Published: November 16, 2021 | Comments
“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” - Michelle Obama
Contact center success is often tracked by metrics - average handle time, calls answered versus calls offered, referral ratios. A trickier thing to identify is feeling successful as a contact center leader.
Contact centers are known for their rapid turnover, due to the stress that comes with supporting any organization’s customer over-the-phone interactions. There were many times in my years as a contact center manager where I felt like I was a failure because my people were moving out into other departments in my organization, and I couldn’t seem to keep them longer than a year. It took me a long time to realize that what I was being discouraged by actually might be a marker of my success as a leader.
Below are three ways I learned to reframe my way of thinking to feel successful as a contact center leader:
Helping them grow into other departments.
I’d spend the time, energy, and resources to develop representatives that other leaders in my organization wanted for their teams. When there was an opening in our organization, I’d often get calls from hiring managers asking if I had anyone on my team ready to take on a new adventure, and I’d often have someone on my team ready for that new challenge. Now when I look out into our organization, I see shining stars among our employees who got their start in the contact center, discovered their passion, and found a way to build a career from their strengths.
When they stay with us to peer mentor others.
I got used to representatives leaving after a year or so, and I began to become apprehensive when a teammate stuck around and continued to be successful in their role. What I identified was that a representative who enjoyed what they were doing would help others to excel, and it became a way for us to begin an unofficial mentor program in our contact center. It was a point of pride for a contact center representative to be assigned to work alongside a new hire, showing them the ropes and cheering them on during training.
Seeing them grow within the department.
It’s difficult for someone to walk in off the street and step into a leadership role within a contact center, unless they’ve done the job before. This means our teammates who excel in their roles and are hungry for more have an opportunity to grow where they’ve been planted. They begin as a contact center representative, and through the trials and tribulations of navigating over-the-phone customer journeys, representatives become skilled in de-escalation, helping their peers find the answers to challenging questions, and leading by example.
As I reflect on my time as a contact center manager, even the representatives who spent a short time on my team left an impression on me. They unknowingly helped to strengthen my leadership and paved the way for those who came after them, leaving knowledge, tools, improved processes, and enhanced call flows to ensure our customers received the best service possible.
Even the best contact center managers aren’t going to be able to keep every great employee who works on their teams, but if the leader can help foster a growth mindset within their contact center, even those representatives whose passions lie elsewhere will be better employees for having worked with them.