How to Spot (and Hire) a Great Call Center Manager

Call Center | 5 minute read

At first glance, a call center manager job may seem easy compared to the agents they oversee. After all, they are not the ones who have to navigate call center software, ensure customer satisfaction, and take all the phone calls.

But strong call center management is essential in managing call center operations, quality monitoring, and employee engagement — among a long list of tasks that ensure the center meets its day-to-day goals.

For these reasons, hiring an effective all center manager should be a vital goal for all call center leaders. Let’s take a look at what makes a great call center manager and how to find the right fit from the hiring stage.

Call Center Management Duties

Call center managers have many job duties, many of which take place behind the scenes. Here’s a list of a few call center management responsibilities:

  • Managing daily operations and contact center performance.
  • Engaging and motivating team members.
  • Setting KPIs and other performance goals.
  • Conducting training and evaluations.
  • Hiring and onboarding call center agents.
  • Handling call escalations; addressing customer concerns.

On paper, a prospective call center manager might have all of the above experience. That’s why evaluating soft skills for this role is so critical.

7 Skills to Look For in a Call Center Manager

Clear communication.

Managers must communicate with many different parties on a daily basis, including agents, customers, executives, stakeholders, and more. It’s important they have the flexibility to address each party clearly and concisely in a tactful fashion.

Emotional intelligence.

An effective call center manager should have the ability to handle customers and employees, no matter the situation. Since the call center industry is known for high attrition rates, managers play a key role in retaining strong agents. This requires empathy, which can be helpful when providing constructive feedback and support.

Analytical skills.

Call centers rely on metrics and data, from average handle time to customer satisfaction scores, to ensure quality monitoring and influence business strategy. Call center managers should have the analytical skills to interpret the data and translate them into actionable insights.

Self-awareness.

One of the top causes for agent attrition is poor management. A good call center manager recognizes opportunities for self-improvement, whether it’s through further training or more time on the floor to gather insights. They should also be open to receiving feedback from team members.

Decision making.

Call center managers should have enough intuition and confidence to make tough decisions that ensure smooth operations and efficiency. They should feel comfortable making important decisions, whether for hiring agents or picking the right call center technology.

Time management.

Call center managers have a long list of duties, and only so much time in the day. Time management skills are essential to help managers stay on track, delegate tasks when needed, and ensure call center goals are met.

Technical skills.

Up-to-date and innovative call center software is essential to meet and surpass the competition. Call center managers should have basic technical skills (or be willing to learn them) to figure out how to use and optimize call center technology. Luckily, Fonolo’s Voice Call-Backs and data-rich reporting from the Fonolo Portal are both intuitive.

How to Hire the Right Call Center Manager

Call center managers can learn a lot on the job, but your best bet is to hire one with a strong foundation of skills to ensure success in the role. Here are some tips to help you hire a great call center manager:

Hire from within.

Nobody knows your call center better than the people currently working in it. Assess agent performance and experience, and ask yourself: are any agents ready to advance into a management role? Not only does this help you find someone already well-versed on your center’s processes, goals, and unique issues — it also supports employee engagement, as a lack of career advancement is a top reason for attrition.

Gather advice from your network.

Call center leaders have a wide network- from internal call center executives to contacts in industry associations. If you don’t have anyone in mind for a call center management role, your network might offer a strong referral.

Nail the job posting and description.

If you must hire externally, pay special attention to your job posting. You should include industry-standard qualifications, as well as requirements that your contact center currently could use. For example, if you have a high agent attrition rate, you’ll want to make sure that your posting clearly indicates a need for a candidate with extensive experience in managing a team. If your call center is on a downward trend in customer satisfaction, you should emphasize analytical skills and customer service experience in your ad.

You might also consider adding relevant keywords to your job posting to ensure prospective candidates can access it:

  • Customer service manager
  • Call center
  • Operations manager
  • Customer Service
  • Call center manager

Some typical call center manager job postings include the following qualifications:

  • Several years of customer service and management experience
  • Experience working in a call center
  • Demonstrated experience in building and motivating a team
  • Experience working with up-to-date call center technology
  • Excellent organization and analytical skills

Ask the right interview questions.

The interview is your most insightful look into how a candidate will perform in a call center management role. You should ask them specific interview questions and request examples demonstrating:

  • Call center experience
  • Team management experience
  • Evidence of improving call center operations or agent performance

Catch red flags quickly.

In the recruiting and hiring stages, you might notice a few key indicators that a candidate won’t be a good fit. Look out for these call center management red flags:

  • Lack of specific examples demonstrating experience
  • Passivity or lack of eye contact
  • Overly negative descriptions of past employers, team members, or customers
  • Avoiding questions
  • Weak understanding of call center industry terminology, like service level, call volume, workforce management, first-call resolution (FCR), etc.

Embrace onboarding best practices.

Hiring a strong candidate isn’t all you need to secure an effective call center manager. Your next step is giving them the best onboarding experience possible so that they can jump into the role smoothly and confidently.

Here are some quick tips for onboarding to help your new manager thrive:

  • Tailor the onboarding strategy to the candidate’s specific experience and needs
  • Make time for regular one-on-one meetings
  • Offer interactive, gamified training
  • Keep track of management performance

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