The contact center team leader plays a pivotal role in determining the success or failure of a business. They manage one of the most critical departments of the company, dealing with both operational and interpersonal challenges every day.
How does one become the best sales manager in a contact center? In this guide, we’ll list sales team management and call center management tips that can help elevate how you and your team perform each day.
Give Your Agents Autonomy
No one wants to come to a job where they feel they have no agency. Over 75% of voluntary turnover of staff in the industry can be traced to the influence of managers.
To hit those coveted KPIs, customer service managers often restrict staff on how they should perform their job. It’s OK to set guidelines, but when you enforce too many rules agents need to follow, they feel powerless when a situation outside the norm arises.
Give your agents as much autonomy as you can, from allowing them to choose their break hours to stripping back any unnecessary rules on how they must perform their job.
A VoIP phone system makes this much easier to do, as you have better control over inbound call queues with skills-based routing, and agents can even work remotely while being plugged into the same system.
Empathy in Contact Center Leadership
Contact centers employ a diverse group of people from all cultural backgrounds. Everyone on the floor has their own work style, personality traits, and workplace ambitions. This sometimes leads to friction between staff, and it’s your job to diffuse issues. Similarly, you must work out why specific staff are underperforming and find ways to help them improve.
Understanding where each staff member is coming from is vital. If you can understand the agent’s perspective, you can better develop solutions to the problem. And because the team member can see you recognize why they’re upset or struggling, they’re much more likely to get on board with the action plan you come up with together.
Empower Your Agents With the Best Tools
To get the best results from your team, give them the best tools to perform their job. Discuss with your team what they like about your current systems and what they find a hindrance. Many of the day-to-day tasks a sales or support agent performs can be automated with the right software, freeing them to focus on the tasks that matter.
Some of the most effective tools that save agents time include:
- Software phones
- Automated texting
- Voicemail drop
- Integrated customer relationship management
- VoIP for remote work
Team members with the right tools perform better and feel better about their job. Empowered to be the best customer support they can be, they feel more invested in their work, and it shows in the daily successes they achieve.
Foster a Fun Atmosphere
As the team leader, you set the tone of the workplace atmosphere. Contact centers can be tough places to work, with often difficult shifts and pressure to meet targets. Look for ways to relieve this stress by introducing challenges, games, and non-work-related team activities into the schedule.
Not everyone will be on board with this approach at first, and it’s easy to come across as condescending or distracting if you overdo it, so take things slow if you’re joining an established team as a new manager.
Call Monitoring and Training
Your team needs the right tools, but so do you. Software that shows KPIs and breaks down where bottlenecks are occurring is vital for you to understand how your contact center is performing and where you should best focus your efforts.
Training can be best handled using call coaching tools that allow you to listen to calls, talk to agents without the customer hearing your input, and take over a call when necessary.
For ongoing assessments and one-to-ones, call recording is a useful tool. You can go through previous calls with agents and discuss where they can potentially improve.
Consider Your Reward Schemes
Offering rewards for the best performance can build fun in the contact center and help to drive up performance. Be wary of creating a hyper-competitive atmosphere, though, or publicly embarrassing poor-performing agents.
Giving the agent who makes the most calls a juicy prize might sound like a good idea, but it can backfire. Perhaps one experienced agent is often tasked with answering the more tough calls because they have the requisite knowledge. With a poorly-thought-out reward scheme, this person will feel at a disadvantage and that their work is undervalued.
It’s often better to set up team-based rewards where everyone gets the bonus if they meet a target together. This greatly incentivizes teamwork, and your staff will naturally come up with new and innovative ways to perform better together. Include yourself as one of the reward recipients so you can motivate yourself, and your team will find your interest in hitting the targets infectious.
Perfect Your Staffing Choices
An understaffed call center leads to overstretched agents, missed targets, a hostile atmosphere, and high employee turnover. On the other hand, overstaffing leads to boredom, stress over job security, disengagement, and pressure to demonstrate productivity.
A hosted VoIP contact center solution offers several ways to overcome these challenges. You can scale up and down your operations as and when you need to. Agents can work in different offices, on the road, or at home, thanks to the cloud-based system. Advanced call queues can route incoming calls to available agents wherever they are, minimizing downtime. And the call center analytics and reporting give you a high-level overview of where bottlenecks are occurring.
Great contact center leaders use the right software tools for the job. They offer their agents the tools they need to perform at their best, fostering a fun, rewarding atmosphere based on staff feedback. It takes time to mold a team into the perfect unit, but an outstanding call center leader can get the best out of any group of people.