call center managers

6 Essential Call Center Manager Skills

Effective leaders are essential for any successful business. Call center managers have one hell of a challenge sometimes, and it’s a challenge to keep a level head. 

Not only are you responsible for overseeing a team of productive call center agents, but you’ve also got the needs of their company’s customers to consider.

Sometimes that’s a difficult balance to get right. 

But, if you can master these 6 essential call center manager skills, then you’ll make your job significantly easier and stand out as a leader.

In this post:

1. Develop emotional intelligence

Effective emotional intelligence means managing and regulating your emotional responses, as well as the emotions of others. But what does emotional intelligence look like in a leadership role? It must include:

  • Empathy. Your employees are not robots and will naturally have bad days sometimes. Showing them you understand will help build greater trust and loyalty towards the company. 
  • Self-awareness. Being self-aware means you can recognize your own strengths and weaknesses. When you can acknowledge your flaws, you’re in a much better position to ensure they don’t affect your ability to perform as a manager.
  • Self-regulation. When you remain calm, you can react more rationally in times of stress. Mastering self-regulation will also help to reassure your employees and promote a more positive workplace environment. 
Agent work buddy

2. Provide effective employee training

A well-trained team has the tools to solve their own problems without relying excessively on management. Some call center managers make the mistake of assuming that call center training is done once, and that’s it. 

But since bad habits can form over time, and best practice is always evolving, keeping your team up to date is a key call center manager skill. 

Here’s how to ensure your team is continuously equipped with the tools they need:

  • Hold regular training sessions for all agents. By providing regular training, your agents can get to grips with changing processes and best practices much quicker.
  • Create a buddy system. If you have some exemplar employees, pair them up with others that may need a bit of extra help. The best way to learn is by example, so seeing star performers in action can be invaluable for your team.
  • Create an internal knowledge base that agents can access. Nobody can retain all the information they learn all the time. If you can provide your employees with a library of information on processes and best practice, this can empower them to help themselves. They will be able to find whatever information they need, without leaning excessively on management or their co-workers. 

3. Learn to embrace new technology

If you have been working one way for many years, it can be difficult to accept change. But a willingness to learn and upskill is an important example to set for your team. 

Many contact centers are still using legacy systems, which can frustrate teams reaching for ambitious their targets. 

New technology, such as No-Code integrated call center software, can streamline many processes that are likely slowing your team down. Smooth operational procedures in the backend lead to enhanced customer experiences on the front end.

With the right toolkit, you can:

call center manager skills

4. Master the art of conflict management & resolution 

Conflict is an unfortunate fact of life in any workplace, and it can be hugely disruptive. 

Managing conflict effectively is another call center manager skill that will help you facilitate a happier work environment. 

Workplace conflict typically presents itself in three ways:

  • Conflict among employees
  • Conflict between employees and customers
  • Conflict between employees and their goals and targets

The best way to manage conflict is to be proactive and try to solve the issue before it gets out of hand. Get to know your staff so that you can learn to recognize when they are becoming agitated.

Do you need to assign a task to a group of people? Try to avoid forcing employees to work with individuals they are not compatible with where possible. 

Are there examples of customer-related conflicts you’ve dealt with? This is where you can set an excellent example for your team by demonstrating how resolving customer conflicts productively and peacefully is a net positive for your call center as a whole.

Have employees been struggling to meet their targets? Is that creating some workplace tension? It may be worth examining those targets and making adjustments if necessary.

5. Give your employees targeted feedback

The art of constructive criticism can be difficult to master. It contrasts with destructive criticism, which can harm employee self-esteem and feel like a personal attack. 

Effective call center coaching provides your employees with targeted and actionable feedback, which gives them the tools they need to improve as agents.  

Here are some tips on how to provide constructive criticism:

  • Avoid the feedback sandwich. In this case, the sandwich is metaphorical (although maybe a snack could soften the criticism blow!) This method involves delivering one piece of positive feedback in the middle of two pieces of negative feedback. While popular in some workplaces and schools, it isn’t a very effective method. The actual message can get buried and it can be difficult for the employee to identify their next steps.
  • Maintain a friendly tone and body language. In this work from home era we’re living in, this tip is even more essential. It can be difficult to read tone from text, so if you have to deliver serious feedback to an employee, a face-to-face video should be favored over email. 
  • Keep feedback private, not public. Nobody enjoys having their faults brought to light in a public setting. It can lower morale and damage self-esteem. Respect your employees by addressing individual issues away from the rest of their team where possible. 
  • Tell them what they can do to improve. Criticism is only constructive if it is actionable. Help your employees to improve their performance by providing them with clear steps they can take to address their shortcomings. If the answer to the problem is not obvious, offer to brainstorm the issue with them until you can both establish a path forward. 
call center leadership

6. Appreciate your employees

According to LinkedIn, 79% of employees who quit do so due to a lack of appreciation.

As a call center manager, it’s important to pay attention to your Employee Satisfaction Index

When your employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to stick with the company and cut down your staff turnover rates. If provided with the correct incentives they will also feel more motivated, which leads to higher productivity on the job.

Showing your employees that you value their work can take many forms, including:

  • Financial incentives in the form of bonuses 
  • Spot prizes for high performance
  • Additional training so employees can progress in their roles
  • Celebrating and recognizing employee achievements
  • Time off in recognition of hard work
  • Providing greater flexibility in the way your employees are allowed to work

Refine your call center manager skills

Improving your skills as a call center manager will help you to become a more effective leader who can get the best out of their team. Start by honing the six essential skills outlined above and experience the far-reaching impact this shift in approach will have on your performance as an individual and as a department.

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