On a daily basis, call center managers are inundated with data, decisions, escalations and reports. If all goes well, service levels have been met, CSAT or NPS will be satisfactory and you may actually have time to take an uninterrupted lunch. Such is the life of the contact center manager.
At the end of the week, month or quarter, we review performance levels and take pride in the success of our centers. Accolades are shared amongst leadership for a job well done. At this point, we can breathe a sigh of relief and repeat the cycle all over again. In between this never ending cycle, we may develop a new process or promote a new initiative to better our center. Personally, this is one of my favorite parts of the job as I enjoy innovation and creativity. Who doesn’t want to be considered innovative and at the top of their game?
While all of the events described above are a necessary and critical part of the job, they take our attention away from something more important. This is usually where I get a cynical look followed by the question, "What could possibly be more important than metrics to a call center manager?" My response is short, simple and to the point, "the agents".
Unfortunately, our most valued asset is often overlooked and lost in the day to day management of the call center. The pressures to obtain outstanding metrics often come at the expense of the agents. However, the two are dependent on one another. The work of the agent is measured by metrics, and the metrics tell us their story.
We all know that happy agents produce happy customers. For some this is simply a slogan thrown out at industry events, or in published articles or tweets. I urge you not to lose sight of the agents. They have a profound effect on your metrics but more importantly on your customers. To ensure your agents are positively impacting your customer, you must have a positive impact on them. These tips are a good starting point and have proven to be successful for me over the years.
Five tips to success
- Value agents as you do your customer
- Train agents for success
- Accept agent feedback and include them in the decision making process
- Praise and reward agents
- Provide a career path
As you can see, none of these are hard. In fact, this is what managers should be doing. So, go ahead, "Strive for Five"!
Sean Hawkins is a Customer Experience and Contact Center Manager with over 13 years of call center experience. In addition, Sean tweets, writes and speaks about customer service, social media and leadership. He launched Call Center Weekly as a venue for call center agents and managers to collaborate learn and share their opinions.