ICMI is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Supervisor Training and Mentoring: The Key to Engagement Success

Supervisors fulfill an extremely critical job role within the contact center today, in more ways than one. While most of us are aware of that, on some level, exit interview statistics are bearing it out, a PricewaterhouseCooper (PWC) report in which 19,000 employee exit interviews were conducted for their clients revealed that the number 1 issue was the Supervisor-employee relationship1.

Specifically, the following:

  • Lack of Supervisor respect/support
  • Supervisor lacked leadership skills
  • Supervisor had poor employee relations
  • Supervisor displayed favoritism

According to the Human Capital Group, “research indicates the average cost of losing and replacing a full time employee is 1.5 times his or her salary.”

We ask a lot from our supervisors (sometimes referred to as Team Leaders or Team Managers). They not only must develop the people on their team, but they sometimes must also take over the responsibilities of a contact center agent by taking customer calls and/or complaints. They usually participate in the hiring and onboarding process for new agents. They have to monitor and coach each person on their team. They must understand the dynamics of teams, manage their time, manage change and manage stress (theirs, the agents’, the customers’, etc.). And, for most contact centers, they’ve been promoted to that position from being an agent and were never really trained on how to do most of the functions of their job role – especially the ones that PWC discovered count most in employee satisfaction and attrition. And, most times, they aren’t given training opportunities for growth once they are in that job role.

Training and coaching our supervisors is vital to our contact center’s success. As we now know, for every 1% increase in employee satisfaction, we garner a 2% increase in customer satisfaction. If our supervisors aren’t satisfied, and their agents are satisfied, how can we expect to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty in our increasingly competitive market?

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Do my contact center supervisors receive proper training and onboarding?
  • Does my contact center provide ongoing training, coach-the-coach monitoring and mentoring, and growth opportunities for supervisors?
  • What are we losing in attrition costs that could be reduced or solved with supervisor training and coaching?
  • What would our center’s culture look like if our supervisors were trained and mentored more?

Consider the Following:

From a global sample of 60 corporations the Corporate Leadership Council found that over 80% of senior human resources (HR) professionals agreed that employee engagement was a high priority for 2011 and 40% claimed it had become more of a priority over the last year. Senior private sector HR managers believe that the top challenge they face now is maintaining employee engagement.

75% of leaders have no engagement plan or strategy even though 90% say engagement impacts on business success. (ACCOR).

70% of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same (Wright Management).

The lost productivity of actively disengaged employees costs the US economy $370 BILLION annually (Gallup).

It’s truly worth taking a look.

1. The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave by Leigh Branham