time Management
The number one reason most Team Leaders give for not providing their team members with on-the-job
training or coaching is that they just don’t have the time with all the different administration and HR
tasks they have to do every day.
And, to be fair, some have a point, when you look at all the things they do each day and week.
If this is the case in your centre, you should have a look at which tasks can be handled by an
administrator or someone in HR, rather than your Team Leader. After all, a Team Leader’s number one
priority should be reaching their team’s goals each week.
So, you need to make sure they have the time and energy to provide really effective leadership and
If Team Leaders aren’t overburdened with too many tasks then you’re really dealing with an excuse,
and that’s an easy fix.
To make sure they’re using their time effectively, have them complete a weekly schedule for the coming
week, give you a copy and pin it at their workspace.
Review their schedule to make sure they’re focused on the coaching tasks you want, and make any
necessary amendments if needed.
You also want to keep them accountable so, check-in throughout the week to make sure they’re doing
their coaching tasks when scheduled.
Bringing these essential elements together, Team Leaders will have the time to help their team
members perform better because team members are finally getting the coaching they need!
3. Having a Coachable Call Structure
Team members need an easy to understand Call Structure that sets out the key steps, in the proper
sequence, they need follow to achieve positive outcomes whether handling customer service calls,
booking appointments or making sales.
An effective Call Structure crystallizes the steps when handling or making a call and when done correctly
is easy to learn and really easy to coach!
Just imagine how more quickly you’d improve the overall performance of your Call Centre if you had a
call structure for your team to follow that Team Leaders could use to coach team members to follow.
4. Call Monitoring and Calibrated Scoring
To be effective coaches, Team Leaders need to have a clear understanding of the challenges team
members are facing when making or handling calls.
The best way to understand where coaching is needed is to listen to team members' calls and score each
area of the call structure in those calls.
It is imperative that Scoring Guidelines are created and calibrated with all Team Leaders to ensure
consistent call scoring across the call centre.
The best way to ensure Scoring Guidelines are calibrated correctly is to get all your team leaders into a
room, listen to a few recorded calls together and have each of them independently score each call.
Then compare and discuss their scores to ensure everyone understands the appropriate scoring levels
for each call component, to make sure they aren’t too strict or forgiving in the scores they give.
This way team members will generally have the same scores for the different parts of your call structure
and you’ll find this really helpful if you move them from team to team to ensure they get consistency on
the scoring of their calls.
5. Corrective and Nurturing Feedback
Providing positive and corrective call performance feedback is critical when coaching team members to
ensure they are protecting your brand, and well trained to be friendly, helpful, giving accurate
information and following call handling processes effectively.
Team Leaders need to be trained in providing nurturing and corrective feedback on calls they’ve scored
to make sure team members really understand where they need to improve and are open to being
Aside from providing corrective feedback, Team Leaders should also be coached to identify what was
also great about the call they scored.
That way when providing corrective feedback, along with call
deficiencies, they can highlight positive aspects of a call to reinforce those actions with team members,
so they will occur again.
Providing feedback in this way will be seen by team members as an instructive and motivational
experience they can look forward to.
6. Team Member Skills Audits
Team Leaders need to conduct a Skills Audit of each of their team members every quarter to have a
timely and clear understanding of the coaching and training needs for each of their team members.
These audits can be done more frequently, particularly if there are chronic underperformers or when
new team members join their team.
Skills Audits cover all sections of a Call Structure and other areas such as: Product Knowledge, Systems
Knowledge and Administration.
Team Leaders should also add notes to each area to remind them of the coaching and training
requirements to help them when they develop Coaching Plans for team members.
After they’ve completed an audit, discuss the areas team members need coaching or training and decide
with your Team Leaders how best to deliver any required training or coaching.
If multiple team members need help in any specific area it may be better to have a group training session,
that’s where keeping notes on each audit section can come in handy.
7. Team Coaching Plans
Coaching Plans keep Team Leaders focused on covering the areas each of their team members needs
It’s just a simple plan that outlines which areas need work, what coaching is required, when it will be
delivered and who delivers it.
This pulls everything into a road map Team Leaders can follow that focuses on the specific areas of
coaching needed for each team member.
Of course, some team members are really, really good operators who won’t need a lot of coaching, but
they can still improve in some areas.
And, you’d be amazed at how many really good operators want their Team Leader to listen to their calls
and work with them because they’re feeling they may be falling off a little.
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