The shortage of excellent call center managers is hard to spot. Call centers always have someone holding that title but often they are just not the right person for the job. Fundamentally there are 2 types of call center managers; those who are more technology and process driven and those who understand motivational human psychology. Technology can be learned, and even mastered. Being able to motivate and lead a group of people, which is the core that defines a manager’s ability, is not as simple as applying generalized management principles. As scarce as they are, one may equally have a hard time finding the “complete package”. The complete package of a call center manager almost seems impossible to find. However, looking for the perfect one may not seem necessary as organizational needs are different. Finding critical traits should be crucial to call centers needing visionary leaders.
Attributes of being a good call center manager:
1. Ability to lead
How they define their leadership style and how they measure their leadership style is the key to view if the call center manager has the right style. Supervisors and agents need a call center manager who has the ability to lead in order to aim their targets and goals.
2. Sense of humor
A call center manager uses humor to create levity. A call center manager who takes themselves too seriously just adds unnecessary stress into an already stressful environment and will eventually alienate their supervisors and agents. We all enjoy being around people who a genuinely fun to be around.
3. Ability to sell ideas
Call centers are constantly changing which means agents must be sold on the benefits of the changes. Selling ideas, actually selling anything, comes down to showing what is in it for them. We buy into ideas that benefit us in some way.
4. Understands management is not about having control
Most call center managers have the misconception that their primary role is to “put out fires”. If a call center manager is spending their day putting out fires that is a sure sign they are not giving enough, if any, authority to their supervisors and agents to make decisions. A good call center manager makes sure their supervisors and agents have the tools and training to do their job and to make decisions which are in the customer’s and company’s best interest and then trust them to make those decisions.
5. A visionary
A good call center manager is always looking at the big picture, which why they do not want to be spending their days putting out fires. Having a vision of what the call center will look like in the near future and guiding the call center to where they see it being is critical to not being left behind while the competition increases its call center experience by taking advantage of the latest technology and motivational psychology.
6. Outside the box thinker
This is by far the most important attribute for a call center manager to have. The amount of creativity that can be used to manage a call center is endless. Being creative in how technology is used to create call center efficiencies, increase revenue or manage the productivity of agents is what differentiates a good call center manager from one which is mediocre at best. Managing a call center is an art in itself.
7. A strong negotiator
Having very concise statements on how to address company issues, how to commit willingly to better performance and how to propose and later on justify more business on the behalf of the company. Call center managers have crucial roles not only in terms of keeping what they have but also add more value for their companies.
8. Organizational and decision-making skills
The call center manager’s role involves a lot of organizational skills that often decide the fate of their teams and also strong decision-making skills that decide the fate of the business they are handling for the company. Under this includes goal-setting for the line of business, ability to critically analyze performance, strategizing on call center technology and organizational development
9. Feedback advocate, Master motivator and super-coach
These three falls under one category – communications. Internal customers’ feedback, especially negative ones, are bane to some who have not been accustomed to criticisms in life as a whole. Managers must be see through these and encourage others to suggest a better way. To be a master motivator and super-coach are very important in this role. There are also different styles in motivation. For some people, challenging them directly makes them work better while others need pats on the back to make them feel good about themselves. Using the right style for each person is the key.
Of course there’s much more to being a good call center manager than these attributes. Having common sense, logical thinking and being comfortable making quick decisions would rank up there. Must have hard skill would be excellent, if not superior, verbal and written communications skills. When looking for a good call center manager keep in mind hard skills, while important, can be taught; soft skills cannot.