In this issue about hiring successful call center managers, you'll discover:
- The safest way to hire the call center manager or team leader. Hint: these are extremely powerful devices for hiring the right call center manager for long-term cooperation;
- What essential skill do you need to look for in your future sales or customer service manager?;
- How to properly write a call center manager job description?
- How to properly organize the sequence of the interviewing process?
- The importance of the right call center manager interview questions for in-depth screening of relevant applicants from irrelevant ones;
- What questions interviewers are not asking of potential managers? And what are the right questions you need to ask?
- Can you delegate the hiring for the call center manager job to one of your colleagues?
- Why does the hiring of top individuals dramatically improve contact center management results?
- Why is the right individual capable of grabbing the essence of customer feedback?
- Last but not least is why the right person means the difference between success and failure. And many more!
Contact center management in an ordinary and challenging contact center environment
Contact center leaders are extremely valuable for any call or contact center (at least it should be this way). Mainly because they have full control over the team via influence on each agent.
The way they organize the reps' work and their continuous improvements anticipate critical issues such as customer experiences, and customer issues. Here are the essentials for 5-star contact center management:
First. An effective call center manager must perform in hiring agents first. Each of the employees brings to the table experience and skills. As a result, depending on their personal traits and skills, you achieve a cumulative effect on the call center.
And then your contact center either increases customer satisfaction or has a bad day. That's why a track record of successful hiring of sales contact center representatives or customer service representatives.
In our opinion, successful contact center management is when employees under the command of a manager are working for at least 2 years or more.
Hint: Ask this question during the interview (not in the description): For how long have agents hired by yourself worked in a call center? (Watch closely their reaction. Are they confident enough or not?). Because experienced and professional managers do know the answer.
Second. Understanding of the agent’s working activities: professional customer assistance, winning sales pitches, expanding knowledge about products, training sessions, employee engagement, etc.
Hint: By the way, the best call center managers have a personal record of working as an agent either in customer support or sales departments. For instance, they know about the call center's inner conditions because worked as contact center supervisors.
What is the third and one of the most critical responsibilities of a call center manager?
As we mentioned above, the single most important responsibility of the top call center managers is the hiring of agents and other staff and knowing the inner work of employees.
Third and that's also very important is to set and reach business goals.
What is that mean? The professional manager is capable of a brief look at the whole company’s staff and projects for the predictable future of what exactly is necessary to do today and in a week.
For example, your manager needs to build a roadmap of training sessions for expanding the knowledge base. This is an ultra-critical issue because none of the employees are good enough all the time. The re-shaping of the knowledge and skills is necessary. Overall, the team leader touches on knowledge, speaking, and technical skills first.
Fourth is control over the workforce. What does a call center manager do in this case? While agents in a call center must perform certain tasks due to their professional position. And here comes the authority of a manager that allows controlling the workforce to continue to perform the calling activity through monitoring and engagement.
Further, the authority often works in a sense of directing to the job, not by harsh or hostile actions. The leader creates conditions when call center reps succeed during customer interactions. But not only that, reps under such control provide exceptional customer service because they like this kind of professional treatment.
Fifth. Every manager that leads the team must look at the business goals and based on the personal research report to the owner about the main business goals.
For instance, if a manager understands that reaching 50 000 customers is impossible in a week. Or increasing the sales revenue by twofold is challenging within a quarter – the owner better knows it in advance!
The business goals must be short and long-term and managers are the ones in charge of their implementation. Short-term goals may look as follows: The reduction of the average handle time by training agents or hiring a new one. Decreasing the abandonment rate by making the appropriate changes in the telemarketing campaigns.
As a result, after the research, managers are capable to present their judgment.
Here are extremely powerful devices to hire people for the call center manager job
Start from your job description for a call center manager position. Here’s what you need to know in order to create an ultimately great description for the call center manager position.
