Globalization and technological innovation are fundamentally changing many different businesses, and the business of customer-support Call Centers is no exception.
Call Centers are transforming, becoming digital cloud based operations while growing ever-more important within the business they serve. These changes affect Contact Centers budgets, technologies used, and of course requirements from its personnel and management.
When Call Centers were born, they were small groups of agents managed in-house, taking care of customer service by mail (the “snail”, hard-copy variety) or by phone.
Today Contact Centers are huge operations spread across multiple locations (some of them virtual) often thousands of miles away from the headquarters and manufacturing centers. While the phone has thus far survived, snail mail was replaced with websites, support chat modules and myriad social media platforms through which customers can engage you. While this can save you the employer all kinds of overhead and give you the ability to provide better faster customer care, it also presents unique logistical and managerial challenges.
As customer service becomes the great difference-maker in the business world, Contact Centers, the heart and soul of customer service, are going through expansion and transformation. The task of running them is evolving as one of the most important jobs in a large corporation.
If the agent on the phone or chat is your soldier, and the team manager is your platoon commander. The CCTR manager is your field marshal. In charge of strategic decisions, agent motivation and fighting for what he believes will bring value to your brand’s customer service and ultimately to your customer.
Running a cutting-edge CCTR operations in the digital age involves a long list of new responsibilities, which require a whole new set of skills. If you’re looking for someone to run your Call Center here is a list of skills you should be looking for in the right candidate. If you want to run a Call Center this is what’s going to be expected of you.
The CC manager is the person in charge of the first line of contact with your customer, he is the first to know if something is working or not, and why. If your customer demands a change, the CC manager is the one that will have to deliver that demand to the C-Suite, present a solution and be a part of making the strategic decisions. In other words your CC manager will have to help lead your C-Suite in making decisions that affect your customer experience.
2) Tech Savvy
Call Centers are becoming more dependent on new advanced technologies. From Augmented Visual Support to advanced analytics and AI. The right technology can improve your results and save costs, while technology that’s a bad fit can cause damage. To successfully run a CCTR, a good manager needs to keep up with CCTR innovations, and be smart about choosing the right ones that address the KPI’s and customer needs that are important to his business.
After identifying the right technology follows implementation. If a CCTR manager is not quick with technology and can’t learn and understand the ins and outs of the technologies he is introducing into his CCTR, it is going to be much harder for him to work with his teams to successfully implement technologies into their work-flow.
If you had to chose one new skill to focus on when hiring a new CC manager that would be the one.
3) Social Media skills
It used to be a lot easier. Whether by phone or mail, customer contact in the old days was controlled by the company, and private. Now often your initial contact with a customer can happen on twitter or facebook, for all the world to see. It takes far more dexterity to handle irate customers in such an environment, and it takes a pro to know the do’s and don’ts of each medium. Understanding social media etiquette and lingo is fundamental to running a call center, especially if a part of your customers are millennials.
4) Deep understanding of the complete Customer Experience
This translates to familiarity with your product and end to end service experience.
These days managing your customer’s experience when he needs support has become a big task. With so many formats and platforms to communicate and provide support you need to know what’s the best way to use each. That means matching the customer service issue and the customer “persona” with the best channel and mean to deliver support.
You can’t drive customers in an endless loop between FAQ page and Video troubleshooting. In order to do so your CCTR manager has to be familiar with the product and your customer.
What are the recurring issues?
How are they best resolved with different customers?
Your CCTR manager need to know if a bot is capable of providing a certain type of solution or if it can only be delivered by a human. He needs to know your product and your customers inside out to make sure you build your CX in the most effective way.
5) Complex management
Cloud technology has thrown onsite old fashion management style out the window. The modern CCTR manager must handle different types of employees, in different locations, at different timezones, working under different arrangements. Enough said…
The CCTR manager might not be directly recruiting but he sets the bar. Personnel like anything else in a CCTR needs to be optimized. You need to get the most bang for your buck and with the evolving complexity of the modern CCTR this game is changing and there is more to consider than how an agent sounds.
The right personnel will handle a higher volume of customer interactions with better results and more satisfied customers, impacting your bottom line both directly and indirectly. Your manager must have an eye for those who can do the job well, and match them to your customers. For that to happen, he or she must have those qualities themselves. As they say: Game recognize game. Hiring is half the battle, retention is the second half.. CCTR is a grinding business with high turnover. Turnover means lost organizational knowledge that has cost the company money in training. The ideal manager will know how to balance a demand for results and budget considerations on one hand with creating a work environment people will hesitate to lose.
7) Big-picture vision
The success of your company is not just the sum of its parts. In order to truly thrive a company needs to eliminate silos within the company and minimize the friction between departments. Too often you experience one department driving their KPI’s up at the expense of other departments. One examples is lowering AHT at the CCTR at the expense of opening more field service technician work orders. In order to put this to practice you need your CCTR to have a mile high perspective for the complete business. You can help him by setting the right KPI’s for him making sure they align with the company’s agenda avoiding friction between departments. A holistic vision of the business is crucial for the person who manages the first line of contact with the customer.
Call Centers today are more important and more complex than ever before. The person who runs them has a tough job that requires a broad array of skills. You must make sure they meet all the criteria and reward them accordingly, or your business will lose on what is perhaps the most critical battlefield of modern corporate warfare. Your customer service.