Top Leadership Skills for Management in Contact Centers
In an industry where attrition is notoriously high and retention low, contact center management is tasked with motivating agents on a daily basis. There’s no quick fix but Deloitte’s (News - Alert) senior contact center manager, Sarah Stealey Reed has some advice that can be transformative if implemented properly.
The first 90 days are vital for contact center managers. That is when they make their first impressions and really get to know the agents. Reed suggests that managers give co-workers personal insight into their professional and personal lives. Focus on personality, leadership style, and passions. Along with immediate co-workers, it is recommended that a bond is created throughout other departments, ex. finance. This shows a vested interest in the business as a whole.
Always take time for co-workers and their visions. Do not make sudden changes without considering the impact it may have on an already established contact center and the employees.
Co-mingle with other agents and keep visibility high. Management shouldn’t stick to a standard schedule but rather switch up hours to be accessible to all. It will also give managers a chance to observe employee interactions. It will make it easier to address or implement change if the dynamics and politics are better understood.
Managers may not like the way things are done in a contact center but remaining free from judgment is the best practice. Focus on the why and hold back personal opinions and influence. Talk to co-workers to find out what matters to them. This will help gauge why work is done a particular way and allow for open dialogue on how to possibly introduce new ways of working.
Always lead by example. Participate in activities and events that co-workers deem important and be one with them, not above them. "Leadership is not just about people; it's about engaging them and being invested in their future," according to Reed.
When new management is nearing the end of its first 90 days, vision sharing for the contact center is possible. Co-workers will have a better feel and grasp for their new advisor and will be more amicable. But, new management still has more trust to gain so always be available to guide and share knowledge as well as hold training classes in areas where deemed necessary.
Managers always need to remember communication is key in a contact center. Stay on top of the goals for the center as well as the agent’s personal and professional goals. Be a mentor, be a friend, but be a leader.
Edited by Maurice Nagle