As a call center manager or supervisor, it's important you learn to go beyond your every day tasks and be able to work, inspire and motivate your team to perform to the best of their abilities. Your role goes beyond simply managing day-to-day duties and drills down into your ability to foster a positive work environment where your employees trust and respect your decision-making.
Although many characteristics make up an effective call center manager, there are main six traits that you need to be successful at your job as well as appreciated and respected by your employees.
1. The ability to lead
According to Sarah Stealey Reed, senior call center manager at Deloitte, "Leadership is not just about people; it is about engaging them and being invested in their future."
One of the most important characteristics of an authentic call center leader is, of course, the ability to lead. Inspiring employees to meet goals is just one slice of the equation. With the high rates of staff turnover in contact centers, supervisors face an uphill battle when it comes to motivating employees and promoting a culture of tenure.
Successful call center managers need to make they are leading by example by promoting a good work ethic and by making time for their agents.It's more important than ever to have strong leaders that foster agent engagement and create a working environment that not only challenges but also inspires the agents.
2. Being able to build relationships
You are never going to create a successful team by staying in your ice tower throwing down orders to your call center staff. Relationship building fosters teamwork, creates a positive working environment and increases productivity.
Effective call center leaders understand that the key to leading people is by being personable.
Putting in the time and effort to develop your relationships with your employees will help the working environment to thrive. Not only will it help you better understand their grievances, but it will allow your staff to understand you as well.
3. Desire for continuous skill development
Successful call center managers do not get there by themselves. It takes the whole team working together to meet goals and deadlines. One of the most essential characteristics of an authentic call center leader is one who is always on the lookout for ways to improve not only their skills but those of others as well.
Employees want to see that you are invested in their development. Continuous improvement sets the tone for an enjoyable and evolving working environment.
Arrange for regular training and coaching practices while also working through issues with employees as they arise. This will help to iron out any rough spots and focus on developing fundamental skills to perform their job satisfactorily.
By motivating those around you to develop, it will prevent stagnation in the call center and help your employees to become better at their jobs. It is a win for not only you as a manager, but your customers will experience higher levels of customer service.
4. Being organised
Supervisors in call centers need to be incredibly organised. In fact, you need to thrive off it. No matter the size of the task, if it falls through the cracks, it will disrupt the smooth running of the call center and reflect poorly on your management and leadership skills.
You need to be able to juggle multiple tasks, attend to your employee's needs and step in to help with customer service as needed. Staying organised will help to reduce errors and keep things running smoothly. It will also set a good example for your call center agents who need to be just as organised to work efficiently and give customers outstanding service.
5. Thinking outside of the box
One of the pros of working in a call center is that no two days are the same. Every day you will have to deal with a new curve ball.
Whether that is a sick employee, the phone lines cutting out or having to deal with an irate customer, the ability to think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions is essential.
One of the most in demand characteristics of an authentic call center leader is being able to adapt to these new situations and handle them without a meltdown is what will separate you as an effective or ineffective manager. Dealing with these little day-to-day surprises promptly will keep your call center running smoothly and ensure that the chaos never completely takes over.
6. Being approachable
In the busy call center workplace, it's important that as a leader you are considered approachable. It is an important part of your responsibility to create an environment where your staff do not feel anxious about asking questions or bringing up concerns.
Becoming more approachable can be simple things like exchanging greetings with a smile or maintaining eye contact when speaking.
Or it can involve being a bit more proactive from your side. Even if you have a busy schedule, always make time for your staff. Schedule time to simply walk around the contact center and interacting with employees. It's a great way to encourage your employees to ask you questions and voice their concerns in an informal setting that isn't as intimidating.
While there is no blueprint to becoming an effective call center manager, there is always room for improvement. By focusing on incorporating these five characteristics of an authentic call center leader into your management style, you can help your call center meet it's KPI's while developing your employees.