Leadership Skills for Call Center Supervisors: Training and Development Guide

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Quote on leadership training reflecting that information has never made anyone improve their leadership skills.Looking for ways to improve supervisors’ leadership skills in your call center? You’ll find a wealth of information here about what others have learned about leadership skills training for supervisors, questions they ask, things they should ask, mistakes they made, and things you probably have not considered.

What’s the best decision to make? I hope you don’t already have your mind made up, because you just might experience a knot in your stomach. You know, that one that shows up when you think you’ve done something wrong.

The truth is that mainstream information on developing leadership skills for supervisors in call centers is more informational than transformational. And information alone has never made anyone a better leader – watch a video, and you’re a better leader. That does not work.

This comprehensive guide will provide an overview of essential leadership competencies for call center leaders, and some key skills that high-performing call center supervisors possess.

After nearly three decades of research, a competency model was created that identified six crucial competencies key to being an effective call center supervisor.

Leadership skills can be developed and blossom due to becoming more capable in these six competencies. Competencies are like the bedrock for skills to be built on.

Whether you are an HR professional, a learning and development manager, or a senior call center leader, these insights will empower you to make better decisions about creating a highly skilled and effective supervisory team and selecting people for a supervisory role.

Table of Contents

  1. The Importance of Leadership Skills in Call Centers
  2. Identifying Training Needs: Assessing Competencies
  3. Designing Leadership Skills Training for Call Center Supervisors: Best Practices
  4. Implementing Effective Training Strategies
  5. Evaluating Training Success: Measuring Results
  6. Investing in Leadership Skills Training for Call Center Supervisors
  7. Key Tips and Takeaways
  8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Importance of Leadership Skills in Call Centers

Call centers are fast-paced and uniquely different than every other part of your business. A few years back, an Executive Vice President of a Global 100 company told me, “Those people are strange.”

Yes, we are.

We must balance priorities, manage workflows, react effectively, optimize, monitor, and keep everyone happy.

Effective leadership is critical to drive success in a call center. Supervisors must guide their teams toward achieving organizational goals while delivering exceptional customer experiences.

By working to develop your supervisors with the necessary skills and behaviors, you can enhance their performance and ultimately contribute to the overall success of your call center.

Leadership Skills Impact

There are decades of research supporting what improved leadership skills can provide to organizations.

Identifying Training Needs: Assessing Competencies

Supervisor Team Audit to help assess the Leadership Skills for Call Center SupervisorsBefore designing a training program, it is essential to assess the current competencies of your supervisors. Conducting competency assessments can help identify areas where they excel and areas that require improvement.

This assessment process can be done through performance evaluations, feedback from team members, or even self-assessment questionnaires.

The Supervisor Team Audit (https://www.callcentercoach.com/call-center-supervisor-team-audit) is an 85-question evaluation that helps you compare and understand your contact center supervisors’ skills and performance compared to top-performing supervisors.

You get a clear view of what’s needed and what’s missing.

Designing Leadership Skills Training for Call Center Supervisors: Best Practices

Once you have identified the training needs of your supervisors, it’s time to design effective training and development programs. It’s important to know that each supervisor will have unique development requirements and preferred ways of learning.

Supervisor Success Path ebook shows how to build Leadership Skills for Call Center Supervisors

Each supervisor is on a learning and development journey or path, with different competencies and skill strengths.

You must incorporate various learning methods (multi-modal) such as workshops, online courses, micro courses, short videos, challenge courses, role-playing exercises, communities of practice, mentorship programs, group coaching, 1-on-1 coaching, and more.

Remember, the modern learner does not want to sit in a classroom anymore.

The Supervisor Success Path ebook (https://www.callcentercoach.com/call-center-supervisor-success-path-ebook/) shows you a systemic approach to related knowledge, skills, and practices directly correlating with call center supervisor performance and putting it into practice.

Implementing Effective Training Strategies

Implementing the training program is where the real transformation begins. Ensure that your supervisors go through an onboarding process for their learning journey.

Receiving access to necessary resources and support throughout their training journey is commonplace. To make a significant impact, realize that if you do not make it a priority, neither will they.

Set expectations and measure active participation, asking questions, and applying their learning in real-life work scenarios. Set self-directed, group, and community learning expectations.

Their adoption and engagement dramatically enhance skill acquisition, retention, and transformation. Add a force multiplier by including support personnel and senior call center leaders in your training strategy.

