Managers and supervisors must schedule, monitor, and engage call center agents. They’re also responsible for managing agent performance, keeping track of company KPIs and metrics, maintaining customer service strategies, managing budgets, and monitoring the latest trends in the contact center.
With so many moving parts, it’s hard to measure call center management performance. Here we’ll run through what qualities set some call center management teams apart from others, and three performance goals that will benefit every call center manager.
These 4 practices make a strong call center manager.
If you want to be a top-notch call center manager, here’s where you need to start.
1. Be communicative.
Some call centers have thousands of employees — just look at Wells Fargo’s call center with over 40,000 employees, or AT&T’s with 47,000! How do such massive call centers keep track of KPIs and standardize their customer experiences? One way is through consistent communication across call center management!
Call center managers need impeccable communication skills. At the service level, they must be clear yet tactful in how they respond to customers that request escalations. Even outside of customer interactions, call center management must constantly communicate with call center agents, other managers from different departments, and higher-up call center executives.
2. Act on data.
A call center manager might keep meticulous records and have strong call center reporting mechanisms for their department. But just tracking call center metrics and KPIs won’t improve customer satisfaction or overall agent performance.
It’s great to review your performance data regularly, but that means very little if no action comes from it. The best call center managers consistently review data, compare it across different factors and circumstances, and come up with ways to improve in response to that data.
3. Get on the phone.
One of the biggest differences between a “boss” and a “leader” is how they motivate their team. It’s not enough to demand better performance from your agents; the best call center managers will emulate the qualities they want to see from their team and work alongside them.
Most call center managers have prior experience as call center agents, which helps them understand day-to-day call volume and customer interactions. During periods of high customer demand, don’t be afraid to jump on the phone lines. Not only will this keep your skills sharp, it can help you better understand the challenges your agents may be facing and identify gaps in your process. Plus, you’ll gain more credibility with your staff.
4. Demonstrate empathy.
COVID-19 called for empathy across every sector, especially the call center industry. Agents who demonstrated empathy towards customers had a better chance of achieving their performance goals, particularly around customer satisfaction. Since customer service today is considered a main revenue driver for most businesses, this is a quality that every call center leader needs to emulate.
It’s also important for management to show empathy towards call center agents. Agent attrition is higher than ever, thanks to the current labor shortage. Managers need to prioritize the well-being of their team members. This includes watching for signs of employee burnout, building meaningful relationships with their staff, creating regular opportunities for agent engagement, providing performance feedback tactfully, and being flexible to team members’ varying needs.
3 call center manager performance goals (and why they’re effective).
1. Find ways to improve current business processes.
Call center management must meet changes in the industry with both curiosity and strategy. Some call center managers are notorious for having the mentality of: “that’s how it’s always been,” or “we’ve been doing it this way for years.”
Improving business processes is a great performance goal for a call center manager because:
- It promotes savings and efficiency in the call center: Many business processes are archaic, costing call centers more money and delaying operations.
- It builds credibility with call center agents: Staff will appreciate a manager that works hard to find efficiencies. In the end, it makes the job of an agent easier!
When improving business processes, call center technology is a great place to start. For example, Fonolo Voice Call-Backs make high call volumes manageable, offering customers a call-back as an alternative to waiting on hold. By saving them time and frustration, you can build a more loyal customer base, which can improve your business’ bottom line.
2. Build strong relationships with your call center agents.
Agent attrition has always been high for call centers. While certain factors may be out of a call center manager’s control, they still have a significant amount of influence over the employee experience.
Many agents cite problematic relationships with management as a reason for quitting. That’s why call center managers need to strike a balance between providing support for their staff and giving them autonomy in their work. In other words, give your agents room to shine, while helping them meet their performance goals.
A great way to share feedback with your agents is to show them their performance metrics. Help them understand their results better and build credibility with them in the process.
Workplace culture also plays a factor. If call center agents don’t like the team dynamic, they will become disengaged in their work. That’s why hiring the right staff members who align with your team’s culture is key. If you haven’t established values for your team yet, this disconnect is likely costing you agents.
Here are some ways to build strong relationships with your existing call center agents:
- Schedule regular one-on-one meetings.
- Offer flexible scheduling.
- Share constructive feedback and recognition for good work.
3. Improve KPIs.
KPIs, or key performance indicators, show us helpful insights about the efficiency of a call center. If a call center’s KPIs are good, that generally means agents are happy and engaged, and the call center manager is managing them effectively.
Focus on a few KPIs like average speed to answer, customer satisfaction (CSAT), and average handle time. Let’s say you compared a few KPIs starting the day you first started your job as manager, and then again in 3 months. Improved KPIs might indicate you did a great job managing in the last few months, while decreased KPIS might indicate room for improvement.
Look at KPIs holistically when setting call center management goals. Metrics should be used in conjunction with other goals to assess performance.