10 Positive Ways to Effectively Manage Your Call Center

Manage Call Centers

Effective call center management boils down to dealing with people: managers, agents and customers alike.  Supervisors must constantly be on the lookout for inefficiencies, particularly those that become cancerous, like low morale.  In order to combat negative tendencies that can become deadly habits, consider the 10 positive ways to effectively manage your call center listed below:

[step_graphics style=”5″ color=”#a82929″][step style=”5″ text=”1″ headline=”Affirming”]%3Cp%3EThe%20supervisor%20who%20can%20delegate%20effectively%20demonstrates%20trust%20and%20affirms%20his%20or%20her%20staff.%20%20Now%2C%20the%20supervisor%20can%20delegate%20only%20when%20the%20managers%20are%20trained%20properly%20and%20know%20what%20they%20are%20doing.%20%20An%20affirming%20supervisor%20is%20one%20who%20confidently%20supports%20his%20staff%20by%20giving%20them%20the%20tools%20and%20resources%20to%20make%20the%20decisions%20necessary%20to%20be%20successful.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”2″ headline=”Encouraging”]%3Cp%3EA%20staff%20that%20is%20receiving%20the%20leadership%20it%20needs%20to%20function%20well%20is%20one%20that%20is%20encouraged.%20%20Giving%20encouragement%20one%20to%20another%20allows%20everyone%20to%20acquire%20a%20level%20of%20confidence%20that%20feeds%20on%20itself.%20%20An%20encouraging%20supervisor%20is%20a%20courageous%20one%2C%20one%20who%20shares%20the%20risks%20of%20business%20by%20instilling%20confidence%20in%20the%20abilities%20of%20the%20staff%20through%20giving%20them%20both%20the%20authority%20and%20responsibility%20to%20take%20care%20of%20customer%20needs.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”3″ headline=”Warm”]%3Cp%3EIt%20is%20important%20that%20the%20supervisor%20provide%20warmth%20or%20empathy%20to%20his%20or%20her%20call%20center.%20%20He%20or%20she%20is%20functioning%20as%20a%20thermostat.%20%20How%3F%20%20By%20providing%20understanding%20and%20patience%20in%20times%20when%20sales%20are%20cold%2C%20the%20supervisor%20can%20pivot%20by%20providing%20heat.%20%20The%20heat%20can%20be%20a%20spark%20to%20get%20agents%20back%20on%20the%20phones%20in%20an%20excited%20way.%20%20Or%2C%20the%20supervisor%20can%20stoke%20the%20fire%20of%20sales%20when%20volume%20is%20moderate%20and%20a%20squirt%20of%20lighter%20fluid%20would%20fan%20the%20flames.%20%20Clearly%2C%20if%20the%20supervisor%20is%20empathetic%2C%20he%20or%20she%20shows%20caring%20or%20warmth%20for%20a%20staff%20that%20is%20paid%20and%20incentivized%20to%20succeed.%20%20Sometimes%2C%20showing%20warmth%20is%20exactly%20what%20the%20staff%20needs.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”4″ headline=”Growth”]%3Cp%3EProviding%20growth%2C%20as%20a%20goal%2C%20is%20an%20essential%20part%20of%20effective%2C%20call%20center%20management.%20%20%20It%20goes%20without%20stating%2C%20but%20ensuring%20that%20the%20center%20is%20moving%20forward%20by%20growing%20business%20must%20be%20a%20conscious%20decision%20by%20the%20supervisor.%20%20More%20specifically%2C%20the%20numbers%20are%20critical%2C%20but%20growing%20the%20numbers%20for%20the%20sake%20of%20the%20numbers%20can%20be%20a%20dead%20end%20proposition.%20%20It%20is%20important%20for%20every%20supervisor%20to%20know%20how%20the%20numbers%20are%20achieved%20so%20that%20proper%20managerial%20decisions%20can%20be%20made%20when%20necessary.%20%20Inconsistent%2C%20staff%20performance%20can%20be%20the%20result%20of%20poor%2C%20supervisory%20management%20if%20the%20supervisor%20doesn%E2%80%99t%20know%20what%20it%20takes%20to%20grow%20the%20business%20and%20the%20staff.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”5″ headline=”Loving”]%3Cp%3EYou%20might%20be%20thinking%3A%20what%3F%20%20Love%20has%20no%20place%20here.%20%20It%E2%80%99s%20business.%20%20Well%2C%20it%20can%20appear%20that%20way%2C%20but%20letting%20the%20staff%20know%20that%20they%20are%20loved%20and%20appreciated%20goes%20a%20long%20way%20to%20building%20positive%20morale%20on%20the%20floor.%20%20Have%20you%20ever%20heard%20the%20saying%2C%20%E2%80%9CPeople%20don%E2%80%99t%20care%20what%20you%20know%20until%20they%20know%20that%20you%20care%3F%E2%80%9D%20%20Work%20on%20showing%20a%20sacrificial%20kind%20of%20love%20for%20your%20call%20center%20staff%2C%20one%20that%20takes%20the%20blame%20when%20things%20go%20wrong%20and%20one%20that%20gives%20credit%20when%20it%20is%20earned.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”6″ headline=”Fair”]%3Cp%3EWhen%20leading%20your%20call%20center%2C%20make%20sure%20that%20you%20are%20fair%20and%20reasonable%20when%20providing%20boundaries.%20%20Being%20fair%20and%20reasonable%20makes%20you%20human%20and%20relatable%2C%20giving%20you%20leverage%20to%20intervene%20when%20required.%20%20Also%2C%20by%20being%20fair%20and%20reasonable%2C%20you%20are%20able%20to%20avoid%20appearances%20of%20being%20rigid%20and%20inflexible.%20%20In%20sports%2C%20this%20kind%20of%20coach%20is%20called%20a%20%E2%80%9Cplayer%E2%80%99s%20coach.%E2%80%9D%20%20A%20player%E2%80%99s%20coach%20is%20one%20who%20relates%20well%20to%20the%20players%20by%20being%20relationally%20focused.