10 Proven Strategies for Effective Call Center Management
By Natália Mrázová
| 23. July 2020 |
People management
By N. MrázováNatália Mrázová
| 23 Jul 2020 |
People management
    By N. MrázováNatália Mrázová
    | 23 Jul 2020
    People management

    10 Proven Strategies for Effective Call Center Management

    illustration how to get a business phone number MAIN

    A call center is often the first point of contact clients have with your business, as well as the most consistent point of contact throughout clients’ dealings with your business. In fact, 61% of people stop doing business with brands that have poor customer service. In order to avoid falling into this group, a call center manager practically has to be a virtuoso in his field.

    An army, however fearsome, is worthless without a competent commander. The same is true for sales teams. 

    Call center management is hard work. It requires constant market monitoring, quick, decisive action, and the creation and maintenance of a friendly, yet professional work atmosphere. Luckily, there are a few things call centre managers can do to achieve that. Let’s start with the basics.

    Why exactly is call centre management vital?

    Since the customer-oriented era started, ‘selling satisfaction’ has been key for generating income and developing a strong brand image. 59% of people have higher expectations for customer service now than they had a year ago, so living up to their expectations is a real challenge. 

    As a call centre manager, you probably take care of your own tasks and also make time to attend to the needs of your employees. And rightly so. But you should do everything you can to ensure your responsibilities are carried out in as efficient a manner as possible. The success of your call center depends on it.

    Managing a call centre — best practices

    To boost the performance of your agents, you might want to try something new — something that will take your call center to the next level. Here are 10 tips that will help you improve your call centers’ operations across the board.

    #1 Hire the best employees 

    Recruiting quality talent is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your call center. Employees should be enthusiastic about their work, and always willing to put their best foot forward during shifts. 

    What can I do as a call center manager?

    In order to maximize your chances of hiring the best employees, have your HR team develop standard protocols for hiring. These could be an established interview chain, a work sample test procedure, you name it. At the end of the day, your company is only as strong as the employees that drive it forward, so you should do everything you can to find people who’ll be as invested in the success of your business as you are. 

    #2 Provide thorough onboarding and training 

    Just as nobody’s born knowing how to tie their shoes, nobody you hire will know the ins and outs of your business from the get-go. Both require knowledge that must be taught — and that’s where onboarding comes in. The first step of a successful onboarding procedure should be having the new hire become acquainted with all of their team members. These can be relatively short 1-to-1 meetings wherein both parties discuss the areas in which they may work together moving forward. 

    Increase your call center productivity

    What can I do as a call center manager?

    New hires should also meet regularly with their manager during their probation period, as a way of making sure they’re staying on track and meeting all of their goals. 

    #3 Create a friendly atmosphere at work

    Keeping things casual around the office is key to having a relaxed, happy call center team. 

    What can I do as a call center manager?

    One way you can keep things loose is to start every all-hands meeting with an icebreaker. These don’t have to be anything too clever — if you hold meetings on Mondays, for example, you could simply ask your team members what they did over the weekend. These sorts of team bonding efforts, however small they may seem, go a long way in fostering a friendly work environment where people feel comfortable sharing ideas and collaborating closely on projects.  

    #4 Don’t pinch pennies with workshops

    It should come as no surprise that engaged workers who feel at home in their workplace tend to drive better results than those who don’t. 

    According to a recent survey, employees who are committed to their job are 20% more productive and gain 10% more customer loyalty

    If you want to have a team whose work will exceed your expectations, you need to invest in their success. Workshops are a great way to do this, so you should find room for them in your budget, if at all possible. Remember, knowledge is the foundation upon which a competent, effective workforce is built. Data supports the importance of quality workshops, too: companies that invest in customer experience observe an improvement in work engagement of about 20%.

    What can I do as a  call centre manager?

    Soft skills are essential in this type of work, so organizing workshops for your staff will definitely pay off. Not only will you boost the performance of your employees, you’ll also show them that you respect the complexity of their work. 

    Before you decide to implement new training methods, do your research and determine which specific needs of your employees should be covered. Training is only effective if it’s relevant for the trainees.

    Create viable career paths for your employees so that they’ll be more willing to put in the effort required for improvement. This can prevent staff fluctuation and forge strong bonds among your team members.

    #5 Be the core of the whole team 

    As a manager, you have to be someone your team can lean on. You should also be able to provide valuable knowledge and advice when called upon. It requires being up to date with all the current trends in your industry, so, naturally, you have to be deeply engaged in your chosen field.

    What can I do as a  call centre manager?

