As a call center manager, it is your job to motivate, encourage, train, and help your agents in whatever way you can. In fact, being a manager that recognizes and inspires employees is the #1 thing you can do to improve the workplace.
Not only are you accountable for all that goes on in the call center, but its success hinges on your success. After all, one in two employees have left their job to get away from a bad manager at some point in their career. That’s why it’s so important that as a manager, you take the necessary time and attention to focus on improving your own skills.
It’s essential that you do not overlook your own learning and development needs as a manager. Instead, inform and build your knowledge as often and as much as you can.
But what does that look like?
The Main Skills a Contact Center Manager Needs
First and foremost, contact center managers need to understand what it takes to be successful. They need to recognize the skills, talents, leadership qualities, and qualifications that it takes to do their jobs well. And while every company is different, there are a few skills that are common among contact center managers.
Emotionally intelligent leaders make better decisions in the workplace and create a culture of learning and empathy. They are also proven to be better at boosting employee satisfaction and customer service. To demonstrate emotional intelligence as a contact center manager, you need to:
- Listen to your agents and be sensitive to their needs
- Demonstrate empathy
- Resolve conflict calmly
- Anticipate agent requests/questions
- Create a collaborative environment where feedback and communication are critical to success.
Listening to your agents and allowing their voices to be heard is one of the most important duties of being a contact center manager. Effective communication is a two-way street that requires you to create a myriad of opportunities to share ideas, discuss performance, collaborate about goals, and share feedback. The key to success is to both schedule meetings and drop-in as needed so that communication is both planned and spontaneous.
To know how well your contact center is performing and to determine if you are meeting business goals, you need to understand call center metrics. Not only is it your job to select the KPIs that you will track and analyze in the contact center, but you will need to present those KPIs to the C-suite to demonstrate the value of your center. Understanding metrics is also critical to maximizing productivity, improving the customer experience, and achieving corporate goals and objectives.
Other Contact Center Manager Skills
There are many other contact center manager skills beyond the three critical skills listed above. They include:
- Customer service skills
- Human resources
- Agent empowerment
- Employee monitoring and training
4 Upskilling Opportunities for Call Center Managers
The biggest challenge most managers face is juggling managing their team with their other responsibilities. It’s a delicate balance that is difficult to achieve, but it comes with many advantages. And now that you know what skills you need as a contact center manager, let’s discuss what you can do to continually improve and develop.
Create an Individual Development Plan
Career pathing is one of the most important steps a contact center manager can take to develop their career. It’s a great way for managers to create a roadmap for their future and to motivate their daily performance. And it starts with an individual development plan (IDP).
An IDP is a simple document that helps managers outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to grow their career. It’s an invaluable tool for reaching the next level of professional development because it breaks everything down into concrete plans while also summing up your current career and your short and long-term goals.
There are just a few steps to get started with an individual development plan.
- Step 1: Outline your career goals and objectives. Think about your passions and what excited you and then write out where you see yourself in six months, one year, and three years.
- Step 2: Take time to get to know your current skills, knowledge, and attributes. Write down your strengths and weaknesses—the good, bad, and ugly—and be as honest as possible.
- Step 3: Brainstorm what you need to do to reach your goals. Outline exactly what concrete steps you can take to get to the next level.
- Step 4: Specifically as possible, write down what you need to do to achieve your goals. List the dates, timelines, costs, and requirements you’ll need to meet to achieve your plan.
In the end, your IDP should only be one to two pages in length, but it should and can be used as a guideline for meeting your professional needs and aspirations as a call center manager.
Take Management Training Boot Camp
An incredible 58% of managers admit they don’t receive any management training. But how can you grow if you don’t learn? A total immersion contact center manager boot camp is a great way to get intensive training in a short amount of time. In less than a week, you can learn new skills, apply your knowledge in a hands-on workshop, and meet other managers who you can share ideas with and learn from.
The key is to choose a boot camp that touches on the management knowledge, tools, strategies, and insight that is most important to you. There are many different options with courses as narrow or broad as needed. Some topics include:
- Call center technology
- Call center metrics and analysis
- Quality monitoring in the call center
- Hiring and staffing
- Training and retention
- Performance improvement
- Forecasting and scheduling
However, even outside of bootcamp, continuous training is essential. Just as you set up regular webinars and courses for your agents, you need to be open to training as well. With an LMS, you can integrate management training into your weekly and monthly schedule, so you are constantly improving.
Earn a Contact Center Manager Certification
Beyond boot camp, there are also certifications available for contact center managers. A certificate is a great way to elevate your contact center management experience and optimize your own training. Plus, it’s a way to get training that’s recognized throughout the industry.
Just be sure to look for a certificate that is recognized by SHRM and includes Professional Development Credits (PDCs), such as the call center manager certificate offered by Benchmark Portal. This type of certificate is professionally crafted by industry experts to touch on the most important aspects of contact center management and can be customized to your specific areas of interest.
Find a Leadership Coach
Good leaders know the importance of great coaching. A coach can inspire you to do better and will take a personal, invested interest in your development and change. A coach is not so much about day-to-day training, but about finding someone who is intentionally focused on helping you grow. They should be able to work with your strengths to help you meet your individual and organizational goals.
The key is to find a coach who can provide constructive feedback on a regular basis. They should be able to honestly and effectively evaluate both your good and bad qualities and then help you improve. The truth is that we cannot always see our own strengths and weaknesses, but a coach can be the outside we need to truly achieve success.
Developing Management is Critical for Improving the Contact Center
Successful contact center managers create successful contact centers. As a contact center manager, it is your responsibility to continually work to improve your department because if you’re not at your best, no one else can be either. That’s because it takes good managers to develop engaged employees. It also takes good managers to achieve your company’s goals.
But if you can take the time to learn and develop the skills of a great manager, then your company can realize:
- 48% increase in profitability,
- 22% increase in productivity,
- 30% increase in employee engagement scores,
- 17% increase in customer engagement,
- And 19% decrease in turnover.