Common traits of the best contact centre managers
As a contact centre manager, you have a range of competing priorities that consume your every day.
From managing staff, customers, technology, budgets and even internal politics there is no shortage of issues that suck up your time and can often distract you from looking too far outside of your immediate world.
And for many call centre managers, their career started on the phones and has progressed to a management role in the same company making it difficult to draw comparisons and learn from what others do.
So in case you were wondering what are the things the best call centres do, I’ve pulled together my top five list.
5 things the best contact centre managers do to be awesome
Truth is there are lots of things the best call centre managers do including constantly learning and benchmarking themselves to others as well as being actively involved in, and contributing to the industry.
But who’s got time for that 😉
So to save you a bit of time here is my top 5 things the best contact centre managers do.
1. Use metrics based on quality, not quantity
As you know there is no shortage of data to review performance on in call centres.
Next to NASA, it often feels like the most measured job in the world where literally every word, every keystroke, mouse movement or screen lookup is monitored by the second.
Given the overwhelming amount of data and the constant need to do more with less there is often a tendency to focus on quantitative measures such as Average Handle Time (AHT) or the number of calls taken/made which even the most primitive of call centre systems can typically provide the data on.
Its also easily understood by all stakeholders – the agents on the phone, Team Leaders, Managers and even Executives with little knowledge of call centres.
But just focusing on quantitative measures tells you nothing about the customer experience.
Surely it’s better to spend a bit of extra time with a customer to make sure they are happy resulting in higher customer retention as well as saving valuable resources being chewed up when the customer has to ring back again?
The best contact centre managers understand, and champion, that the experience the customer has on the phone is far more important to the lifetime value of the customer than shaving a few seconds off a call.
It doesn’t mean you can do away with productivity measures altogether, but rather a balanced approach that focusses on both.
Balanced Scorecards ring a bell?
2. Make every day fun
Yes, contact centre work can be repetitive and bloody hard work.
But no one said you can’t have fun while doing it!
By having a fun workplace you will reduce stress and sick leave levels and typically a more engaged workforce is a more productive one.
The key is making sure there is some accountability in your organisation for making the fun days happen.
Too often its delegated out and quickly loses momentum.
As a leader take some ownership and who knows you might just enjoy yourself in the process!
3. Create visible opportunities for agent career progression
Let’s face it, our industry is often seen as a dead-end job with little career options and high turnover.
But of course, we know that’s not true!
The best contact centre managers take the time to show new recruits how other call centre staff have progressed in your organisation.
They show them what training and qualifications are available.
They take them on a tour of other departments.
They get a former call centre worker who has been promoted come back and talk to the new staff about their journey.
There is a lot you can do to demonstrate that its not just a dead-end job.
Even if you are in a small call centre or organisation, by taking an active interest in someones personal and career development it will lead to a far more engaged workforce
4. Empower your agents to deliver excellent customer service
It’s often one that gets overlooked but make sure your agents have the tools to effectively do their job.
This can include providing them with the necessary skills and training, the systems, computers (dual screens maybe) and even the right headsets.
Also, ensure that your agents are equipped with the appropriate delegation limits to avoid them having to unnecessarily escalate complaints to supervisors.
Armed with the right tools you then need to trust your agents to do the right thing.
The best contact centre managers empower their employees to make the right decisions leading to higher levels of engagement and resulting in a better customer experience.
5. Focus on internal communication as much as external communication
It’s easy with the hustle and bustle of call centre life balancing rosters, sick leave, crazy call patterns, staff and customers issues as well as trying to resolve most of the companies issues that that there is never enough time left in the day.
With all that constant noise, internal communications is often the one to suffer.
How many times have we put off a coaching session, team meeting etc as it’s just too busy and its all hands on deck???
It takes a hell of a lot of willpower and determination to stay strong and keep to those commitments no matter what.
Keeping your staff consistently across the companies progress, as well as their own development is crucial for both theirs and the customer’s experience.
Briefings/open sessions with senior managers, lunch break talks, one on ones etc there is a range of tools to keep the communication channels open with your team.
Good companies and managers make sure the communication channels are constantly open, especially in the face of adversity.
No one said being one of the best contact centre managers is easy.
But it sure is rewarding.
Who’s the best contact centre manager you ever had?
Recommended further reading: Understanding the difference between managing and leading
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