What about Quality and Training Teams?

Quote on Leadership Skills enabling consistency and collaborationIf your quality and training teams are not part of the learning experience, how will you create consistency and collaboration in your call center operation?

In every high-performing call center organization case study result, you will find that training, quality, and supervisory teams have high levels of consistency and collaboration.

All of these groups are supporters and contributors to developing and retaining call center agents.

Leadership skills are the enabler and glue of consistency and collaboration for each group.

What about senior call center leaders?

There are real-world answers to why senior call center leaders must be included in your training strategy.

During conversations with several senior call center leaders actively participating in supervisor leadership and development training programs, three common responses stood out as glaring reasons why they saw value in their participation.

When asked, “Why are you participating in supervisor training?”

They responded:

  • “I’ve never been a frontline supervisor (or worked in the call center) and now I am responsible for the call center.”
  • “It’s been a long time since I was a supervisor, and I need to refresh my skills.”
  • “I need to know what they are going through to set expectations and accountabilities.”

If these three participation reasons apply to your situation, what do you think senior leaders should do?

Evaluating Training Success: Measuring Results

Measuring the success of your supervisor training programs is crucial to determine their effectiveness.

There are numerous areas where you can evaluate training effectiveness.

  • Participant level: What do/did participants feel about the program
  • Team level: Agent performance, agent satisfaction, agent turnover
  • Peer level: Easy to work with, Supportive
  • Center level: Customer Experience, First Contact Resolution, Escalations, Complaints
  • Company level: Customer Retention, Sales, Referrals

Implement evaluation methods at every level of your organization to most accurately measure your return on supervisor training investment.

Proof breeds priority and plans and, ultimately, ongoing funding.

By understanding impacts and taking an ecosystem approach in your training strategy, you will create impacts that last for years to come and will change lives.

Conclusion: Investing in Leadership Skills Training for Call Center Supervisors

You now have a solid understanding of the steps and considerations to train and develop supervisors in your call center.

By investing in developing supervisor leadership skills, you can create a highly competent and motivated supervisory team that drives success internally and externally.

Remember, effective leadership not only benefits supervisors but also positively impacts team morale, customer experience, and overall business outcomes.

Key Tips and Takeaways:

  • Assess current competencies to identify training needs.
  • Design customized training programs based on identified gaps.
  • Incorporate various learning methods for a comprehensive approach.
  • Provide ongoing support and resources during the training process and beyond.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of training through performance metrics at all levels.

Pros:

  1. Comprehensive overview of supervisor training strategies.
  2. Practical tips for designing effective and high ROI training programs.
  3. Emphasis on assessing competencies before implementing training.
  4. Focus on measuring results to ensure program effectiveness.
  5. Benefits extend beyond supervisors to overall team and customer success.

Cons:

  1. Developing custom training programs requires additional resources.
  2. Implementation requires coordination with HR, learning departments, support, and senior call center leaders.
  3. Continuous evaluation may be needed to address changing needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does it take for supervisors to develop these leadership skills?

A: The timeframe for developing leadership skills varies depending on the individual, their prior experience, and the learning quality of the training program. However, it’s important to remember that leadership development is an ongoing process that requires continuous learning and practice. It’s like building muscle; it requires ongoing and continuous effort and is not instant.

Q: What are some effective learning methods for supervisor training?

A: Training supervisors through communities of practice is one of the most effective, but most underutilized, ways to develop their skills. It is recommended by researchers studying leadership skill acquisition that communities of practice, workshops, micro-learning, short videos, online courses, role-playing exercises, mentoring programs, and on-the-job training be combined. In contrast to non-blended approaches, blended learning has a 10x better learning quality and return on training investment than non-blended approaches.

Q: How can I measure the success of supervisor training programs?

A: Measuring the success of supervisor training programs can be done through post-training assessments, performance metrics such as KPIs or targets achieved, and feedback from team members or other stakeholders. The most realistic models contain measurements from all levels of the organization – participant level, team level, agent level, peer level, center level, and company level.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Rembach
Jim Rembach is recognized as a Top 50 Thought Leader and CX Influencer. He's a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner and host of the Fast Leader Show podcast and president of Call Center Coach, the world's only virtual blended learning academy for contact center supervisors and emerging supervisors. He’s a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s CX Expert Panel, Advisory Board Member for Customer Value Creation International (CVCI), and Advisory Board Member for CX University.

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