%20%20Whether%20you%20are%20a%20taskmaster%20or%20a%20player%E2%80%99s%20coach%2C%20be%20fair%20and%20reasonable%20when%20you%20are%20setting%20limits.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”7″ headline=”Well%20Explained”]%3Cp%3EMake%20sure%20that%20the%20rules%20are%20well%20explained.%20%20As%20a%20supervisor%2C%20it%20is%20your%20job%20(among%20many)%20to%20ensure%20that%20the%20boundaries%20of%20your%20staff%20are%20clearly%20defined.%20%20Get%20feedback%20from%20them%2C%20especially%20if%20you%20sense%20there%20is%20any%20misunderstanding.%20%20Ask%20them%20directly%3B%20don%E2%80%99t%20wait%20for%20mistakes%20to%20occur%20before%20clarity%20is%20provided.%20%20Your%20call%20center%20is%20depending%20on%20you%20to%20provide%20the%20structure%20they%20need%20to%20be%20successful.%20%20Explain%20to%20them%20what%20is%20required%20and%20expected.%20%20Watch%20them%20line%20their%20pockets%20with%20bonus%20money.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”8″ headline=”Consistency”]%3Cp%3EConsistently%20enforcing%20the%20boundaries%20makes%20for%20a%20predictable%20supervisor.%20%20Being%20predictable%20give%20the%20staff%20a%20measure%20of%20comfort%20because%20they%20know%20the%20rules%20and%20can%20predict%20your%20response%20when%20you%20consistently%20enforce%20them.%20%20A%20mistake%20often%20made%20by%20rookie%20managers%20is%20allowing%20themselves%20to%20be%20manipulated%20by%20veteran%20agents.%20%20The%20agents%20will%20test%20the%20resolve%20of%20the%20rookie%20manager%20to%20see%20what%20rules%20matter%20to%20the%20manager%20what%20rules%20don%E2%80%99t%2C%20if%20any.%20%20They%20will%20test%20the%20manager%20until%20they%20either%20get%20what%20they%20want%2C%20get%20disciplined%2C%20or%20get%20the%20manager%20disciplined.%20%20In%20any%20case%2C%20make%20sure%20you%20are%20consistent%20when%20applying%20the%20rules%20to%20your%20call%20center%20staff.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”9″ headline=”Constructive%20Talk”]%3Cp%3EAs%20a%20supervisor%2C%20you%20will%20have%20plenty%20of%20teaching%20moments.%20%20It%20is%20your%20job%20to%20see%20to%20it%20that%20your%20staff%20knows%20what%20to%20do%20at%20the%20right%20time%20to%20provide%20the%20best%20possible%20customer%20service.%20%20Being%20constructive%20with%20corrective%20action%20means%20to%20correct%20undesirable%20behavior%20in%20a%20positive%20way.%20%20Do%20you%20best%20to%20avoid%20harsh%20and%20critical%20talk%20to%20get%20your%20point%20across%20to%20your%20staff.%20%20Utilize%20creative%2C%20articulate%20language%20to%20inspire%20your%20team%20to%20make%20the%20necessary%20changes%20to%20be%20successful.%20%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”10″ headline=”Praise%20Success”]%3Cp%3EMoreover%2C%20praise%20success!%20%20Perhaps%20%2310%20is%20the%20easiest%20ways%20of%20all%3F%20%20When%20anyone%20in%20your%20call%20center%20does%20an%20excellent%20job%2C%20reward%20that%20person%20with%20confirmation%20in%20front%20of%20his%20or%20her%20peers.%20%20Take%20the%20time%20to%20make%20an%20example%20out%20of%20this%20person%20through%20praise.%20%20How%20often%20have%20we%20seen%20the%20opposite%3F%20%20A%20bullying%20manager%20will%20make%20an%20example%20of%20a%20poorly%20performing%20agent%20by%20shaming%20him.%20%20Sometimes%2C%20shame%20works.%20%20But%2C%20it%20is%20a%20risky%20move.%20%20By%20shaming%2C%20the%20manager%20is%20personalizing%20the%20poor%20performance%20by%20making%20the%20agent%20into%20a%20bad%20person.%20%20The%20agent%20is%20not%20a%20bad%20person%3B%20the%20agent%20performed%20poorly.%20%20It%E2%80%99s%20a%20huge%20difference%20and%20worth%20noting.%20%20So%2C%20at%20least%20praise%20your%20highly%20performing%20managers%20and%20agents%2C%20especially%20if%20you%20elect%20to%20cite%20their%20poor%20performances.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][/step_graphics]

Taking positive steps to achieve desired success can be most effective in managing call centers.  No one like a beat down, even if it’s deserved.  But, if you managers and supervisors can stem the tide of negativity by showing a sacrificial love to your staff, you might be surprised to what lengths they will go to prove their appreciation for you.

I hope you found value from this call center best practice article.  If you did, please use the share buttons above the article to spread the information.  Also we want your feedback and opinion.  Please use the comments below to let us know what you think.

All The Best,

Greg Meares

 

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About the Author: Greg Meares

As a Sr. Consultant for Performance Connections, Inc., Greg's primary objective is to provide value to organizations that are focused on raising brand awareness. Additionally Greg works on improving the customer experience, through business process re-engineering, and call center best practices. Greg is an industry expert and is often called upon to provide his analysis and solution oriented approach to improving performance in the BPO and Call Center industry.

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