The 2021 Guide To Effective Call Center Management

call center management

Looking for effective call center management tips?

Managing a call center requires strategic planning, continuous learning, and hard work.

A supervisor usually coaches their team to improve agent performance and grow the business.

However, it may be difficult for you to manage your call center due to factors such as an overwhelming workload, inexperienced customer service representatives, etc.

In this article, we’ll cover seven effective tips that’ll help you with call center management. We’ll also discuss what call center managers shouldn’t do while handling operations.

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Let’s get started.

What Is Call Center Management?

Call center management is the process in which a manager organizes and handles all activities of a call center, such as:

  • Scheduling shifts.
  • Training an employee.
  • Managing incoming and outgoing calls.
  • Providing a great customer service experience.

However, keep in mind that a contact center is different from a call center.

How?

Unlike call center agents, a contact center agent deals with omnichannel customer queries from social media, email, phone calls, chatbots, etc. 

Contact center managers handle more inquiries than call center managers, making contact center management more challenging.

7 Effective Tips For Call Center Management

Let’s look at seven strategies that’ll help you efficiently run your call center:

1. Hire The Right Employees

Your center agents influence customer satisfaction and business continuity by providing friendly and effective customer service. 

So, you must hire only the best agents for your business.

Let’s look at the two of the most important onboarding steps you should follow:

A. Write A Detailed Job Description

A detailed job description will help you find the right person for the job.

The tone, content, and layout of the job description will help people understand your firm’s culture and job responsibilities. This will help them decide whether they should apply for the job.

Your job description should be realistic and should clearly communicate the firm’s expectations and ethics. You should also convey the benefits and the salary range as they’ll help you attract great talent. 

B. Screen Applications

Everyone who applies for the job may not possess the talent to provide excellent customer care services. 

The screening process allows you to pick out applications that are perfect for the job.

You need to screen out a few applications based on qualities like intelligence and positive attitude – as they’re essential for a call center agent.

Also, you need someone with exceptional patience, problem-solving, and communication skills to listen to your customers and convey solutions in a simple way. 

You can screen applications by conducting:

  • Automated attitude and aptitude tests. 
  • One to two rounds of interviews to understand each applicant and their qualities.

2. Provide Effective Training

According to a survey conducted by Middlesex University, 56% of HR managers said training and development are important for their business.

How can you improve your training program?

By coaching your new hires to deliver customer service with empathy.

Your center agents should be able to understand the customer’s emotions and offer them service accordingly. 

Coaching your agents to act empathetically can help them boost customer service.

Additionally, you should ensure that frontline agents answer technical questions with confidence while coaching. This will give your customers a positive impression of your company.

Ensure that your coaching sessions involve introductions to useful tools, metrics, and other information that can increase agent productivity. 

3. Prioritize Employee Satisfaction

For call center agents to be satisfied, you need to focus on your employee’s needs. 

A survey conducted by Globoforce reported that 89% of HR leaders say ongoing peer feedback and check-ins positively impact their organizations.

Here are two factors to consider while boosting employee satisfaction:

A. Employee Engagement

Your team might lack motivation when their goals aren’t clear. 

That’s why you should clearly explain what tasks they should do and how they should do them. You must also mention the impact their performance has on the rest of the team.

After assigning tasks, you should track their performance.

Use metrics and KPI (key performance indicator) to track employees as it encourages them to work harder. You can also offer them appropriate rewards when they achieve their goals.

By increasing agent engagement, you can keep your agents happy and increase your firm’s retention rate.

Read about the correlation between employee engagement and productivity.

B. Employee Experience

Employee experience depends on how the agent feels when they work in your organization. 

You can provide a positive employee experience by:

  • Talking and listening to your agents regularly.
  • Helping individual agents develop their careers.
  • Providing a better onboarding experience by coaching them one-on-one.
  • Conducting team happy hours.
  • Organizing team outings.

By providing a good employee experience, your employees may enjoy work and, consequently, be more productive. This way, your firm’s turnover rate can decrease over time. 

4. Set The Right Goals

Setting the right goals can increase business profitability. 

If you set an unspecified goal, your agents won’t know what they have to do and may find it difficult to achieve.

So, your goals should be SMART Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. 

In other words, you should set a clear goal that can be tracked and achieved within a determined time period.

For example, your goal can be to reduce call transfers by 50 percent in three months. You can also aim for a 60/30 service level — which means your team should attend 60% of the calls within 30 seconds.

By tracking goals, your team can evaluate themselves regularly by comparing their performance to the targets. And you can understand your agents’ capabilities based on how quickly they achieve their goals.

5. Schedule And Manage The Workforce

An efficient schedule will help your agents have a seamless workflow and have a stress-free workday.

A manager can create a great call center schedule by considering agent ability, workload, peak hours, etc.

For example, your senior agents may be able to handle a higher workload. You can assign them shifts during peak hours as they’re more likely to remain calm even while they get calls one after the other.

Similarly, you can assign a shift with less call frequency to a new agent till they become an expert in providing a great customer experience. 

This way, none of your agents will be stressed and can provide great customer service.

Your schedule should also consist of time for agents to rest and refocus during the day so that they don’t suffer from burnout.