Here are the essentials of the center manager job description:
The person will be responsible either for the sales or customer service team leading. As an effective leader of the sales team, the person must have sales experience as well. On the other hand, the customer service leader performs well when there’s an understanding of what exactly the solution is for the customer. But there are exceptions.
That’s important to notice because these two teams are different and require different approaches, knowledge, and contact center experience.
The person has to have a decent background (one year of successful management will do) to manage a call center team. Whether it's a big or small team.
Spell out what your job requirements are and always be crystal clear about your expectations
Too often the frustrating situation when a person doesn’t actually understand what is expected from them occurs. That’s why you need to disclose your expectations from the applicant, right up front.
For instance, tell in advance in your proposition and then during the interview that your expectations are: increasing revenue by twofold in the next month, contracting by 50% more prospects, addressing 40% more customer’s issues faster, improving customer satisfaction score, you name it.
And left zero for "gray areas" in your description. That's the wise way to do it because it’s better to save time with the proper description of the position. And consequently finding the right person. Rather than spending time later on while interviewing or screening the potential applicants.
Now comes your contact center owners' responsibility
You want to have a decent leader in your team to ensure a high level of team performance and customer satisfaction. So your primer job as an owner is to interview applicants with in-depth questions and interviews. Can you do otherwise?
Perhaps you can delegate the hiring of an ordinary employee such as a sales rep or customer service agent (basically you need to delegate this to someone responsible).
But hiring leaders for human resources, sales, or customer service teams are better when business owner see and hear the applicant. Team leaders are responsible for the success or failure in a given area. It's better to make the best bet by hiring this kind of people singlehandedly.
Let's clarify this. If the agent fails – other agents in your contact center are able to upkeep the situation. But if one of your managers will fail – you’d have a lot of problems! Depending on the situation you achieve customer aggravation or low business goals performance. \
The negative cumulative effect from the manager's failure sooner or later (almost always sooner) transforms into a revenue decrease and budget cuts. Overall competitiveness is suffering. A little bit more and reputation is at the stake (the most respectful feature of any company today).
So, don’t hesitate to interview the applicants for the manager’s position. That’s in your best interest! Find the time for the interviewing personally (the best option) or via video conference (at least).
Maximize the precision during the hiring process,
First of all, hiring for such a position requires not one step for onboarding but actually a few of them in a sequence. Here they are
In-depth screening of the applicant’s curriculum vitae (CV). Hint: You will have a choice to submit either the call center manager's resume or the call center manager's curriculum vitae. Because the resume is nothing more than a short record of contact center manager skills, experience, and education).
The CV is a deep description of the applicant’s education, early career years, experience, and achievements. Remember, achievements are the single most critical part of the CV for any employee, in our case for the position of call center manager.
The second most important part is how exactly a person achieved results and how it impacted their previous company. The optional length of the CV for a call center application is 1 straight page. That’s enough for pinpointing all the necessary achievements, skills, experience, etc. Thus look at the CV closely.
Look very closely at the CV to find out whether everything is matching your needs. If the call center CV or call center manager resume has grey areas, just ask additional questions or better send the list of the questions to the applicant before the interview.
Based on the relevant applicant’s CV, conduct the thoughtful interview personally or via video conference. Take your time while you interview the applicant by asking questions about how exactly they achieved the success described in the CV.
If the interview is longer than 30 minutes, it’s normal (but no longer than 45 minutes). Hint: During an interview questions for the call center manager position mention the next one listed below:
- How many agents were in a call center?;
- What is contact center technology they’ve used?;
- What are the main problems and how they’ve been taken?;
- What was the main problem with the staff and how the applicant addressed them?;
- What was the revenue of a previous call center and what salaries?;
- Why did the applicant quit the company?
During the video interview, look for:
Does this particular applicant is a good fit for your company? Or, there is a lot to study in terms of knowledge, experience, and problem-solving skills? Are the answers reflect reality or there’s an attempt from the applicant to cheat the interviewer?
