What comes to mind when you think of the ideal call center leader? Organized? Professional? Inspiring? While those are certainly beneficial, the right candidate needs a lot more than that to make it as a successful call center leader.
If you want your agents to consistently meet company goals, you must invest in the right leaders, including managers and supervisors. They must set strong examples of teamwork, work ethic, company values, and of course: customer service.
Easier said than done, right? Being a call center leader is hard work; work that’s vital to ensure a successful call center operation. The cost of investing in the wrong leader is exorbitant– call center attrition and customer dissatisfaction are sure to increase if you do.
Why Investing in the Right Leader is Critical
Call center agents don’t have easy jobs. Their day-to-day work is riddled with angry customers, monotonous scripts, and constant problem-solving. Despite the $330 billion market value of the global call center industry, attrition is worse for call centers than in any other field.
Did you know that ineffective leadership is one of the top reasons for call center attrition? That’s right – call center agents cite ineffective leadership as a leading cause for their leaving.
Ineffective leadership is one of the top causes of agent attrition.
The right call center leader can be the difference between average or severe attrition. The best call center leader retains the strongest agents for a long time, saving valuable company dollars and time in recruitment, onboarding, and training.
In 2022, agent attrition is worse than ever. And, agent engagement continues to be the catalyst for customer loyalty and revenue.
Bottom line? The easiest way to boost employee engagement and retention is to invest in the right call center leader.
5 Skills and Traits Every Call Center Leader Should Have
With so many agents, tasks, and objectives to manage, strong organization skills are key for call center leaders to stay on top of their work. Between call volume forecasting, agent training and performance management, and handling call escalations, even a typical word day can become overwhelming, fast.
Workforce management is one area in particular that benefits from this skill. A good leader should be perceptive to company needs, and be able to take swift action to address challenges. This means staying on top of scheduling, ensuring all staff are equipped with the proper skill-set and knowledge base to support incoming customer queries, and providing support to team members as required.
Patience under pressure.
A patient call center leader can accomplish more in their work than an impatient one. After all, one cannot be successful in this role without keeping a cool head during stressful scenarios.
Here are several common scenarios where patience under pressure pays off:
- Motivating agents; managing team culture.
- Handling customer escalations and complex queries.
- Conducting performance evaluations and providing feedback to agents.
- Building up performance metrics; delivering KPI reports.
Customer experience managers agree that patience is one of the most vital soft skills that surpasses even technical knowledge in importance.
Workplace transitions can turn into utter chaos without proper management. The contact center industry experienced this firsthand during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a dramatic shift to remote and hybrid operations. But transitional periods involving employee turnover, new management, and the adoption of new tools and technology can also have a significant impact on agent morale and performance.
Call center leaders should understand change management well so they can support their employees in this ever-changing industry. With new contact center trends surfacing every year, call center leaders must effectively take new industry information and changes into account and ensure their agents have the support and information they need to continue their work with confidence.
Flexible communication and relationship building.
Communication skills are vital for call center leaders, as their work requires them to interact with many different stakeholders. They need to convey department activities within different contexts depending on who they’re communicating with – whether they’re addressing a customer escalation, managing a vendor relationship, or presenting performance reports to a contact center executive.
Leaders must also be able to build relationships with their agents, so they can better guide their efforts. Agent performance reviews are one area that can be challenging to navigate. A call center leader should deliver encouragement and constructive criticism in a way that helps the agent grow. Of course, each agent will have unique needs and styles, so leaders should be flexible in their delivery for best results.
Hands-on problem solving.
A good leader doesn’t sit on the sidelines and watch when agents are overwhelmed with high call volumes or faulty call center technology.
The best call center leaders are team players. They’re not afraid to jump on the phones and help their teams throughout peak call volumes. If an agent struggles with software, leaders should immediately seek a solution. They might delegate the task to another agent, try to fix the software themselves or call the provider to solve the issue.
DID YOU KNOW?
Fonolo’s Voice Call-Back technology is an excellent example of software that’s reliable, efficient in handling call volumes, and frequently tested to ensure functionality.
So, why does all this matter? A good call center leader has a domino effect on business success. Strong managers lead to more engaged employees, which leads to a 147% higher average of earnings per share than the competition.
Finding someone that embodies all the above five traits isn’t easy. Next up, we’ll discuss some ways you can ensure your call center has the right leaders.
How to Find the Best Call Center Leaders
A candidate might meet some requirements for a management role, but completely lack others. It’s hard to find good talent! Here are some tips to find the best call center leader:
- Prioritize succession planning: Always think about the next manager in the line-up so that you’re not scrambling if a leader finds a new opportunity.
- Ask the right interview questions: Ask candidates about specific examples of their experiences managing teams. In addition, consider your center’s pain points prior to the interview and ask the candidates how they could address them.
- Invest in agents: Give them opportunities to mentor their peers and grow their leadership skills. You might find a strong leader already working on your team!
- Offer competitive benefits: The best talent goes where they’re appreciated. Make sure your job ad lists fair and competitive compensation and flexible work arrangements to attract and retain the best talent.