Working to manage a call center has many moving parts and can often create a feeling of drinking from a firehose for those who are newer to a managerial role. Perhaps you’re already in call center management or an agent aspiring to work your way up and are seeking to learn more about what all is involved. Regardless of your role and level of current understanding, we’ve built this page to help equip you with all of the information you need to know in a simple and straightforward format.
We’ll get started by providing a quick refresher on call center management. We’ll then provide you with insights into the different types of management roles within call centers, tips on how you can effectively manage a call center, essential KPIs, and more.
What is Call Center Management?
Simply put, call center management is how a team of leaders helps run the call center. Management activities include training, coaching guides, onboarding, scheduling, forecasting, and more. The ultimate goal of managers is to ensure an efficient and successful contact center that meets or exceeds key KPIs and drives business goals.
Call Center Management Roles Defined
When it comes to call center managers, there are a few different types of roles that are most common. Let’s look at each of these and provide insights into how they assist with running a thriving contact center.
The first type of call center manager role is the director. Directors are most often responsible for the overall guidance of the contact center. They assist with setting goals for the organization and overseeing managers and supervisors to help work towards meeting those goals.
Managers and Supervisors
Outside of directors, other call center management roles have titles of managers and supervisors. Both roles assist in managing a call center by overseeing the contact center staff. Supervisors and managers are responsible for onboarding, training, hiring, motivation, and monitoring.
How Do You Effectively Manage a Call Center?
Want to manage your call center better? Let’s dive into the most helpful call center management techniques and best practices you can use to improve the customer experience and the performance of your team.
Use Call Monitoring Tools
As a call center manager, you should use call quality monitoring solutions to gain oversight of the performance of your agents. Instead of just hoping that your team of agents is performing well, monitoring tools can provide insights into KPIs about how well your team is doing and how satisfied your customers are. In the next section, we’ll go into detail about some of the KPIs you should be monitoring and the tools to do so.
Ensure Proper Scheduling
Call center managers also have to make sure they schedule their agents properly. The primary goal of this is to ensure proper staffing at all times.
On one side, it’s essential not to be overstaffed when call volume is low. By properly managing your agent scheduling at slower times, you’ll reduce the number of agents working so that you’re not overpaying for labor.
Additionally, it’s vital to use proper scheduling to ensure there are enough call center agents online for periods of high call volume. Here, the goal is to ensure customer satisfaction is kept high while minimizing wait times.
Communicate Regularly with Employees
Another core responsibility to effectively managing your call center is to ensure that you’re regularly communicating with your team members. Here, it’s important that your agents feel like they are a part of the team and not an island to themselves.
By communicating regularly with your call center employees, you’ll be able to increase employee engagement. In addition, it provides an opportunity to listen to agent feedback, which you can use to help improve processes and call center scripts.
Remember that your agents are the boots on the ground with your customers and are often willing to share their feedback and ideas if you provide a regular forum for them. Consider using standing team meetings and 1:1 syncs with your agents to allow a two-way flow of communication.
Provide Comprehensive Training and Onboarding Services
Something else you must do to help ensure effective call center management is to ensure your agents receive in-depth onboarding and training. Both activities are vital to helping your agents provide your clients with top-notch support.
When it comes to onboarding, you must help your newly hired agents hit the ground running from day one. You’ll want to ensure your team has a comprehensive onboarding program that will assist new hires with getting up to speed as quickly as possible. During onboarding, help them understand critical aspects of the job like your contact center software, playbooks, expectations, how they can get a hold of you, and general housekeeping standards.
As crucial as onboarding is, ongoing training is vital to any successful call center. This is because regular training allows you to inform your agents of the latest trends and updates within your organization and the industry, so they are always following best practices and are in the know on how they can best assist your customers.
Motivate and Engage Call Center Agents
If you’re not motivating or engaging your agents regularly, you’re doing yourself and your organization a disservice. By doing both, your agents will perform better and feel more appreciated. In turn, they’re more likely to provide your customers with better service and support.
