Effective customer service is highly dependent on contact center management. It’s your leadership team that’s responsible for the direction of your company. Unfortunately, 77% of companies are currently experiencing a leadership gap.
Without solid management, your contact center can struggle to accomplish even the most basic tasks: hiring, satisfying customers, and increasing profit. But when companies take the time to train their managers, the results speak for themselves:
- 114% higher sales
- 70% lower turnover
- 71% higher customer satisfaction
- 90% lower absenteeism
Now that we have emphasized how important your leadership team is, let’s take a deeper look at your contact center managers: who they are, what they do, what skills they need, and how they can be successful.
What is a contact center manager?
A contact center manager is in charge of hiring, training, monitoring, and motivating contact center agents. They are responsible for crafting goals and setting objectives for the contact center that align with the overall organization’s goals. As leaders, they should provide reliable, efficient, and effective support to staff and customers, which leads to better performance and improved service quality.
A contact center manager should have the comprehensive knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to establish effective processes. In the end, they are responsible for how customers perceive your business and emotionally connect to your brand.
Depending on the size of your contact center and the needs of your organization, managers can lead either a small team of agents or oversee and manage your entire contact center. Whatever the case, they have the difficult job of balancing metrics and relationships to positively impact the company’s bottom line.
What is usually included in a contact center manager job description?
What does a contact center manager do according to their job description?
Contact center managers assist senior management in establishing contact center objectives based on their extensive knowledge of the services, products, and troubleshooting offered within the contact center. They should be exceptional communicators who are detail-oriented and possess a deep understanding of customers, agents, and outstanding customer service.
On a daily basis, contact center mangers supervise operations, aim to increase productivity, maximize efficiency, and promote cost-effectiveness. They solve problems, look at the big picture, analyze data, and adjust to processes as needed. The main goal of contact center management should be to lead their team toward achieving their goals.
Contact Center Manager Responsibilities
- Develop contact center objectives and goals based on overall organization goals.
- Monitor agent processes and the effectiveness of day-to-day activities.
- Hire, train, and coach contact center agents/representatives in their day-to-day jobs as they provide customer support.
- Inspire employee morale and decrease employee turnover.
- Motivate employees to improve performance and increase productivity.
- Communicate strategic objectives while ensuring compliance.
- Guide agents through difficult issues, angry customers, and complaints.
- Implement and lead team meetings.
- Set agent expectations in regard to processes and practices.
- Provide appropriate tools, technology, and resources to produce quality work.
- Budget and track expenses and resources (people, technology, etc.).
- Collect and analyze contact center statistics, identify contact center trends, and conduct quality assurance (QA).
- Prepare performance and KPI reports for upper management.
- Take on other tasks and projects related to employee support, customer experience, and contact center operations.
Contact Center Manager Skills
As you can see, contact center management faces many challenges that demand attention. They must be able to handle a little bit of everything, from staff attrition to customer experience, productivity, and continuous quality assurance. All of this means that there are many skills pivotal to contact center management success.
In particular, there are seven essential contact center management skills.
- Customer Service: Contact center managers are directly responsible for customer service. They are the first and last line of defense when it comes to satisfaction, and must be able to handle customer inquiries, complaints, and solve problems.
- Empower Others: Leaders who empower their employees are more likely to be trusted and encourage a more proactive workforce. They are engaged in driving success.
- Employee Monitoring and Training: A successful contact center manager must be able to consistently track employee performance, identify issues, and adjust processes to ensure success. This requires the ability to develop training programs that solve performance and goal-related issues.
- Effective Communication: Communication is one of the most important contact center manager skills because it is how leaders drive the company’s vision. Managers must be able to inspire, motivate, and persuade.
- Problem-Solving: Customers can get angry and frustrated. A leader’s role is to keep a level head, reduce conflict, and solve all problems before they get out of hand. The key is proactive problem-solving.
- Demonstrate Integrity: Contact center managers must demonstrate honesty, integrity, and prioritize morality. The idea is to have these leaders’ practice what they preach, always demonstrating ethical behavior.
- Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is how managers create a positive culture and improve the customer experience through empathy and likability. This skill is critical to building meaningful relationships.
What metrics should a contact center manager care about?
One of the greatest responsibilities and most important skills in a contact center manager’s arsenal is the ability to monitor employee performance. This requires leaders to be able to collect and analyze contact center metrics to identify trends, prepare KPI-focused reports, conduct quality assurance, and make adjustments to improve processes and the customer experience.
