Contact Center

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16 min read

What is Contact Center Management? Strategies & Tips for 2023

Effective call center management is an integral part of any successful business. Operative Intelligence provides improved analytics and customer insights that help businesses remain agile and up-to-date

Peter Iansek

Co-Founder & CEO

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Great contact center management has become a critical part of organizational success. Customers expect to establish meaningful connections and receive prompt resolutions when they have inquiries or complaints. 

With many companies now relying on digital channels for communication with their customers, contact center managers are increasingly turning to contact center technology and analytics to provide the best experience for both customers and employees. 

This article will explore what contact center management is, the best contact management strategies, and tools you can use to make your contact center run smoothly.

What is Contact Center Management?

Contact center management uses technology and analytics to manage customer inquiries, complaints, and feedback. It’s the process of overseeing daily operations across multiple channels and touchpoints to develop the most effective customer experience (CX). 

Contact center management covers a range of business operations and communication, including:

  • Providing customer service and technical support
  • Agent training & employee engagement initiatives
  • Workforce scheduling
  • Real-time insight into contact center data analysis for optimization purposes
  • Crafting effective call paths or call flows for seamless experiences
  • Automating/ streamlining processes to optimize customer service
  • Outbound calling and lead list management

Contact Center Manager Responsibilities

A contact center manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations and performance of contact centers. Contact center managers: 

  • Develop and oversee goals for the contact center
  • Monitor contact center performance and make improvements as needed
  • Mentor contact center supervisors and agents to ensure they have the skills to deliver excellent customer service for inbound and outbound calls
  • Boost employee morale and create a positive environment to reduce agent attrition
  • Oversee contact center staff training and development
  • Track costs and resources (including personnel and technology)
  • Leverage contact center statistics to recognize trends and enhance quality assurance (QA)
  • Compile, analyze, interpret, share, and track comprehensive performance and KPI reports

Important Contact Center Manager Skills

contact center manager with team

Employee Training & Empowerment

Quality agent performance is essential to contact center management. Successful contact center managers assess employee progress, identify potential issues, make difficult decisions when necessary, and provide motivation to help agents reach their peak capabilities.

To ensure optimal agent performance, contact center managers must regularly evaluate and test the progress of their agents. They can review metrics including Average Handle Time (AHT), First Contact Resolution (FCR), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and more. 

Based on data analysis, contact center managers can create and implement training programs to address performance issues and reach established goals.

Training programs should include the following:

  • Learning programs that focus on customer service initiatives
  • Introduction to contact center technology and software systems
  • Soft skill training for customer interactions
  • Team building exercises

Operative Intelligence can help coach frontline teams with precision and drive measurable improvements in KPIs. Engaging, real-time dashboards make it easy to identify areas they can improve based on customer needs. You can also see where performance variability is driven at a team and agent level.

Effective Communication

Contact center managers should be able to communicate effectively with both customers and internal staff. Contact center managers must have excellent listening and writing skills and be able to provide clear instructions and direction when needed.

Important communication efforts include: 

  • Being open to feedback, both from customers and contact center agents
  • Focusing on providing concise instructions
  • Adopting a positive attitude and being proactive in finding solutions
  • Being a great listener and having the ability to respond appropriately
  • Being a leader who can inspire contact center staff and boost morale
  • Practicing empathy when communicating with customers to help build trust and loyalty

Problem-Solving Mindset

Managing any number of employees and their interactions with customers requires problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. And for contact center managers, these skills must also be exemplified by their employees. 

The best problem-solvers:

  • Are patient and remain calm under pressure
  • Are great listeners who can empathize with customers
  • Remain unbiased and can provide fair solutions
  • Do not shy away from difficult conversations
  • Understand all contact center systems, processes, and procedures

Displaying these abilities shows customers and agents alike that their needs have been heard and understood, allowing everyone involved to find an agreeable solution quickly.

Data Analysis Experience 

With the right data analysis tools, contact center managers can evaluate contact center performance, identify and address contact center issues quickly, and make informed decisions that positively impact contact center operations.

Data analysis involves organizing and pulling insights from large data sets to help improve contact center performance. Contact center managers should have experience using contact center analytics software to analyze contact center data, identify trends and anomalies, measure contact center objectives, and develop strategies for growth and success.

Next-gen contact center software makes this easier than ever. Operative Intelligence transforms the actual verbatims of customers from any inbound channels into unique drivers of customer demand. It identifies the highest-impact opportunities to improve customer experience and reduce costs. Contact managers can use this data to improve their contact center's performance and drive company-wide changes.

analytics platform for contact center management
Operative Intelligence analytics platform showing annual interaction cost, average interaction cost, and more. 

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a critical soft skill that helps individuals recognize and manage emotions–both their own and those of others. 

Leaders who demonstrate emotional intelligence:

  • Can understand the needs of contact center agents
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Can anticipate customer needs
  • Encourage a culture of collaboration and mutual respect
  • Are willing to learn from mistakes and strive for improvement

Contact center managers with high emotional intelligence can create a more positive and productive atmosphere that encourages collaboration and leads to exceptional customer service experiences.

Customer Service

As a manager, you’re responsible for ensuring that your customer service agents provide the best experience possible to every individual. So though it may seem obvious, contact center managers must have a passion for excellent customer service and be able to lead by example.

Contact center managers can focus on:

  • Training contact center agents on the best customer service practices
  • Managing contact center resources to ensure maximum efficiency
  • Developing strategies that will help contact center agents provide outstanding customer experiences
  • Having a deep understanding of contact center technology and how it can be used to improve customer service

Proper contact center management is all about understanding customer needs and delivering excellent service. By understanding contact center metrics, fostering team morale, and leveraging contact center technology, contact center managers can ensure that their contact centers are running efficiently and effectively. 