6. Leverage Technology

Today, all call centers utilize technology to streamline communication and grow their business.

You need to use the best technology available to stay a step ahead of the competition. 

Let’s look at some useful call center and contact center tools:

A. Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)

CTI helps computers and telephones interact with each other. 

How?

The software displays client information like name, history, etc., when the customer contacts. This will help your agent respond according to call history and where they are on the customer journey.

B. Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)

This software helps large companies save time by directing incoming calls to an agent who is best suited to handle them. This way, it’ll help the firm provide a better experience that will meet customer expectations.

C. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

IVR is an automated telephony system that uses pre-recorded voice commands to interact with customers. This self service  is a great way to optimize customer experience as callers can use a dial pad to navigate the menu and get connected to the right agent.

D. Predictive Dialer

A predictive dialer will make outbound calls to customers automatically from a list. 

The dialer will detect busy signals, disconnected phone numbers, etc., and hand the outbound call over to the agent if it connects.

E. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer relationship management software helps agents provide a personalized customer experience by giving them access to customer data and interaction history. 

F. Workforce Management Software (WFM)

WFM software helps firms in the optimization of agent productivity and performance by managing their schedules. This management software helps you suggest appropriate changes in the staffing and forecasts labor requirements in real-time.

7. Allow Remote Work

A study done by Stanford reported that working from home improved employee productivity by 13%. 

How can you ensure that your remote agents stay productive?

You can train your remote employees so that they’re productive when they work remotely. 

For a successful call center with remote and on-site workers, you have to:

  • Assign a target and explain how to achieve it. 
  • Guide your agents to work with dedication. 
  • Educate them on how to handle distractions.
  • Create schedules for agents to ensure seamless workflow.
  • Communicate with them frequently to develop a good relationship with your agents.
  • Use productivity monitoring software like Time Doctor to track your agents’ time and activities.

What’s Time Doctor?

time doctor

Time Doctor is an agent performance management software that’s used by small businesses like Thrive Market as well as huge firms like Verizon to boost team productivity across the entire company.

Here’s a quick look at Time Doctor’s core functionalities:

  • Create and assign tasks and projects to agents.
  • Track the time your agents take to complete a task or project using interactive or automatic time tracking features.
  • Generate analytics reports such as attendance, hours tracked, etc., which will give you an insight into your agent’s productivity
  • Take screenshots and 3-minute videos of agent’s screens to know what they’re working on.
  • Integrate with premium software like Asana, Basecamp, Google apps, etc., to optimize workflow. It also offers a Chrome extension to integrate with top project management and CRM software. 
  • Pay your agents directly with Paypal, Wise, and Gusto integrations.
  • Offers mobile and desktop applications for Android, Windows, Linux, and Mac devices. 

5 Mistakes To Avoid During Call Center Management

You can provide a better employee and customer experience by avoiding these five mistakes: 

1. Offering Improper Rewards

The purpose of rewarding employees is to boost their morale and increase their productivity. But, you may demotivate your agents if you provide improper rewards that they can’t use.

For example, you can’t give your agents free movie tickets as most of them may want to practice social distancing and avoid going to the cinema during the pandemic.

You should give rewards that’ll benefit your agents, like medical insurance, yearly bonus, etc. This will increase their dedication to work and motivate them to be more productive.

2. Assigning Long Shifts

You may tend to assign long 10-12 hour shifts to your agents. Due to this, they may overwork and consequently, provide poor customer service. This can also lead to a poor employee experience and a high attrition rate.

You’ll have to strategically schedule shorter shifts such that your team isn’t overburdened.

3. Poor Collaboration

Your remote team member may not know how to communicate effectively with the on-site team members because of the distance between each other.

This may disrupt the workflow of your call center team. 

That’s why you should invest in tools like Zoom and Slack to enable seamless communication between your team members.

4. Using Old Call Center Technology

Using outdated methods like spreadsheet attendance tracking, manual payroll calculation, etc., may slow down your firm’s growth. 

Additionally, your firm may lag behind if your workforce doesn’t use modern technology, especially if your competitors use state-of-the-art software.

You have to move ahead with time and use tools like Zoho CRM, RingCentral Office, etc. These will help you manage your sales, marketing, and customer support activities.

5. Putting A Customer On Hold For Long

A survey of 1500 U.S consumers conducted by Arise reported that over 13% of them wouldn’t accept being put on hold.

This means that you’ll have to answer your customer’s inbound calls as soon as possible. 

You can avoid putting customers on hold by:

  • Hiring more agents according to the call volume. 
  • Using software like ACD, which will automatically route calls to free agents.
  • Training agents well so that they won’t have to pass calls.
  • Building an online knowledge base for FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) where customers can easily find solutions to their queries.

Wrapping Up

Call center management can be a hectic and tiresome job. 

As a team leader, you may have to take care of workforce optimization and employee welfare to ensure business continuity. And with the right software, you can manage your team by assigning them shifts and distributing the workload. 

Fortunately, Time Doctor can help you track your remote employees’ productivity and manage them remotely.

Sign up for Time Doctor’s 14-day free trial to track and boost your call center team’s performance!

 
Try Time Doctor

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