To get your call center closer to success, you need a clear vision of call center management best practices.
Not only that, but you need to set in place a set of management strategies that require a bit more work.
Luckily, several call center software tools can help you achieve better call center productivity and effectiveness.
However, for all the pieces to fit together, you need a unifying vision from recruiting agents to overseeing administrative tasks.
In this article, we’ll go over 10 tips to improve call center management for you to discover a safe path to increased call center performance.
As always, The Reporting Engine will provide essential aids throughout your journey.
1. Invest in your recruitment process
Improving call center management starts with hiring the most suitable call center agents.
Indeed, management shouldn’t be a reactive endeavor but a visionary, proactive approach that foresees and avoids problems before they arise.
Moreover, a call center will only be as good as its agents, so paying attention to how they are selected is crucial.
By employing the right ones, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and increase call center productivity without effort.
That being said, you can set yourself up for success by laying the foundation of a thorough recruitment process.
To do that, consider your call center’s objectives and consider the values that guide it.
Then, devise a progressive selection process that includes 2 or 3 interviews to ensure future employees get clearance on culture compatibility, skills, and desire to grow.
Remember: attitude and aptitude should both play a role in deciding whether or not to hire an agent.
The natural ability to communicate, listen, and recall details are just as important as enthusiasm, adaptability, and flexibility.
2. Perfect your onboarding process
Hiring the best people for the job is only half of the secret to success.
The other half is helping these promising agents understand your call center’s customer approach and internal processes.
Consistency is Paramus to call center management, which is why having all your agents attuned to one single process is vital.
A study conducted by Urban Board revealed that standardized onboarding processes lead to 54% higher new agent productivity and a 50% increase in employee retention rate.
That’s why you should provide comprehensive how-to guides and immerse new hires in customer interactions.
You can use a mix of live training and witnessing sessions to help them get acquainted with all the tools, processes, and approaches they should use.
However, since not all interactions can follow a set-in-stone script, it’s crucial to onboard your agents with broader behavioral frames.
For example, dedicate a part of your onboarding process to the importance of customer complaints and frame them as opportunities, not problems.
Helping your agents understand that they should take pride (and pleasure) in assisting clients will make a ton of difference.
After all, no customer wants to speak to an agent who’s visibly distressed or frustrated when trying to solve a problem.
Essentially, your agents should feel at ease with handling any type of customer request without entering panic mode (if they do, revisit tip no. 1).
3. Equipped your employees with the right tools
Navigating call center intelligence can be daunting without the right automation in place.
Imagine a new hire being thrown in a hectic day of customer calls without having the necessary context,
Luckily, tools such as The Reporting Engine help ease the load by providing intelligent solutions to aid call center management.
The first step towards increased call center productivity and better management?
Equipping your employees with the right tools will make it easier for them to satisfy customers.
With software such as The Reporting Engine, agents will be able to make sense of the most complex situation and take action immediately.
For managers, providing the right tools to employees translates into higher resolution rates and better results per call agent.
Ultimately, the approach will lead not only to happy customers but also to happy employees.
4. Fine-tune your call center’s work schedule
Effective call center management needs to consider (and implement) a realistic work schedule that is sensible to employees and customers alike.
No matter how well-prepared your agents might be, remember that they do need downtime to recharge to their best selves.
No one can consistently keep up a top-notch performance without adequate rest.
Pushing your agents to the limit will lead to burnout, which will either transform into less productivity or dissatisfaction.
Usually, it leads to a combination of both, which culminates with quitting.
Thus, balancing agent shifts is a vital puzzle piece from the bigger management picture.
Of course, calculating downtime and fitting agent availability to eliminate gaps is no easy task.
Fortunately, call center software such as The Reporting Engine can once again be of tremendous help.
For example, The Reporting Engine’s overhead calculator can aid managers in balancing this critical aspect without affecting business hours.
The software will help you understand how to distribute agent staff according to the level of service required during a specific month.
Without surprise, holiday seasons tend to be more crowded, meaning you should manage these with increased attention.
From here on, it’s up to you to discuss internally the best approaches that will work for your agents.
An excellent way to ease the load of agents is to devise several shorter shifts during the most demanding business periods.
For example, instead of entire 8-hours shifts, devise 4-hour shifts to offer plenty of time for a mental recharge.
5. Nurture a feedback culture
The best managers are seldom those who blindly follow a course of action.
Instead, the most efficient managers are flexible and nurture a free communication culture in which honesty is valued above all else.
If there’s one thing to remember about call center management, make it be this: there’s no better strategy than listening to feedback.
