Managing a call center is by no means a challenging task. To be successful, you must make difficult decisions, motivate your staff, and ultimately work hard to reach the strategic vision for your brand. Learning how to effectively manage, lead by example, and generate positive results all while on a tight budget can be rough at times, however, with a bit of strategic planning and proven practices in place, you can become a successful call center manager.
Invest in Hiring the Right Team
At the core of any call center are the agents. All too often, managers don’t put enough time into hiring the right candidates, which can result in a spike in turnarounds. Though having an educational background and real-world experience in this field is ideal, there are certain characteristics that call center agents should have that cannot be taught. This includes being a good listener, enthusiastic, and have the drive to motivate themselves daily. As a call center manager, you should take the time to review applications and screen applicants by using aptitude and attitude tests to ensure they’ve got the right personality for the position.
Continually Improve Call Center Processes
There are always ways to streamline and improve processes within a call center. An effective call center manager will find themselves looking for solutions to enhance processes all the time. As you engage with your employees and learn of in-house problems, put yourself in the shoes of the agent and try to find feasible solutions.
If, for instance, you notice call agents are getting more busy signals, answering machines, and fax machines than actual air time with potential customers, solutions like a predictive dialer could remedy the problem. Predictive dialers are designed to help call center agents reach more real calls and spend less time on annoyances like fax machine noises, never-ending ringing, and more. Through effective problem solving, as a manager, you not only give your employees confidence in the company’s support for them, but you also improve company operations.
Communicate with Them Often
Communicating with your call center agents on a regular basis not only creates a stronger relationship within the call center, but it allows you as the manager or owner to learn firsthand what’s working and what’s not working within your organization. As call center agents are on the frontline every day, they are familiar with the customer service process. Talking with your staff can let you know positive things like the customers love the new products/services you have to offer. You could also learn about issues within the workplace that need to be addressed like call center agents not being comfortable with the scripts or the process for cold-calling. Such information is obviously instrumental in helping to improve call center operations.
Provide Positive Feedback and Incentives for Good Work
A workday for a call center agent is not always a good one. They are essentially the first line of communication between customers and service providers. A call center agent gets everything from the happy go lucky customer who wants to talk all day to the disgruntled and annoyed customer who wants their money back or wants their number removed from the call list, which can bring about an array of emotions for the agent.
As a call center manager, you should find ways to acknowledge and reward good work. Incentives for meeting quotas, contests for teams, and rewards for outstanding performances improve the workplace morale. Incentives and positive feedback motivate agents to get through those difficult calls a lot easier. They make your employees feel appreciated and inspire them to work hard towards common company goals.
To be an effective call center manager, you must always put yourself in the shoes of your agents. Hiring great agents isn’t enough to succeed. As a manager, you must be able to lead by example, put yourself in the shoes of your agents, communicate effectively, and continually work towards streamlining processes that can make their jobs easier. In doing so, you boost morale, instill trust, and develop a brand who’s foundation (its staff) is as strong as ever.