Simple, Effective Tips to Manage a Call Center
Managing a call center, sometimes, must seem like the classic analogy about herding cats writ large. With so many factors involved, some of which even operating in direct contradiction like saving money on employment expenses but not overloading employees with work enough to cause burnout and spark new expenses thanks to turnover, it's hard to keep it all straight. There are, thankfully, some simple measures that can go a long way toward managing all those various elements.
First, the call center manager needs to know how a call center works, and how it's run, to get the most out of it. That includes standard points like agent performance, but it also relates to brand image and certain metrics. Managers need to keep up-to-date on new trends, and determine which of these are just fads about to die on the vine.
Second, be sure to invest in the right tools. While budgets are always tight, failing to have the best tools for the job sets up the operation for failure. Even the greatest of agents can only do so much with inadequate material, and the longer such a situation stays in place, the greater the risk of burnout and turnover.
Third, use data to get the best decisions. If the decisions made reflect the data provided, then chances are the decision was right. Even if it isn't ultimately right, it's better to run the small risk of improperly reflective data than the larger risk of failing to provide according to data.
Fourth, empower employees. How many problems a day would be fixed if the employee could go off-script when needed? If the answer is “more than none,” then it's a good idea to look at this more closely.
Finally, don't be afraid to experiment. Sometimes the data doesn't reflect the real world. Sometimes employees give contradictory reports. Experimentation can find new solutions that the data didn't allow for, and allow a company to fix a problem even when counter-indicated by the available data.
In the end, it's all about handling the tasks on the ground. Address the issues that come up, and work toward preventing as many of these as possible from being issues in the first place. The more prevention that can be brought to bear, the better the overall result is likely to be. That old saw about ounces of prevention and pounds of cure isn't just homespun wisdom; it's a point that can drive your call center operation forward. The more fires that can't start, the fewer fires that need to be put out later.