The most frequent case is the lack of achievements
The call center manager has to pursue the call center goals, no matter what. So, it happens all the time, managers are lazy and rarely achieve great results. Thus if a manager has the experience, they also must have a track record of achievements. There could be less than dozen results yet they demonstrate actual professionalism.
You look at these achievements by asking questions. And by thinking about answers try to figure out whether the info given in the CV and the applicant’s answer mean a great agent performance or else.
The interpersonal contact center skills and language issue
One of the most relevant contact center manager skills is communication skills. More than in any other profession – communicating skills are sole for this position. And if the English (or your’s country language) is not good enough then perhaps you need to look for other applicants.
For instance, your applicant isn’t perfect linguistically for the area they will be working (US, England, France, etc). Or they aren’t sound confident and excited in their mother tongue or second language. You need to assess the communication skills first to give the applicant even the slightest fighting chance for the job in your call center.
Another manager's problem-solving skills to look
Next, you need to know how exactly the person achieved results during the manager's career. Which is a lot in every call center. For example, look at how a person solved an issue with the agent’s discipline, attendance, training, studying, employee performance, you name it. What are their main ways to tackle these issues?
The answers to these questions are very important, keep your sharp eye on them. Because once in your call center such issues will arise, and the particular person would solve it in a way he or she tells you.
Conflict solving is one of the prime skills
The call center manager must have soft skills which means the ability to solve the agent’s quarrels as well he solves customer complaints. A lot of managers today are lacking soft skills and it damages the call center team cooperation.
Moreover, often in a contact center, turnover rates among employees are increasing due to the leader's actions. If manager tackle such situations softly that's the demonstration of communication and one of the essential problem-solving skills you need to have at your call center.
Is there enough personality in your applicant to tackle these kinds of issues, if necessary? Try to find out by asking what they’d do if. Give to the applicant a virtual assignment. For instance, two agents have a quarrel about some customer and point their fingers at each other. The situation escalates and even dangers to undermining the work in a call center. How would the applicant resolve it?
Or what if angry customers want to reach the senior person? An experienced manager will tell you the ways on solving these issues. They have their own Aces for these kinds of situations.
The manager's personal traits
The manager will control the staff, which means personal traits such as a persuasive tone of voice, energy, the necessity to solve the problem, desire to outperform results, willingness to work harder, be promoted, and so forth. Why these traits are the essence?
Because this person must control, direct, and sustain the agent's activity through performance management for prospects and especially, dissatisfied customers. Make your own conclusion about the applicant's team leader skills!
Hiring and firing traits of the potential call center manager
The manager will have the authority to hire and fire call center employees (in the top call centers it works this way).
This leads to the conclusion that a person must have a sharp eye for hiring relevant agents when needed. Ask about their hiring traits, and what they’d look like in the future employees for your call center.
Additionally, you need to know how the manager controls the call center performance when firing people, proven to be harmful to a call center. For example, let the person tell you what are the 3 grave cases for which it’s necessary to fire an agent. For instance, here are the 3 crimes for which top call centers fire employees:
- The lack of discipline. The person is rarely adhering to the working schedule (starts the work, pauses for a meal, and leaves at the end of a shift), without any constructive reason at all.
- The lack of the desire to work in a call center due to personal hesitation. It happens all the time, people go to work in a call center with the assumption there is money. But this "mob mentality" toward money-hunting attitude leads to low performance. As a result, the performance is suffering and they start to decrease the overall call center’s performance;
- Cheating of colleagues or managers. Particular individuals could try to cheat their senior staff by “hiding their head in the sand” when there’s a mistake, they don’t want to face. For instance, the irate customer is calling your call center and in an aggressive voice says that someone from a call center told them the wrong actions to perform with their bank account.
As a result, now they have to deal with the bank to solve the problem (it could be other cases). But the fact that a mistake is committed and no report is given to the senior call center employee makes the case difficult to solve. For this kind of mistake, or because of the few mistakes of a such kind without a report, an agent could be fired!
