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7 Habits of Highly Effective Contact Center Managers

The late Stephen Covey wrote one of the most influential business management books of all time. The idea of intentional progress resulting in growth, change and constant improvement resonates in more than just a professional career. Consider the positive benefits of applying the same intention to the contact center to improve the overall customer experience. By translating his principles to the call center, we get these seven habits of highly effective contact center managers:

  1. Find Benchmarks“We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice.”
    It’s okay to research how other centers are performing. Benchmarks allow you to evaluate your current performance and aim to do better than your counterparts. The key is to assess the situation to find out if your first call resolution is closer to a third call resolution comparatively and make a conscious decision to move forward.
  2. Begin with a Destination in Mind – “We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind.”
    Where do you see your contact center in one year or even five years? Asking yourself these questions gives you a clear view of what success looks like for your center. Plus, goals allow managers to set expectations for their teams and create accountability within the organization.
  3. Think Like A Customer, Act Like A Performer“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
    Creating a positive customer experience is not a passing fad. Consumer 2.0 dictates call centers put on their “A” game when it comes to service levels and expertise.  All of your processes, people and priorities should work towards creating a best-in-class experience that not only gives customers what they want, but also what they deserve.
  4. Be a Coach – “A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers:  you cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships.”
    Take the time to build relationships within the team. Team building gives agents a sense of community and working together towards a same goal of increasing customer satisfaction. Also, don’t limit coaching to a manager-agent dynamic. Allow your senior agents to be coaches too. Agents will walk away more knowledgeable on best practices and additional resources to help improve the customer experience.
  5. Take Action“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.”
    Remember, all of your planning is for not if it isn’t put into action. Effective call center managers understand how intentional progress drives performance and productivity.
  6. Remember Timing Is Everything“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
    Time is a valuable resource in the call center. With priorities being juggled around call volume, virtual inquiries, social media, training and important communication updates, scheduling can become a manager’s nightmare. But remember, adding things to a to-do list is a reactive approach to management. Be proactive and schedule priorities for your center. This means determining which items take precedence to get you to a goal of a first-rate customer experience faster.
  7. Look to Always Be ImprovingLive out of your imagination, not your history.”
    A call center manager’s job is never done. Constantly looking for ways to improve is exactly the type of tenacity a center needs to increase performance and wow customers.

Use these seven habits of highly effective contact center managers to help guide your organization on its journey of improving customer satisfaction and customer experience.

What do you think are some additional habits of effective managers? I’d love to hear your input below.

 

About the author

Matt McConnell

Matt is chairman, president and CEO of Intradiem. Matt co-founded Intradiem in 1995 with a vision of helping companies increase the level of customer service they deliver by improving the performance of their agents. Today, Intradiem is a leader in its market with more than 300,000 call center agents around the world using Intradiem every day. Matt is the author of the book Customer Service at a Crossroads and holds 11 software patents. He graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in industrial and systems engineering.

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