May 26, 2017
7 Tips to Successfully Manage Call Centers
Call centers have unique operational challenges, and management plays a crucial role in successfully handling each of these obstacles. Call centers deal with down time when not a lot of calls are coming in, but they also deal with high call volume. Some of the issues they face include employee burnout, getting the proper training to know how to handle each caller’s problems, and disengagement. Every call center manager needs to address areas of concern, and be prepared to set up the ideal environment that produces the best outcomes.
7 Call Center Management Tips
- Use Idle Time Effectively – Many managers use this “idle” time for accomplishing other tasks that need to be completed. One avenue managers have chosen to optimize use of time is to encourage call center employees to complete on-going training, or administrative tasks during idle periods. When call volume is low, employees can log in to the applicable programs and utilize this time to read, answer, and complete their training. This way they don’t have to stay after their shift has ended or come in before their shift starts. As long as they are accomplishing these tasks without negatively impacting their performance this idle time is prime to utilize in this manner.
- Focus on Engagement – Because of the nature of call centers it is important for managers to create avenues for agents to feel engaged. Some centers have trips they raffle off to top performers, have reward boards that they use to recognize employees, and they also create means of communication with agents to let them know when they receive positive notes from customers. It is important for managers to create ways for employees to feel involved, valued, and important. When they give so much emotionally to address customers’ needs sometimes they can feel burned out, underappreciated, or feel down due to call fatigue. Surrounding them with positive outlets and positive reinforcement can make a huge difference in their attitude, and how they deal with direct consumers.
- Invest in Technology – Managers need to know how important it is to have the right management technology. Call center scheduling software can have a huge impact on making sure your call center is staffed appropriately. Using this software can assist in decreasing employee burnout because you will have the right number of staff assigned to each shift, and can anticipate increases in call volumes. You can also use the call center scheduling software to schedule the right number of breaks for each employee so they can take the time to reenergize. They can then return to the phones fresh and ready to assist callers.
- Share Positive Customer Feedback – Keeping your call center employees motivated is important to morale, and their engagement as well. By sharing positive customer feedback regularly they will see tangible results from their work. Managers need to help by getting the positive feedback to the agent quickly. Most feedback processes delay the feedback or the feedback never makes it to the appropriate divisions and agents. It is important for the managers to track down customer feedback and ensure their team hears about their positive impact.
- Provide the Proper Tools and Coaching – Each call center agent needs the proper training to handle each type of customer call. They need to know proper responses and when to escalate calls. Beyond this, they need extensive knowledge of products and other departments so they know best how to answer customer questions, or know where to direct them.
- Build a Good Working Environment – Environment can play a huge role in call center employee retention, and how they interact with customers over time. Because employees can spend lots of time on the phone during high call volumes, they need an environment that helps them focus and stay calm. Beyond the physical environment the employees also need a stable work environment and have procedures that encourage a good working environment.
- Minimize Burn Out – Call center employee burnout is unique in the fact that a high percentage of the time the burnout these employees experience is emotional. Because of the nature of the job, these employees have to emotionally connect with customers so that customers feel like they have a good rapport with the representative. The customer needs to feel trust. This type of burnout can be extremely dangerous for the company as call center employees can engage is disruptive behaviors against customers leading to decreases in profitability. Call center employees have been known to misdirect callers to the wrong department on purpose, hang up on customers, and more. These behaviors tend to arise during periods of high call volume. Managers must have systems in place to address and tackle these behaviors. By creating the right employee schedule burnout can be minimized. Also, creating special quite spaces for employees to take breaks can also give the employees the needed “time-out” break spaces to reenergize and return to their phone refreshed.
Utilizing these tips for managing your call center can help improve your employee turnover rate, increase employee performance, assist in proper handling of unhappy customer calls, and decrease employee burnout.