Being the ideal or perfect call center manager is never easy. Going beyond the years of experience that you need go through just to get to the management level; most require additional external education and training. While talking to call center managers from different industries I created a list of skills and traits of the ideal call center manager.
This list is not conclusive and it may not contain some of the traits that you have available. However, I have met some managers that need to review this list and consider taking on the challenge of gaining these personality qualities.
So here is the list that I have compiled.
The Ideal Call Center Manager – personality traits
- Continuing to improve themselves
- Easy to work with
- Treat the call center as a business and not a job
- Considerate of the agents – up to a certain point
- Has documented goals to focus on personally and professionally
Daily working qualities
- Positive Person
- Creative alternative approaches to everyday challenges
- People skills
- Technical skills
- Scorecards, Reports, SLA’s met
- Themselves and others
- Set targets and drive the team
They have sufficient skills that are pertinent to the industry and corporate business. They recognize what skills they are missing and endeavor to gain those skills. They are not afraid or embarrassed to admit a shortcoming or the skills they are lacking. Education, break-out sessions at user group conferences, networking with others in the industry are ways that the ideal manager continues to improve.
All of us have experienced bad days. Projects did not go our way, people we work with are not seeing things our way or senior management has made s significant change to the business. The perfect manager looks at most of these things in a positive manner. They do not allow the negative challenges affect their emotional intelligence scores. The negative situations do not push the positive out of the ideal manager. The perfect manager always seeks the positive image.
Creative alternative approach to everyday challenges
Problems and challenges occur in the contact center on a daily basis. These challenges can be people, products, services, policies, procedures, industry, senior management, corporate direction, and many other problems.
When faced with these challenges the perfect manager explores ways to solve the problems. They will communicate with others to find these solutions. Networking within the industry, the user groups they belong to, talking with their mentors, vendors and even talking with industry competitors. People the network learn that they are not alone with challenges in the contact center. They are able to discuss the problems and learn what others have done. They can share what they have done to resolve other problems. The ideal call center manager is always looking to network with others.
Managers do not always take the safe and easy route to problem resolution. They are trying to reduce the outcome of the challenges in the call center. Taking the easy way might be a simple explanation to senior management but it will not give them the better results. The perfect manager goes outside the lines of ease and looks for the correct resolution for their challenges.
The ideal manager is able to keep their emotions in check regardless of the situation. If a very negative situation occurs the manager does not get verbally emotional, they keep those emotions in check and manage the situation. If a very positive situation happens the manager will show some positive emotions but will not let it go too far. The perfect manager stays emotionally balanced in both positive and negative situations.
In meetings with senior management or customers the manager will learn to adjust their personality to closely match the others in the meeting. They are trying to become on the same level as the other and not be able to communicate with the others. If the group is outgoing and very talkative the manager will join them but still keep confidential details out of the communications. The manager can communicate at the appropriate level with others.
The manager is able to handle failure gracefully and not hide the cause and effect of their mistakes. They acknowledge them as needed and talk about them openly so they can show others they are not perfect and help others learn from the mistakes they have made.
A general understanding of the applications that are being used in the contact center today is a requirement. All applications that are being used not just some that are critical to the business. If the applications are new to them they take the time to learn them either from others or with the vendor. They are aware of the high level positives and the negatives of the applications being used. They are looking into the future to determine when they can use these applications to the business advantage.
The contact center industry is always changing and the manager recognizes this and continues to research and learn about these changes. They do not wait until the industry has passed them by they lead. They are not afraid to suggest contact center technology migration if it fits into their contact center business.
Documentation of the goals for the contact center, the groups and agents for both real time and historical targets are a standard practice for the manager. The documents are scorecards, reports, and SLA’s. The manager also selects the critical metrics to follow. These are metrics that are able to show them the status and performance of the problem areas within the contact center. The manager is able to define exactly what they need in the report and why.
The manager is able to define analytics and what data is needed to provide a report that has complete analytics surrounding the problem areas in the contact center. This report definition is something that is constantly changing and the manager is on top of the changes. The manager tracks specific KPI’s that show them the status and performance of the contact center, groups and agents.
In some industries SLA’s are required. The perfect manager is aware of the SLA’s and is able to tract them as well as other KPI’s that can affect the SLA’s.
Trend reporting that shows both the goals and actual performance for historical data is being reviewed by the manager. This trend reporting is vital to the documented goals for the manager and the contact center.
The perfect manager is able model the behavior they desire of the agents. This behavior may not be their personality but they are able to mimic it at times when it is needed the most.
This manager is able to enforce policies and procedures when required and make difficult decisions. They provide guidance and support of the agents that need help understanding these corporate rules. At times these corporate rules seem untimely but they continue to follow and explain the reasoning for the rules.
Recognition at the right time and provide the proper rewards when agents follow and exceed corporate rules and goals. This is a trait of the ideal manager. They are not looking for the rewards or recognition for themselves, they want others to have the recognition.
When goals are not met or thresholds repeatedly exceeded they do not publically attack the group or agents with verbal comments or broadcast messages. They work confidentially with the team and agents to help them meet these goals. If the motivation does not work they understand and are able to make the difficult changes in the contact center.
Courtesy of Call Centre Helper here are some great tips for motivating the team.
As with any ideal manager they are always looking to build the team up to meet the corporate goals and targets. They look first internally for the right people to advance up to the next level. When they meet someone outside of their area and recognize talents and skills they work to advance that person to a new role within the business.
They act as a mentor to the new people as well as the long term agents. The “I told you so” attitude is never used as a motivating tool with the ideal manager.
There are numerous traits to the perfect call center manager. These listed above may not be what you are looking for in a manager, but they are a start in the right direction. The contact center industry has many directions and different goals. The manager needs to meet these targets to be able to fit into the business.