Contact center leaders often feel that their workplace is not running ahead at full steam. Some of them are doing well but want to push the envelope in terms of productivity. However, one of the biggest obstacles to success is not understanding or acknowledging the needs of frontline supervisors and employees. The state of frontline leadership in contact centers is affected by how much resources and training supervisors and managers are given in order to improve their leadership skills.
It is not that these needs are particularly complex or hard to meet. But it is only that some leaders fail to take the time to get to know the day-to-day proceedings of frontline workers. Thus they are unable to anticipate their most vital needs. Luckily, it is not necessary to have long tedious meetings with every employee or go on an episode of Undercover Boss to know how frontline contact center workers are feeling. Here are 6 important truths about the state of frontline leadership in contact centers, and what is missing in many contact centers today.
1. The State of Frontline Leadership in Contact Centers Can be Improved by training and skills development
A lot of frontline workers promoted to supervisor positions in contact centers start out at a major disadvantage because they have not been properly trained in all of the hard and soft skills necessary to coordinate a team. This not only makes their job difficult and hurts morale. It also causes general inefficiency as they struggle to learn the ropes. This means less productivity and poorer execution of vital operations. In fact, nearly a third of all contact center employees see training as the number one thing employers could provide them that would help them do their jobs.
2. Supervisors need access to important data and support
There are two other, even more, concrete elements that supervisors need in order to do their jobs effectively: real-time performance intelligence, and agent support from senior management. Real-time performance intelligence is crucial because it helps supervisors be aware of where the weak points in their strategy are. Without access to this crucial data—which in many cases, unfortunately, does not reach the right hands, but instead circulates only among upper management—supervisors are unable to realign their behavior in accordance with the requests of their superiors and the needs of their subordinates. Agent support and relationship building with senior management are also crucial elements. Supervisors who feel they can not reach out to management are left without structure and they turn over at a higher rate than those who feel the connection with management.
3. Some employers don’t make the grade. Do you?
A lot of contact center employers believe that they are giving all of the necessary support to improve employee performance. The sad truth is that many are not. Perhaps they supply training for the most basic elements of supervisor positions. However, they are not equipping team leaders with the appropriate soft skills to thoughtfully and empathetically manage a team. Or they are providing supervisors with performance data, but only that which they themselves see as important, rather than letting supervisors see the data and make decisions for themselves. As an employer, it might be useful for you to check-in with frontline employees from time to time in order to make sure that you are meeting these basic needs.
4. The bare-bones: what employees need in order to be successful
Aside from the most basic tools of the job, which we can take for granted, another one of the most basic elements that employees need to do their job right is credibility among supervisors and managers, which, as was mentioned earlier, can be developed using soft skills. This makes for employees who trust their supervisors and are willing to follow their instructions to a T.
5. Going the extra mile: important ways that you can boost employee productivity
Employees also need to have structure, most importantly in the form of reward for good work. Although relying on money exclusively as an incentive can be a mistake, usually, this means bonuses and raises for employees who go above and beyond. 36% of employees in contact centers see financial compensation as the most important element in increasing their efficiency. When it comes to rewards, consistency is key. If even a few employees are not commended for good work, it can begin to contribute to a sense of malaise and apathy among employees, who do not believe that leaders are paying attention to what they do.
6. What do employees think about the current state of frontline leadership in contact centers?
25% of frontline supervisors in contact centers see employer support as the one thing that they wish their employer would improve upon to make their job easier and more efficient. What this boils down to is contact center management that listens to and responds to the most pressing needs of employees. Unfortunately, a lot of supervisors in contact centers these days simply don’t feel supported by upper management. While this is somewhat discouraging, it also means that there is a lot of room for improvement and increased efficiency for employers willing to address systemic issues in their workforce.
Improving the state of frontline leadership in contact
Working in a contact center may be one of the most difficult jobs. This is because dealing with people can be a complicated task. Moreover, leading a contact center can be even more difficult. This is why it is important for contact centers to continuously invest in training. Continuos training enables frontline leaders to lead effectively. Allowing them to have access to tools and resources like software that enables them to interpret data easily so that they can make accurate conclusions, is one way that contact center can ease the burden of supervisors and managers. There are several things that your contact center can do to give its supervisors the necessary support they need. It is important to invest in these things. Why? Because at the end of the day any business is a reflection of its leadership.
- What is the state of frontline leadership in your contact center? – Click to Tweet
- Here is what employees think about the state of frontline leadership in contact centers. Click to Tweet
- How can you improve the state of frontline leadership in your contact center?- Click to Tweet
- These 6 truths show the state of frontline leadership in contact centers.- 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.