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Common Mistakes First-Time Contact Center Managers Should Avoid

managerCongratulations, you have been promoted to a management position in the contact center. Whether you are a current employee receiving a promotion or someone coming from the outside, there are some common mistakes that most managers make that you should try to avoid. While some of these mistakes may seem like common sense, I assure you that many managers, including myself, have made them.

The first time I was promoted as a manager from within, I was confident I knew who would support me and who I would have issues with regarding my promotion. Within a few days of having the role, I discovered that I was completely wrong. The person who I thought was my biggest supporter was the employee I turned out to have the most issues with. Vice versa, the one who I thought I would have the most issues with ended up being the best supporter I had.

Before the promotion, I was great friends with the one and cordial with the other. My great friend had thought that it would be easy for her now that I was the manager, and instead I was holding her to the same expectations as everyone else. The other coworker appreciated the fact that I was holding everyone to the same standards.

When you are entering into management from inside, you can’t show favoritism. Your colleagues are most likely expecting that. You also want to make sure that you are aware that your supporters may actually be your detractors.

Management changes normally mean that there will be many procedural changes, as well. Of course, if you were hired internally, you likely have many ideas of things that can be changed. However, depending on how large your employee base is, you may not know all that is going on, especially if you came from a different group or supervisor. Making changes without consulting your existing supervisors can cause internal strife.

For example, if you came from the outbound calling and changed procedures with the inbound calling without conferring with that group, you could face resentment or even walkouts. While it is important to make the role your own, I find it best to ask for opinions about any changes that you may have planned.

If you are coming in from the outside, I recommend that you spend a few weeks to a month observing your new staff and their procedures. When I stepped into the role of manager, I was told what was wrong and what needed to be fixed by my hiring manager. I was skeptical - when was the last time the hiring manager worked at the contact center or even visited it? Are they looking at real-life examples or just reports? If you go in and immediately change what you were told needed to be changed you may be doing your staff and yourself a huge disservice. Instead, spend the time observing and researching before you clean house, unless there are pressing, documented issues that need immediate attention.

When you do decide to make changes, make sure that you are not swayed by the “We have always done it this way and it is the best.” Remember that you are a change to them, and procedures are always a change that takes time. Work on getting the buy-in of the supervisors or some trusted staff first. Once you have that achieved, work with the rest of the staff to make the change as gradually as possible to make it easier for the staff. Make sure that everyone knows that you are open to change and welcome suggestions.

My last piece of advice is to make sure that you are acknowledging any mistakes that you make, no matter how hard it may be for you. It makes you more relatable to your staff and shows that you are willing to admit when you are wrong. This can be invaluable in your management role.

Topics: Career Development, Management And Budgeting, Manager