Managing a call center is not easy. It requires a lot of patience, time and experience to get the most out of your staff. If you’re struggling in any way with managing your call center, here are ten things that you can do to make it better!
What are the best practices for call center management?
#1 Stay on top of your staffing levels
Call centers are designed to be as efficient as possible, and the best way for that to happen is if you have enough agents working when it’s busy. Make sure you’re getting the right number of hours from each agent so they can keep up with demand.
#2 Clarify expectations
Set clear expectations about how much time employees should spend handling calls versus managing other aspects of their workday (such as email). This will help them get through more calls in a day while still maintaining some balance between hands-on customer service and administrative tasks like following up on lost leads or processing paperwork. It also gives supervisors better insight into which team members need additional training or coaching because they might not be able to handle both call volume and other tasks.
#3 Care about training
Provide ongoing training for your agents so they can grow in their jobs and offer better customer service over time. Offer different types of trainings to keep things fresh, such as social media classes or leadership seminars that focus on soft skills like empathy and managing emotions during conversations with customers.
#4 Set up a schedule
Find out what kind of schedule works best for your team – some people prefer short bursts of intense work while others might be more comfortable working a little less intensely throughout the day. Whatever you do, make sure everyone knows how much is expected from them each week by giving them set hours rather than “flex” periods where you ask employees to volunteer when they want to come in if needed (which can lead up to burnout).
#5 Be competitive
Make sure you offer a fair wage that’s competitive with what the market offers – call center work is becoming more and more specialized, so it stands to reason employees need compensation packages that reflect their expertise. You’ll also be able to keep your best people by paying them accordingly when someone expresses interest in moving on.
#6 Offer benefits
Don’t forget about employee benefits! There are many reasons why an employer might consider giving these out as part of its “total rewards package” (such as aiding recruitment efforts or boosting retention rates). Find out which ones make sense for your business needs such as: retirement contributions, health insurance coverage, matching 401(k)s, paid-time off allotments per year, training reimbursement programs etc. Offer these things up as a sign of your company’s commitment to its employees and the work they do.
Offer a variety of perks that will keep employees happy, such as free company lunches or snacks during the day, office supply stipends (so they can order things like pens or paper on their own), fitness classes at lunchtime to help with employee health goals, etc. You might also want to build a few relaxation spaces for agents who need some time away from phones and computers – these could be couches in conference rooms where people can lie down if they’re feeling overwhelmed by work tasks.
#7 Give space
Provide break areas that are away from customers so you can provide some privacy for your staff. These might be in kitchens or conference rooms, but make sure there aren’t any distractions like televisions when people need quiet time off the phones.
Also, provide frequent opportunities for agents (and managers) to take breaks – periods where you ask employees to volunteer when they want to come in if needed (which can lead up to burnout).
#8 Establish an open-door policy
Build an open-door policy with managers – it shows agents that management really cares about their well being and supports them even during tough times (which leads to higher morale). It also helps supervisors keep tabs on what kind of emotional weather we’re currently facing at the office because they have more frequent conversations with team members than anyone else does. Lastly, this is just another way to express appreciation for hard work and dedication.
#9 Introduce transparency
Be transparent about your call center’s policies so there are no surprises when new hires start working here – this includes hours worked/required per week, dress code restrictions (what you wear is what we’ll wear, as the saying goes), what kind of outside work agents are allowed to do while on company time. This will prevent employees from feeling like they’re being punished for doing something that isn’t actually against your rules – and it’ll also encourage workers to stick around longer because you made things clear from Day One.
#10 Provide feedback
Encourage feedback about how people feel their day is going (are there any improved training methods we should try out?) or offer opportunities for them to talk with each other during breaks so everyone knows “the mood” at the office today. You can use these moments when team members interact in a positive way together as an opportunity for cross-training: let’s say someone mentions that one particular customer service problem might be solved if more agents were trained to work the phone system. Turn this into an opportunity for everyone in the room to learn more about how that operates, and then offer it as a job shift change when you have openings.
#11 Plan for the worst
Have a backup plan for bad customer service days so customers are not put on hold indefinitely or just abandoned altogether. This might include having extra staff available through out-of-office arrangements like remote workers who answer calls from home during specific hours of operations; allowing your team members some flexibility with their shifts if need be; or shuffling around schedules so the same people aren’t always on call.
#12 Appreciate your team
Sometimes, it’s just as important to make your team feel appreciated as it is to provide them with a good work environment – and you can do that by celebrating their accomplishments often through public recognition of some kind (a company newsletter article about an employee who received a promotion or award). You should also be sure to offer some opportunities for growth within the organization because agents deserve those chances too! If they’ve been in this industry for years and don’t seem interested in change but still want more responsibility, give them more training programs so they can master new skillsets. Lastly, mention how much we value our employees when handling customer complaints: tell customers “thank you” from us even if they’re talking to a team member who isn’t in charge, and try to make any company-wide policies clear so that everyone understands the rules.
Lastly, remember this: people are more willing to work well if it’s an environment where they feel comfortable – which means all of these things we’ve talked about need to be present simultaneously for customer service success.
#13 Give your agents the right tool
Get a good tool for customer service and call center management! Make sure it has features like queueing and routing so that every agent has enough work to keep up with demand without being overwhelmed or bored out of their minds. You may check CloudTalk.io – a complex suite for call center management and amazing virtual call center software. Automating your call center tasks has never been easier!
Over to you
To make sure that your call center can always handle the influx of customers, it’s important to plan ahead. With a little bit more planning and strategy than you may be used to, you will find that managing your business is easier when you are well prepared for any type of situation.