These days, contact center agents are not disposable drones who you can expect to handle an insane number of calls all day with no engagement from the call center’s management team. Instead, emerging trends in the industry have been around empowerment and improving the agent experience, creating a two-way street with management.
Motivation is also essential to the success of your call center. To help motivate your agents, consider bonus targets and incentives based on their QA checklist performance. In addition, gamification is another excellent way to help keep employees motivated. With gamification, you can use leaderboards, challenges, and games to reward your team and allow them to enjoy some friendly competition across the group.
Many call center managers were once agents themselves. In turn, these managers understand what their team faces daily. Managers can use this experience to help provide leadership and mentorship to their teams.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to provide real-life examples from your time as a call center agent. During training and coaching sessions, you can share the lessons you learned of where things worked well or could have been better to help lead your team through tough challenges.
Call Center Metrics: Essential KPIs a Call Center Manager Should Know About
One of the best ways to become a great manager is to understand these essential key performance indicators (KPIs). Here, we’ll not only define each of these core KPIs, but we’ll also provide you with insights on how to use each of them to have a more successful contact center.
Average Handling Time (AHT)
The average handling time (AHT) is the average length of time of the entire customer call interaction. AHT starts when the client initiates the contact through the agent after-call work. Included in AHT are any hold times, transfers, and customer interactions.
Time is valuable to all of us. In fact, it’s so crucial that a recent report from Zendesk showed that 76% of polled customers expect to be connected with someone immediately when contacting a company. In turn, by lowering your AHT and the hold times, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to connect your team with the clients faster and keep them more satisfied.
There are many different ways you can work to reduce AHT. Consider QA software to keep tabs on AHT, revamping your training, or reassessing your agent scheduling.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Another excellent KPI you can use as a call center manager is the customer satisfaction score (CSAT). With CSAT, you can gauge how satisfied your customers are with the assistance they receive from your agents. Through surveys and polling, clients can rate if they are happy with the service your call center team members provide. The higher your CSAT score, the better, reflecting a higher overall satisfaction rating.
Some tips for increasing your CSAT score include making your client support more personal, making it easy for clients to get the help they need, and better understanding your customers so issues can be addressed quickly.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
An additional KPI worth tracking is the net promoter score (NPS). Here, the perception of your organization is measured by how likely your clients are to recommend your organization to others. NPS is so important that the Harvard Business Review coined it as the one number you need to grow as part of a company’s growth strategy.
If you’d like to increase your NPS, try working to provide better customer experiences, deliver improved and faster support, and work to improve your products or services.
First Call Resolution (FCR) Rates
If you’re in the call center business, you’re already aware of the importance of first call resolution (FCR). The goal of FCR is to track how often your agents can resolve the reason for the customer’s call during their first interaction with your team.
Best practices for increasing your FCR rates include anticipating customer needs, having quality training, and having an excellent knowledge base or software to assist your team.
QA Performance Scores
Lastly, QA performance scores are another excellent set of KPIs to track and act upon. With quality assurance scores, you’ll be able to measure the success of your agents based on their call checklist performance, compliance marks, and target goals.
You can learn what’s working well within the contact center with proper QA scoring. Conversely, call center quality assurance can assist you in identifying areas where the team can benefit from additional training.
Improve Call Center Management with Balto
As you can see, a lot goes into being a call center manager. Understandably, stepping into a managerial role can feel overwhelming, especially if you are new to leading a call center team.
Luckily, Balto offers call center software solutions that assist managers with making their call center management more efficient. With Balto, you’ll have access to real-time QA that can score all of your calls, not just a random sampling of them. In addition, your agents can benefit from real-time coaching and guidance live on calls.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Balto’s dynamic call center scripting software can assist you and your organization, we’d love to provide you with a free demo of our solutions. We’re confident you’ll quickly see the benefits we can provide and how our contact center software can assist you with improving your call center performance, employee engagement, quality assurance, and customer experiences.
Check out our client case studies to see how we’ve helped contact centers like yours decrease ramp time, create more consistent messaging, make coaching easier, and boost revenue.