Ask your question, in addition, to the listed cases above. And remember, the first job of every call center manager is to hire or fire employees, when necessary. They have to have a real sharp eye and professionalism to perform this task in the right way.
If you are satisfied with the interview, you need to test the person "in the field". Of course, this test must be fully paid as a real working day, no bargain is recommended or the applicant could be discouraged. But you need to give see some real performance of the manager during this testing session.
How you can do it? It’s simple though. During this testing day, you’ll remotely control everything that happens in your call center. For instance, if you have the 8 working shift, you need to be online during these 8 hours, or close to it. You never what could happen with the internet, applicant, or performance.
Is the testing shift walking through smoothly and you are satisfied? Then proceed to the next step. The next step would be the last one. Based on the previous testing shift, you already know what a potential call center manager is capable of.
Now, you need to watch the last thing. Before full onboarding, you need to see whether this person is reliable in the long run. Watch on the punctual, professional, personal, and other relevant skills during the 1 month period.
Despite the fact, it’s rarely managers who climb to step 4, it’s important to take it because things with managers are happening sometimes. And you don’t want to fully trust the future call center manager before they achieve from you the actual evidence.
Because as we mentioned above, if one of your managers fails – your call center is gone! So watch the applicant's routines and daily operations, for a 1 month period how the call center manager performs.
If 1 month period passed successfully, you are free to say: Welcome to the team and onboard the manager for future successful business relationships, for years ahead
How much does a call center manager make?
Despite the fact that the call center manager's salary ranges from 51,264 to $74,917. You better pay more than 74k per year. And here's why.
Because you can’t achieve a great manager paying a "bargain basement" rate. The best contact center professionals often charge higher rates. Because that's the reason why they have more professional, speaking, and interpersonal skills than anyone else on a team.
Where to hire a call center manager for long-term cooperation?
One of the surest ways is the reference, for instance, one of your business partners can suggest you hire the call center manager. But remember that even if someone very close to you proposes the person, it doesn’t mean you slash the interview process by any means.
Hint: Have no illusions about top call center managers – they rarely last for long without a job. Because one of the companies would like to onboard them very fast. That’s just how things work with managers – the best ones are always busy!
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for hiring employees for companies of any kind. Although this platform looks like Facebook, Twitter, or other. The initial purpose of it is to create business connections between people around the globe.
You can use a whole plethora of platforms for your region. If you create a good description and place an attractive salary rate, your job will be easy!
Additional tips to follow?
Most call center owners skip the in-depth hiring process of the call center manager. And consequently, regret because as we mentioned above, managers make a difference between success or failure in your call center.
Thus, as an owner of a call center, you either hire your call center manager personally. Or delegate this job to the hiring manager. And you must be sure, your hiring manager will be on top during all the steps of the hiring. It’s really that important.
Is there real call center manager training to become the head of a call center in the future?
The best call center manager training looks as follows. First, the person becomes an agent in a call center. Second, this highly reliable individual and promoted to supervisor. And lastly, after 2 years or so of dedicated work in a call center, it's easy to become a competitive call center manager.
Perhaps, there are less costly and fastest ways but the way described above is the most proven and workable. It guarantees sustainable results for a call center in the long run.
By, the way, if the person has been a supervisor for a long time maybe today is the day - to become a call center manager.
What the Voiptime Cloud can give you today?
The Voiptime Cloud company offers nothing but independent counsel on various topics regarding the call center industry. We serve people with integrity and a crystal-clear attitude.
Outside of counseling, on a day-to-day basis, the Voiptime Cloud furnishes small and mid-sized call centers with cutting-edge call center software for better productivity and top results.
In short, this software allows you to start your own call center within 48 hours. All our call center has the option to conduct outbound global-reach calls. And receive inbound calls from any part of the world. If you are interested, follow the link below.
Contact us to discuss your needs and see Voiptime Contact Center in action!