How Do Your Call Center Supervisors Compare?

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To assure alignment and execution of your contact center business plans, perhaps the single most important ingredient is the effectiveness of your fronltine supervisors. To a large extent, the level of your organization’s long-term success relies on the effective execution of daily operations, which is led by the frontline supervisor. To know if you’re at risk of creating success you must know how your supervisors compare.

Development of this core group of leaders is where a vast number of organizations sabotage their chances for success. Studies reveal that:

  • Greater than 50% of frontline supervisors fail.
  • More than 80% of fronltine employees leave because of their relationship with their immediate supervisor.
  • Only 18% of companies report they have a supply of capable employees ready to fill supervisory roles.

One of your biggest areas of opportunity to dramatically impact your future is located in developing your frontline supervisors. To get started, there are only three essential ingredients for assembling a “dream team” of supervisory staff in today’s call center.

Job Fit

Hire the right candidate. Be careful and screen to ensure that the right individuals are stepping into supervisory roles. The overwhelming majority of frontline supervisors today were promoted into that position from being a frontline agent.  While this promotion from within provides a desirable career path and ensures the supervisor understands the basic call-handling process, it does not necessarily guarantee performance success. The competencies to be a successful agent are not the same as being a successful supervisor (learn the competencies here). It’s important that careful screening be used to determine which employees will be the best leaders (not agent).

Essential Skills

It’s also critical that new supervisors and team managers receive the necessary training as they move into this new leadership role. Studies show that while most new supervisors receive training through Human Resources on general supervisory and leadership skills, only about 20% of supervisors receive any call center specific supervisory training. While general supervisory classes in time management, diversity, and how to do a performance review are necessary and useful, new call center supervisors will also need some specialized knowledge and skills to be successful in this new role.

Ongoing Development

Just like frontline staff and executives need ongoing coaching, supervisors need ongoing development too. Regular performance reviews and fine-tuning performance gaps is critical for ongoing development to ensure supervisors can provide the necessary leadership and guidance for frontline staff. This ongoing support should include access to training resources to fill knowledge gaps, coaching tips and techniques, and professional communities of practice (CoP) to share ideas and solutions. Outside perspectives are required for ongoing development to occur.

To develop an effective frontline supervisor development system, organizations must learn to:

  • Identify the critical role that supervisors play in their call center’s success.
  • Know the practices for selecting frontline leaders.
  • Identify and develop the six core competencies for call center supervisors.
  • Know the most critical elements of supervisory knowledge and skills.
  • Deploy the best learning approaches to address supervisory training needs.
  • Implement ongoing resources to provide a continuous learning environment.
  • Assess current supervisory knowledge through online assessments.

People need to understand their path to success. Supervisors want to understand what they need to know and should be able to do, along with being provided the opportunity to receive or pursue the essential skills and knowledge.

But the first step is to pursue in building a supervisory development plan is to develop your current knowledge. One thing is certain, past practices and efforts have not garnered much in the way of frontline supervisor success.

Remember, frontline supervisors can directly impact the lives and livelihoods of your employees and customers. Even more than your executive staff. Your culture is led on the frontline and you need to know how your supervisors compare and how they can conquer.

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