Contact Center Management Best Practices

contact center management team

1. Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the process of determining how a business can achieve both short-term and long-term objectives. The goal of strategic planning is to ensure a great ROI (return on investment) for the business and its stakeholders. 

It involves:

  • Establishing objectives
  • Evaluating the current state of the contact center
  • Determining what strategies are needed to reach those objectives

Strategic planning also helps to ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively, and that customer service benchmarks are met. 

Strategic planning includes developing plans for responding to changing customer needs and market conditions. Having plans in place keeps contact centers prepared and adaptable.

2. Employee Engagement

employee engagement for contact centers

According to Gartner, employee engagement is “the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work."

Customer satisfaction is directly impacted by employee satisfaction. Studies show that happy employees are more motivated and productive and lower attrition rates mean experienced agents are managing customer concerns. 

To improve employee engagement and satisfaction, contact centers can: 

  • Create a positive work environment: Make sure employees have the resources they need, give them recognition and rewards for their hard work, and ensure they can take breaks throughout the day so that they remain productive and focused on customer service.
  • Incentive programs: Motivate contact center agents by offering recognition and rewards for excellent performance. This could include things such as bonuses, extra vacation time, or even gift cards.
  • Employee training: Employee training should include an in-depth review of contact center technology, customer service processes, and industry trends. You should also provide regular refreshers to keep contact center agents up-to-date.

Contact center managers can maximize the effectiveness of their frontline teams by leveraging Operative Intelligence. This platform enables them to quickly assess performance and identify which agents need more assistance without needing to listen to every call or survey customers. 

Through this data-driven approach, contact center managers can coach with precision and drive significant improvements in terms of handling time and cost. Operative Intelligence provides the insight needed to target and solve any issues that are driving up costs or dragging down performance.

employee engagement platform for contact center managers
Operative Intelligence uncovers the span of agent performance at the inquiry level. 

 

3. Workforce Scheduling & Forecasting

Workforce scheduling and forecasting tools help contact center managers determine the number of agents they need based on varying demands. Building an effective schedule helps ensure a productive workday with minimal stress. Contact center managers consider agent capacity, workloads, and peak hours. 

For example, you can assign your senior agents shifts during busier hours since they can handle larger call volumes. Or, a shift with fewer calls would be ideal for new hires until they become more comfortable with the job. 

Workforce management software helps managers and supervisors keep track of the number of employees they have working, how much work they have for those employees, and how best to deploy those employees to meet the needs of the call center.

This helps agents to perform at their peak and significantly decreases the risk of burnout–all while offering excellent customer service. 

4. Contact Center Automation

Contact center automation uses technology to automate daily routine tasks without human intervention. Replacing manual processes with automation can significantly enhance a company's efficiency and productivity. 

Contact center automation is often associated with chatbots, interactive voice assistants, IVR self-service, and quality management solutions. However, deploying these technologies without knowing the exact problem to solve isn’t effective.

When it comes to identifying the right automation opportunities, understanding customer needs is essential. However,  automation solutions often require business programming (like chatbots), making it challenging for organizations to understand how customers articulate their needs and demands. This can lead to valuable opportunities being missed or overlooked entirely. 

To unlock the true potential of automation technology and maximize its return on investment, organizations must be able to accurately pinpoint which activities can and should be automated. 

With Operative Intelligence, this information is automatically generated and available with a single click. You’ll see exactly what can be automated and the ROI of each suggested automation and can capture the full spectrum of opportunities available. 

Operative Intelligence evaluates the amount it would cost your business to meet those requirements and how much value is added for customers by doing so, helping you determine if automation or self-service will be most suitable in each case. 

5. Stakeholder Management 

stakeholders and contact center managers

Every new strategy or current business policy has an impact on a stakeholder’s ROI. Therefore, organization executives–and contact center managers–must be able to point to specific data and analyses that have driven their business decisions. 

However, contact center managers don’t need to stop there. With the right intelligence contact center platforms and reports, contact center leaders can lead operation-wide changes. For example, Operative Intelligence provides irrefutable data that can impact not only customer service but also company policies, product updates, and the complete customer experience. 

These micro and macro insights allow stakeholders to have broader conversations about what to fix and adjust in the contact center and across the business. 

6. Reporting & Analytics

Reporting and analytics are essential to any successful contact center operation. By regularly assessing metrics such as customer satisfaction scores, wait times, call volume, and first contact resolution rate, contact centers can gain a better understanding of their performance. 

The right reporting and analytics dashboard can give agents insights into how they are performing, what type of calls they are receiving, and how they can improve their interactions with customers. This information can help call centers improve customer satisfaction rates and reduce the number of callbacks. It also provides the foundation for data-driven decision-making, leading to more efficient operations. 

Improve Your Call Center Operations

Effective call center management is an integral part of any successful business. It requires effective communication and coordination between all levels of staff–as well as strong leadership–to ensure operations are running smoothly.

Operative Intelligence provides improved analytics and customer insights that help businesses remain agile and up-to-date. It provides actionable data on the agent, contact center, and company level, including: 

  • Why customers contact support at scale
  • Customer pain points and what they cost the business
  • What causes increases in handle time and cost and how to reduce it
  • Drivers of negative customer sentiment and satisfaction
  • Opportunities for engineering teams to improve the product 
  • Where performance variability is being driven at a team and agent level 

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