Let's face it; contact centers are not an easy environment to manage. Every day, contact center agents are bombarded with disgruntled customers, long hours, and monotonous routines that lead to massive attrition rates. Part of a contact center manager's role is increasing agent retention and reducing attrition — but without proper team buy-in, this can be all but impossible.
Promoting a positive work environment and investing in staff isn't exclusive to contact centers. These principles remain a large component of management and play a significant role in nearly all business settings. However, industries that deal exclusively with customer service are especially challenging to maintain, as those significant attrition rates we mentioned are always lurking in the background.
While you don't have any control over customer's reactions or how they treat your agents, there are some things you can do. One of these actions is managing the workplace and establishing solidarity within the contact center. Unifying your workplace and creating team buy-in on incentives, company vision, or a product/service is key.
First and foremost, let's establish what your role is. You're a coach, a strategist, a leader — and you must take your part seriously if you want your agents to as well.
The truth is, these are just a few of the responsibilities that your role entails. However, juggling a ton of responsibility means you get to reap a ton of rewards — if you're up for it. Part of being a contact center manager is seeing your agents succeed through the time and energy you have invested in them. Yes, as a contact center manager, you have defined goals and marks you must hit. But, without proper team buy-in, those goals will be nearly impossible to hit.
However, the type of contact center manager you decide to be has a big impact on team buy-in. Before you can even implement concrete strategies, incentives, and culture initiatives — you need to decide what type of manager you want to be.
Everybody manages differently. While there are training programs and guidelines to help lead the way, usually contact center managers fit into one of these four roles:
You've likely either been this person or been the victim of it one time or another. Micro-managers mean well. In fact, they're usually only trying to help. While good intentions are good, the repercussions can be damaging for your team. Over time this type of manager never allows their agents the ability to develop a sense of decision making. Monitoring your staff is a good thing. However, always looking over your agent's shoulders and inhibiting their ability to grow can be damaging.
While a micro-manager always has their hands in the mix, the absentee manager expects operations to run without them entirely. While your contact center should have tools, processes, and operations in place to allow this sort of situation — it shouldn't be the case all of the time. Your job is to manage your team. Expecting every problem to be solved on its own and every agent to be completely self-sufficient is unrealistic. There's a difference between helping your organization grow and expecting growth. Providing helpful feedback and always being available to better your team is the best way to prevent yourself from becoming an absentee manager.
The assertive character is the first step in successful management. In this role, you're continually building up your team and providing a positive presence. You aim for goals and accept criticism, allowing yourself time and room to make changes to your management style. However, you also know when to put the foot down and defend your management tactics. You also support others that do this as well.
This management type creates a unique approach for every agent. This style takes a serious investment in your staff, as it requires you to understand their individual needs, strengths, weaknesses, and methods of learning. This personalized approach is an ideal situation for a contact center, where agents rarely feel heard. This personalization extends to training as well, allowing you to garner helpful feedback from a wide variety of viewpoints. If you want to encourage and sustain team buy-in, strive for this character.
So, you're probably wondering what exactly you can do to bring your team together around a common goal. Well, luckily for you, there are a few ways you can create positive team buy-in.
Managers know how important they are to an organization, but underestimate their effect on staff. According to a Gallup poll, 75% of the reason employees quit their job is due to their managers. That's massive. While many contact center managers solely focus on hitting specific metrics, they should be equally invested in keeping their employees.
Making a daily investment in your agents goes a long way. This tactic is far different than micromanagement. Helping when needed is excellent; however, part of coaching is positive feedback. When you see agents doing a great job, let them know. If you notice agents are struggling or doing something wrong, let them know directly, and how to fix the issue. Stay vigilant with these agents, and don't forget you may need to check back in to see if they understand their mistake.
Every company has unique values and mission statements, so we can't give you a one size fits all solution. However, you must speak that value to power with your team every day. Creating team goals centered around your company vision will also boost team buy-in. It's a rallying cry for everyone around a common mission. Creating team activities and incentives that further these values is an excellent way to foster team buy-in.
As we mentioned, being a contact center manager isn't all about leadership and fluff. Most of what you're aiming for revolves around concrete goals and metrics you must hit. One way to involve everyone in the effort is to visualize metrics and goals. These can be physically throughout the office or within the software that you use. It's also important to include parameters of your own that go above and beyond. These metrics can consist of employee satisfaction data and exemplary weekly or monthly team members. This area is where you can be a bit creative and include your staff in decision making as well. Soon, you'll see some of these employee well-being stats correlate with actual upticks in business objectives. Happier employees = better business.
Being a successful contact center manager means doing your part to better yourself. Finding the right tips, tricks, and trends for contact center management are a great way to keep the ball rolling, and your staff rallied around a common goal.
Team buy-in doesn't come easily. However, with the right mentality, you can transform your work culture for the better.
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