There is always room for improvement. What can you do as a contact center to be more effective? Who do you need to work with to ensure positive results? Achieving lasting success as a contact center hinges on your contact center supervisors’ effectiveness. What factors affect contact center supervisors’ effectiveness?
Frontline leaders must understand the fundamentals of success. This includes creating an environment where agents can motivate themselves. Also, delivering critical insights about customers gives positive results. It is also important to understand competition. You need to understand what’s working or failing in training. Systems, processes, and personnel are important as well.
Supervisors are often disadvantaged. This is because they are promoted to a position for which they are unqualified. In a survey conducted by TouchpointOne, results show that supervisors feel a lack of information and resources. These are vital forms of support necessary to do their jobs which are often not provided.
This makes it difficult for your contact center supervisors’ effectiveness. Research exposes the link between strong frontline leaders and higher levels of business success. Contact centers have been slow to acknowledge this connection. According to TouchpointOne’s survey, the four factors mentioned below determine the effectiveness of your supervisors.
1. Training and Skills Development for contact center supervisors
Training supervisors is your largest opportunity and delivers significant investment returns (more in the Supervisor Success Path). Developing leadership skills in frontline leaders ensures that they are effective. It also helps them prepare them for advancement as your future opportunities arise. Foolishly, only twenty-two percent of senior managers believe that training is important to succeed.
Training aids in consistently leading teams to success. Moreover, frontline leaders voiced specific attributes of the training. Things like “hands-on”, “regular”, “workshops”, “skill-building”, “continual”, etc are mentioned most. Responses from supervisors show connections between training and skills development. It also creates opportunities for career advancement.
To excel, supervisors must possess a broad range of management skills and build on the Six Core Leadership Competencies to be successful contact center leaders. Business and operational acumen are a fundamental requirement. What guarantees your contact center’s success? Communication, motivation, critical thinking, and problem-solving are what guarantees success.
These attributes can only be developed with experience, training, and mentoring. As a call center coach, I recommend a six-part framework to optimize frontline leader training. This includes micro-learning, quick tips, questions & answers.
Boot camps, industry insights, and communities of practice can help achieve effectiveness. Training can be delivered offsite, onsite or online via third-party or internal programs. To retain top agents, a learning and development strategy must be visible and real.
2. Real-time Performance Intelligence
Access to real-time performance intelligence is also a crucial factor. The organizations that participated in this survey manage large global customer contact operations. They have developed sophisticated data analytics capabilities on an advanced performance management platform.
As a result, data management is comprehensive and nearly fully automated. It is able to deliver real-time, role-based performance dashboards to every employee.
The survey provided strong confirmation of the value of this capability. It also showed in what ways it was integral to supervisor effectiveness. Thirty-four percent of senior managers indicated performance intelligence, reporting, and real-time stats as the most important thing provided to help supervisors succeed. Twenty-six percent of supervisors named it the most useful thing provided to help them succeed.
Don’t leave supervisors guessing. Why? Manual reporting processes and analytics routines can detract from activities that add value to the business. It is critical to have a single system for performance measurement, insight, and action. The system should synthesize the disparate systems data relevant to your KPIs. It will help to facilitate performance improvement.
3. Management Guidance and Agent Support Systems
Frontline leaders need senior management support and standardized systems. They also need processes to manage their interactions and build productive relationships. “Collaboration” and “structure” are principal terms that articulate the tools which enable different forms of agent assistance. This helps to coordinate their efforts with senior management.
Twenty-eight percent of senior leaders identify coaching, support, and related systems as investments they intend to provide for success. Twenty-five percent of frontline leaders say similar guidance and support systems can help them succeed. This indicates consistency between upper and frontline levels of management about the issue.
For supervisors, cultivating effective relationships with contact center agents is a significant challenge. Contact center teams are particularly dynamic. This is due to high employee turnover, low-skill/low-wage, and demographic diversity.
Agents work in small workspaces. They are subject to a variety of communications, logistics, and schedule restrictions. This is due to security, regulatory, and other workplace policies. Despite the challenging environment, team success is dependent on the supervisor’s ability to establish and maintain credibility. They need trust and influence through mutually respectful and beneficial relationships with agents.
However, Frontline leaders don’t have adequate, resources to develop constructive relationships. They lack the ability to document coaching interactions. The ability to establish targets for coaching frequency is almost absent.
Lack of structured accountability to a standard of coaching quality hinders effectiveness. They lack meaningful intelligence regarding the impact of the support they provide on some aspects. These aspects include specific metrics and behaviors the support should address.
4. Recognition and Reward improve contact center supervisors’ effectiveness
People have an innate desire for acknowledgment and appreciation. Recognition is an essential form of reward. It is critical to employee motivation, performance, and retention at all levels. Recognition and reward are simple ways to improve contact center supervisors’ effectiveness.
Nineteen percent of senior managers feel various forms of recognition, appreciation, and praise are the most important thing for success. Twenty-four percent of supervisors listed recognition as a factor to help them succeed.
Employee recognition should be part of any performance management culture. Contact centers are able to show appreciation to frontline leaders and other employees. This can be based on achievement, tenure, and numerous other aspects.
It is now easier than ever to coordinate reward and recognition with performance metrics and related business goals. This ensures that they are substantive and meaningful. Don’t limit the scope of your recognition and reward strategy. You should weave it into every appropriate aspect of the work experience. Recognition and positive temper is vital to constructive human development.
Realizing and Unleashing Full Potential
If your contact center isn’t achieving the level of prosperity that it’s capable of, try diagnosing it from the perspective of your supervisors. Begin the journey with a simple survey. Assemble representatives for all relevant stakeholder groups to evaluate the feedback. Create and implement a plan that corrects the deficiencies and capitalizes on strengths. Make the procedure a permanent component of your continuous improvement process.
- Here’s what contact center supervisors report they need to do their jobs effectively – Click to Tweet
- Without these four things, your contact center may fail. – Click to Tweet
- This survey shows what you need to do to improve your contact center supervisors’ performance. – Click to Tweet
- Only 21% of supervisors rank training and skills development important in this study. – Click to Tweet
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.