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Call centre management isn’t easy, especially when it comes to keeping your employees and customers engaged and happy. Those in senior management positions need to know the business and any budgets that are in place like the back of their hand – it’s the only way they’ll be able to lead their call centre effectively.
It’s a lot to keep on top of, but with the right strategy and planning in place it’s totally possible. To help you, we’ve compiled a handy list of the seven best call centre management practices.
What is a call centre?
A call centre, also known as a contact centre, is the hub of all business communications. It’s where customers can call about any issues or problems they have, and get solutions fast.
A call centre is made up of call centre agents that work on the front-line of customer interactions and communications.
Traditionally, call centres used to operate via telephone primarily, but as years have gone by, other forms of communication have evolved, including:
- Real-time chat
- Text (SMS)
- Video call
- Social media
What is call centre management?
Call centre management involves leading and managing all operations within the contact centre, including communications and staff. It’s not an easy job and requires a lot of strategy and planning to get right.
Our seven best practices will help you nail call centre management functionality and lead your team with efficiency and direction.
Call centre management best practices
1. Hire the Best Employees
It’s a no-brainer but super important: hire the best employees. Working at the service level requires more than just basic communication skills. You’ve got to make sure you screen all prospective employees, assessing their level of customer care, memory, articulation, listening skills and enthusiasm.
Not all these things can be taught, so make the job easier on yourself by hiring someone who is a natural fit for your team.
Some other key soft skills to look out for include:
- Overall emotional intelligence (how they interact with others).
- Good team-player
- Problem-solving skills
2. Provide thorough onboarding
Onboarding is always important, but it’s even more essential now that we live in an age of hybrid work. Not all your employees may work from the office – some may work from home.
This is why it’s key you set up a comprehensive onboarding programme that helps them learn and settle in and helps make connections and build a sense of team spirit.
Even if your team members all work from the office, a thorough and detailed onboarding process will give them the know-how they need to tackle tough conversations on the floor and give them the confidence to talk to customers properly.
Some ideas for your onboarding program could include:
- Setting up a buddy program in the call centre (new employees team up with top agents to learn from them)
- Providing new employees with company equipment (water bottles, laptops and microphones etc)
- Training new employees in effective communication and interpersonal skills (to deal with everyday queries and tough customer complaint situations, often through roleplaying and scripting conversations)
- Running a webinar that recaps everything the onboard has learnt
- Getting them set up on your website’s team page
- Creating an online welcome video (this can be for both remote and hybrid teams, as it gives your new onboard a little flavour of what your company is all about even before they’ve come into the office or started work)
- Recapping company benefits such as paid holiday, retirement benefits and free-for-employee healthcare providers
- Throwing an end of onboarding party to celebrate them becoming part of the team
- Having a review period at the end of the onboarding process to ensure they’ve understood everything and are ready to take on their new role with confidence
The better trained your new recruits are, the more likely they are to convert customers and project a sense of enthusiasm for your role. It will also ensure they hit the ground running and limit any back-and-forth miscommunication while.
3. Prioritise employee engagement
Don’t put your employee engagement and well-being on the backburner. If your staff are burned out and have no motivation, they’re not going to do their job well and customer satisfaction levels will drop as a result.
Putting in place a few programmes or practices to reinforce engagement and keep them happy will go a long way in boosting morale and keeping retention rates high.
This could be something as simple as organising weekly team meetings, lunches or happy hours – so long as you’re carving out time to foster a bit of community and team spirit, you’re all good. It almost goes without saying that you want to make sure your employees feel like they’re part of a team, not just some cog in a machine.
You could even consider setting up a rewards or recognition scheme like ‘employee of the month’ that gives your staff incentives to hit all their goals.
4. Ensure proper scheduling for effective call centre management
One of the most underrated strategies for effective call centre management? Proper scheduling. Without it, you risk having employees working much longer than they should and without any breaks. This is especially true if you’re a large business – leading all those people can get a little difficult.
Scheduling makes for a more efficient and productive workflow, ensuring each member is given enough ‘me time’ to recharge and refuel after answering X amount of calls. If they’re burned out, they’ll only reflect that negative energy onto customers (which is never good for your reputation).
When thinking about scheduling hours and breaks, take into consideration employee ability, peak and off-peak call times, and opening and closing hours.
You might find it easier to download scheduling automation software. That way, you can get all the manual work done fast without sacrificing your more important tasks.
5. Communicate regularly with your employees
Not only will regular communication with your employees build a sense of community, trust and team spirit, it will also ensure you get to the bottom of any problems grinding down on your staff.
Set aside some time each week for team leaders to have one-to-ones with staff members, and perhaps think about setting up an anonymous feedback system. This way, staff can share their thoughts and feelings without worrying about what others might think.
During these one-to-ones, be sure to ask your staff lots of questions. How did their week go? Have they got any problems or concerns? Are they taking on too little/enough/too many phone calls? Have they got any suggestions on anything that can be done better? Always be open to feedback and make sure your team knows you’re always there to listen.
6. Give employees targeted feedback
A key part of call centre management is performance management – looking at agent performance and giving them targeted feedback that helps them improve.
Take a look at various KPIs like the number of customer interactions, waiting time, average handling time and first call resolution (FCR) to get a better understanding of agent performance and where they’re performing well (and where they’re missing the mark). Approach them with your feedback and gently reinforce where they could improve, and always give them a chance to ask any questions.
7. Use data when making decisions
The only way you’re going to improve the customer journey and overall call centre management is by analysing data and metrics, using this information to establish goals and benchmarks.
Once you’ve set up these goals, analyse your operations to get a better understanding of your performance and what needs to be improved. Analysing and understanding your call centre performance is key to making smarter decisions, and will make it easier when it comes to forecasting future call outcomes.
How to refine your call centre management strategy
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to refine your strategy. Putting the cogs into motion is great, but what if you could supercharge the process and make managing your call centre that much more streamlined? If you’re running your call centre without any software, you probably already know what we’re talking about.
Toggling between different apps. Little to no omnichannel communications. Silos between different departments and call centre agents.
By downloading a cloud communications software like RingCentral, you can alleviate all this hassle and make your business communications much more efficient. As well as providing a top-tier cloud contact centre solution, you’ll also have access to a wide range of communications channels.
RingCentral for call centre management
Message, video and phone open up a whole new world of communications and efficiency for you and your call centre with RingCentral.
Why Should You Use RingCentral for Call Centre Management?
Run your business communications smoothly and deliver the experience your staff and customers want with RingCentral Contact Centre. Improve workflows and productivity with an all-in-one system that stops your agents switching between different apps.
Make customer service easier with automatic diallers that can be sent to customers, track all your metrics, and open a new world of communication. No matter what type of call you want to place, RingCentral has you covered. From video and phone to conference calls, give your customers an omnichannel experience like no other.
RingCentral features for call centre management
As well as a range of communication channels, RingCentral Call Centre also includes a lot of other handy features:
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
- Customer-relationship management system (CRM)
- Call routing, call forwarding and automatic diallers
- Integrations with existing sales and time-management software
- Access to 24/7 customer support
- Automatic upgrades
- Built-in task management
- Customisation possibilities (using APIs)
Originally published Apr 13, 2022