Feedback is the building block for improvement, laying a path towards better customer services and increased employee satisfaction.
On the one hand, by listening to what your customers have to say, you can improve your processes to meet their needs and outperform your competitors.
On the other hand, by listening to what your agents say, you can enhance your productivity and drive employee retention.
However, to receive feedback, managers must be willing to lead the efforts.
According to an article on Forbes, “four out of 10 workers are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback”.
6. Leverage the power of data
Having the right call center software is essential not only for your agents’ productivity but for your very own success.
As a call center manager, you need to keep a constant overview of everything and monitor critical statistics.
This means that you need to read into the piles of data your call center generates day in and day out.
This data holds essential information about what drives your successor — on the contrary — what draws you back.
Simply put, data can lead to operational insights, which, in turn, outline the path towards better results.
Of course, making sense of data is not a one-man task.
Making sense of data is not even a one-team task.
Because untangling data is complex, it’s a task for robust call center software such as The Reporting Engine.
With it, you can measure agent performance, generate insightful reports from multiple data sources, coach the coaches, and ultimately make business operations run faster.
Think of it as a boost to your natural abilities — a boost powered by AI and intelligent algorithms which do the job of thousands of people in a matter of seconds.
7. Offer incentives as motivation
A big part of your call center management’s success is directly related to managing agent relationships.
While the first step towards setting them up for success is to provide an in-depth onboarding process, your job as a call center manager doesn’t stop there.
As you build your relationship, you need to devise clever ways to keep agents motivated and interested in maintaining a high level of service.
Here’s where incentives come into play, ensuring a fun way to engage agents and push them to strive for more.
If you’re not comfortable offering financial incentives, know that there are other ways to stimulate your agents.
Creating a gamified incentive program can include rewards that reinforce your company culture and instill your values further.
8. Focus on coaching, not micromanagement
Micromanagement can be highly detrimental to an agent’s ability to trust their own skills and capabilities.
Gradually, it can lead to dissatisfaction and a sense of being constantly watched to be caught on the wrong foot.
The last thing you want is to build a call center management culture based on mistrust and constant supervision.
That’s why you should make a clear differentiation between monitoring performance and coaching agents and constantly intervening to point out mistakes and offer solutions.
The best way to do this is by focusing on individual coaching and enhancing skills for all agents.
Remember that everyone can learn and grow, irrespective of their current performance.
In fact, a LinkedIn Workforce Learning Report revealed that 93% of employees actually stay longer with companies that invest in their growth.
Thus, individually coaching both under-performing and high-performing agents is something you should focus on.
Of course, you need to adapt each coaching session according to performance, building an action plan to tackle areas of struggle.
However, it’s not necessary to shame or devalue agents who you think can improve.
The ultimate goal is to motivate and empower, creating a culture where being wrong is not viewed as a tragedy but as an opportunity to learn.
9. Know when to delegate
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you, as a manager, must do all the work.
While it’s true that you carry the biggest responsibility and you’re accountable for the results your teams deliver, it doesn’t mean that you should be involved in every tiny detail.
Call center effectiveness is driven by managers who use their management skills to direct and paint the bigger picture while delegating smaller tasks to their teams.
A manager who’ll want to do everything all the time will never drive the results they’re after (they’ll only drive themselves mad!).
That’s why delegation is critical. To avoid endless rumination over what tasks to delegate, when, and to whom, set in place a process that can automatically answer these questions when the need arises.
Devise something resembling an agent guidebook or offer selected employees access to important information in your call center software.
Essentially, you want to give your team the freedom and tools they need to implement your high-level strategy and deliver results.
You don’t want to stumble each time a small task appears.
By delegating, you’ll have more time to focus on critical issues that can significantly impact your call center’s success.
10. Master administrative tasks
A manager’s job is never truly done, which makes it quite hard to master.
However, there are ways to balance customer satisfaction, agents’ effectiveness, and organizational tasks.
The secret lies in having powerful call center software to help you through each of these tasks.
Administrative tasks, in particular, tend to be neglected by managers who simply have too much on their plates.
While empowering, coaching, and guiding your teams is more pressing, mundane administrative activities are equally important.
In fact, timesheets, profit margins, and project planning are what provide the basis on which your teams can thrive.
So, instead of hiding these tasks under the rug and hoping for the best, turn to call center software and get them done! In the end, you’ll thank yourself.
Ready to improve your call center management?
Now you’re better equipped to start working on your call center management strategies.
If you’re serious about your efforts, reach out and request a demo of The Reporting Engine.
Its powerful analytics and insights will help you navigate the intricacies of management without the added pressure of making sense of piles of data.