The key is focusing on the right contact center metrics. Average call duration, resolution time, and number of calls only tell you part of the story. There are other QA metrics—measured using a quality evaluable technique such as Scorebuddy’s scorecards—that offer better value.
- Net Promoter Score: NPS measures customer loyalty and can provide valuable insight into how your agent performance metrics stand up to the customer experience.
- First Call Resolution: This metric should replace average handle time metrics because it offers a better understanding of how customers feel after an interaction with you.
- Empathy Cultivation: You need to monitor whether your agents are empathetic and how well they display that empathy. Was your agent interested in what the customer had to say, did they actively listen, and were they flexible?
- Go Above and Beyond: Satisfied customers are those who had experiences that went above and beyond their expectations. These metrics should look at how well your agents met the customer’s needs and wowed them.
- Company Procedures: A contact center manager’s job is to ensure their staff always follows company procedures. This requires business-critical metrics that look at how well an employee knows and does their job.
- Provide Value: Managers are in charge of customer satisfaction and the bottom line. This means they need to monitor the value that their agents provide to customers, including meeting needs through sales. Metrics should measure whether agents offered upgrades and sales that would help the customer.
Non-quantitative quality assurance metrics, like those outlined above, are far more effective at measuring and improving performance in the contact center. These metrics review both agent and customer behavior to pinpoint deficiencies and proficiencies within the contact center to develop behaviors and processes that lead to a great customer service experience.
What are some habits of highly effective contact center managers?
With so many expectations placed on contact center management, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and overworked. Managers are responsible for keeping their teams enthusiastic, motivated, and successful, which is not easy. So how can contact center management do what needs to be done to create the best possible experience?
- Hire the Best People: If you find and hire positive employees who are already good at listening and problem solving, you are on the right path.
- Finely Tune Onboarding: Once you hire the right people, they need to go through a detailed onboarding process that provides them with the tools they need to succeed.
- Retain Good Employees: Contact centers tend to have high turnover rates, but if you value and appreciate your employees, they are more likely to stick around.
- Keep Up to Date on Technology: Contact center technology changes regularly. You need to stay on top of technological advances and implement new resources as needed.
- Targeted Coaching/Training: Employees deserve individualized coaching that suits their needs and is engaging (consider these contact center training games).
- Communicate Well: Talk to your people on a regular basis to let them know that you are available for help, what you expect of them, and what they can expect from you.
- Think Like a Customer: Streamline your processes and behaviors to 100% focus on the customer’s needs.
- Think Like an Agent: Put yourself in your agent’s shoes so that you can better handle their concerns.
- Make Data-Based Decisions: Establish your goals and objectives based on KPIs and proper metrics, designed to help you make better decisions.
What are some tips for remote contact center managers?
Even before COVID-19, 50% of the workforce telecommuted at least part time. So, how do all these responsibilities, skills, metrics, and habits relate to remote contact center managers? Easy!
While remote contact centers face unique challenges in terms of work/life balance and cost savings, many of the basic principles remain the same. It is still about building trust, inspiring, influencing, engaging, training, and running a contact center team. But if you want to be a better virtual manager, here are 11 tips for success.
- Collaborate: Remote leaders must initiate contact and collaboration daily.
- Encourage: Set your team up for success by encouraging your remote agents to make choices and decisions within your pre-built contact center framework.
- Create Accountability: Effective remote contact center managers ensure that all responsibilities, expectations, and commitments are transparent.
- Be Accessible: Be accessible always for feedback, recognition, and coaching.
- Actively Listen: Demonstrate empathy and provide balanced responses to situations by carefully listening and evaluating all sides of the problem.
- Develop a Sense of Purpose: Set clear expectations so that agents know what they need to do to succeed.
- Put QA Systems in Place: Monitor team and individual performance daily through QA evaluation tools.
- Keep in Touch: Interact with your team daily to share information, problem-solve, and make decisions.
- Provide Autonomy: Provide your agents with the structure, guidance, and parameters they need to get their job done without you looking over their shoulders.
- Build Relationships: Build trust in your remote environment by providing opportunities to interact individually and as a group through face-to-face interactions, video, collaborative software, email, etc.
- Leverage Technology: Implement powerful technology to conduct meetings, share information, and simplify processes for all agents.
Successful contact center management is not easy, but that means it is more important than ever to get it right. Managers should be equipped to handle every situation that comes their way with the tools, skills, and resources they need.