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Advice on the Contact Center Supervisor Role From Those Who Lived It

Black colleaguesThe experience of being promoted into a contact center supervisor role comes with a unique set of challenges.

My own journey involved starting as a contact center representative, and being promoted into a supervisory role, based on the belief that a great rep will be a great supervisor. And, like others who had a similar journey as mine, I had a rough transition. While I eventually found my footing, I can’t help but wonder how much smoother things would have been if I had some advice from other supervisors with more experience.

Earlier this year, I decided to reach out to some contact center supervisors to summon some of their most hard-won expertise and experience. I asked them to respond to a survey with one question: “What advice would you give to a new contact center supervisor?"

I was grateful for the depth and breadth of responses. Here are some of the pearls of wisdom they shared:

  • “Strive to make authentic connections with your team. We don't know what we don't know. Others may be going through tough personal and/or work-related situations and we might be the only encouraging interaction they have in a day. Assume positive intent. Rarely do people wake up in the morning planning to make mistakes and/or have a bad day. Look at the situation through their lens to gain their perspective.” - Holly Terrill, Director of Member Support Services, Meritrust Credit Union
  • “All contact centers are central to the customer experience and it is paramount that as a supervisor you ensure your agents are passionate and engaged in what they are doing. Create a culture that promotes inclusivity, empathy, and total understanding. Never make anyone feel like their lack of knowledge or understanding is a negative; treat it as an opportunity to grow and learn.” - Darla Rey Hill, Customer Experience Center Manager, Green Drop Lawns
  • “Remember that when your associates go home at the end of a shift you may be a topic of conversation at the dinner table - that’s because your actions make a big impact on the people you support. Be kind and thoughtful and remember that even though the role feels new to you and you feel like you have a long way to go, your team already sees you there.” - Janet Poklemba, Site Leader, Bosch Heating and Cooling
  • “Learn who your people are, what their challenges are, what their aspirations are, and what helps them like their job.” - Tom Wilk, PC Engineering Manager, Carnegie Mellon University
  • “Develop a relationship with your staff. Show them they are just as important as the people they serve. It's critical to the success of your team. Never make your team feel as though they are just a number.” - Mary Sims, Call Center Manager, Emory Healthcare

I will be sharing more in the coming months. If you would like to share your own advice, please feel free to click on this link to this survey. You can also reach out to me directly at rosemarie.polchin@informa.com.