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The Top Five Challenges of Today's Call Center Professional: Obtaining Job Security

In my previous blog, I introduced the top five challenges face by today’s call center professional. This first of these challenges is Obtaining Job Security.

In these uncertain economic times, companies want to retain their best and brightest talent. As the industry has matured, more and more companies are realizing the value of good, experienced managers to run their centers. Call center management has truly become a professional career, and managers need to step up and prove themselves as leaders.

Beyond Basic Management Skills

When you were little, I bet you didn’t say, "I want to manage a call center when I grow up." Yet, most of us who enter into the industry not only discover that call center management really is a profession, but we also find that we love it so much, we want to stick around.

There are specific job skills and competencies involved in managing this environment. Having a keen understanding the basics like queueing environment, KPIs, reporting, motivating agents, etc. are mandatory in order to manage efficiently. But truthfully, knowing the basics really isn’t enough to make us stand out for promotions and retention anymore.

As we’re all painfully aware, the economy just hasn’t bounced back, the talent pool has gotten larger and companies are looking to attain and retain the best talent they can find. It’s truly a "buyer's market" now.

As managers, we are leaders in this industry and we need to find ways to prove our mettle within our organizations. What we’ve found is that there are four main competency areas that someone who manages or directs call centers really needs to know in order to meet this mandate:

Leadership: This includes knowing how to put the right people in the right place doing the right things at the right time, good business management skills and understanding the financial aspects of operating a contact center.

People: Knowing how to manage those who work in this unique environment.

Operations & Technology: Probably the largest area of understanding needed as well as critical skill sets to ensure efficiency

Customers: Know how to meet their needs and demands are crucial in today's highly competitive environment.

Tips for Leadership

Having proven credentials in each of these areas helps you display the right qualifications as a call center industry leader, and brings value and prestige to your organization.

Other tips include:

  • Effectively communicate with all areas of the organization, not just those within the contact center. As the call center is the hub of communication between your company and the organization, every department that serves the customer, even in the most remote ways, needs to be informed and give feedback to you.
  • Understand reporting and how you can effectively utilize it to get what your center needs.
  • Know your people and find the best ways to satisfy their needs. It's been proven time and again that for every 1% increase in employee satisfaction, there is a 2% increase in customer satisfaction.
  • Utilize knowledge bases, like ICMI's articles, blogs and Queuetips forums to stay up to date on what’s happening in the industry.Communicate your discoveries to upper management.
  • Get to know your social media model. Understand how it affects your organization. Determine who owns it and how it can be best utilized as it matures.
  • Finally, as always, know your customers. Who are they? What are their calling patterns? What do they complain about most? What do they think you do particularly well? Share this information with appropriate channels.

As you take advantage of these tips, be sure to pass them along to your direct reports as well. You’ll be helping the next generation of contact center leaders in making this industry even greater.

Next time, we’ll tackle "Being Recognized as a Leader in Your Organization"