    Don’t forget about your own development. Constantly study and gain new knowledge as a means of building reputability in the eyes of your team. Search for courses, read valuable management blogs, books, or magazines, and talk to other call center managers and compare your experiences. Stretch yourself beyond your limits and become a role model for your co-workers. In short, lead by example.

    #6 Gather and analyze data within your team

    Where would we be without all of the data we are provided? It’s crucial to analyze your results and draw conclusions in order to improve your team’s work — but you probably know that already.

    Learn about 5 call center metrics for successful benchmarking

    There are two types of data that are essential to know for call center managers:

    • Data concerning your team’s performance. By picking the right metrics to track, you have more control over your teams’ performance. You can read about 5 of the most effective metrics to track here.
    • Data concerning your clients’ history. 76% of people expect agents to know details about their customer journey when calling for help with any particular issue. Collecting such data within one tool makes communication quicker and more relevant, so be sure that your team is provided with such information.

    What can I do as a  call centre manager?

    Set goals and track the relevant metrics so you know what to change or what to teach your agents. Set realistic KPIs so you have a realistic understanding of your call center’s performance. Creating a satisfaction survey within your clients is a good way to gain insights from your own customer base.

    Dealing with all of the data you’ve collected can be overwhelming, so don’t do it alone. There are a plethora of tools to help you sift through data and figure out what’s most important — fast. 

    CloudTalk, for example, is integrated with popular e-commerce and CRM tools that synchronize automatically, so you can be sure that your customers’ profiles won’t pop up as blank pages in your client database.

    #7 Encourage your team to think out-of-the-box

    Make sure none of your clients feel as though they’re just another caller — think of them as individuals who are important to your business. 55% of customers become attached to a brand and remain loyal because of good customer support, 73% because of friendly customer service reps, and 36% thanks to personalized experiences.

    It’s ok to prescript replies to common queries so that every employee can communicate in a way that is consistent with your brand’s image. Just make sure the replies have a personal touch. 

    If scripting isn’t working for your agents, try giving them the autonomy to develop conversations in the way they see fit. With the right agents, this can be a very effective way of doing business.

    What can I do as a  call center manager?

    Give your employees guidelines but don’t expect them to stick to those guidelines in every circumstance. In the worst cases, this kind of stale customer service can actually cost you a client. Be sure to customize (and personalize!) the pre-recorded messages your clients hear when agents are unavailable. 

    By using call center systems with features such as call flow designer, you can set customer greetings or provide circumstance-specific information thanks to multi-level IVR (Interactive Voice Response). Take care of your clients 24 hours a day by adding pre-recorded messages to be played for clients outside of regular working hours. 

    #8 Try to be as easy to reach as possible

    Bringing down the borders between your clients and employees is key to gaining additional points in the eyes of your customer. Budget and distance shouldn’t be an obstacle in your communication. 

    Being easily reachable through landline and mobile is essential, as without it your lead won’t even contact you.  

    What can I do as a call centre manager?

    Give clients a helping hand by using toll-free numbers. Choose a green (0800) or blue (0850) number to enable your clients to call you at very low rates or even for free, no matter where they live. Also, if possible, try to use short numbers that are easy to remember.

    #9 Make sure you always call back

    Nobody likes to be left hanging. As customers, we expect to be respected and heard. As managers, we have to guarantee that those expectations will be met. You have to be able to get back to your customers quickly so they don’t take their business elsewhere.

    33% of consumers are most frustrated by having to wait on hold and 40% of clients want customer service reps to take care of their needs faster. Most of them also prefer to get a response within a day (66% of buyers expect a response within 10 minutes), so leaving a missed call unanswered is an unforgivable sin.

    What can I do as a  call centre manager?

    Encourage your agents to plan their tasks efficiently, so that no client is neglected. Most importantly, provide your workers with an infrastructure that makes callbacks easy — this eases the burden for everyone.

    Make sure that the tool you’re using supports callbacks and adapts to your call centre’s needs (hint: CloudTalk).

    #10 Don’t wait, start improving your call centre’s performance today

    When managed properly, call centres can generate sales and be a real game-changer for a company’s budget.

    In fact, being a manager creates amazing opportunities for the implementation of long-lasting changes that will boost results in a tangible way. Don’t try to take care of everything at once, though. Instead, make a plan and carry it out step by step.

    To help yourself become the best manager you can be, do your research and choose the tool that best fits your team’s needs. We recommend using a robust call center software like CloudTalk, as it allows you to aptly handle many tasks at once — which we’re sure you’ll need to do nearly every day.