If you’re not training your newly promoted team leaders, you may just be setting them up to fail.
Staff and project management—which is the primary role of leaders—is a massively challenging task. It’s thus not surprising that many professionals, even those handpicked for this task, underperform or fail outright once they move into this role.
One way to prevent this from happening is to develop an in-house leadership training program for freshly promoted or newly hired managers. Doing so lets you smoothly transition your new leaders into their positions, as you’ll be able to equip them with the skills they need to perform their duties well.
As part of your leadership development initiative, focus on cultivating the following skills among your customer service team leaders.
1. Effective coaching
Coaching customer support reps is the most important role of team leaders. They must be able to analyze customer interactions, find what went wrong and what went right, and communicate these to employees. This requires them to be highly analytical and detail-oriented. But most importantly, they should be able to articulate their insights clearly when coaching their agents.
2. Communicating contact center metrics to agents
Part of the role of a leader is to clarify the company’s expectations from its employees. This way, agents will be able to align their performance and priorities to your goals. Thus, leaders must be able to explain the metrics that agents must focus on as well as how these metrics affect the entire customer experience.
3. Dealing with HR issues
Team leaders should be able to create an environment that promotes fairness among employees. This means they should have a good grasp of the company’s policies, so they can effectively deal with issues and improve the relationship among agents. But aside from observing adherence to company rules, leaders should also uphold transparency. This builds trust and strong bonds between managers and employees.
4. Holding meetings
Many employees hate attending team huddles because they think that it’s just a waste of time. Thus, whenever there’s a team meeting, leaders must be thoroughly prepared. It helps to write down the topics or issues that must be discussed, so they can make the meeting informative and productive. Also, customer support agents must be encouraged contribute ideas and insights whenever possible.
5. Motivating employees
Leaders should always strive to keep employee attrition rates low, or to even eliminate it completely. This is especially true in call centers, where agents often leave due to stress and burnout. Team leaders should constantly think of and implement ways to boost employee engagement, whether by incentivizing their staff or organizing team building activities. Making employees feel valued and appreciated can also go a long way.
6. Interviewing and recruiting applicants
A successful call center is composed of highly competent customer service reps—a fact that good leaders must keep in mind when they look for new hires. But remember that you shouldn’t pay too much attention to technical skills, such as tech-savviness and proficiency in advanced tools. Soft skills such as effective communication, empathy, and ability to work in a team are equally important considerations too.
7. Facilitating training sessions
Training and development is one of the most crucial processes in a call center. Learning programs equip agents with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the company’s performance standards. One of the tasks of team leaders is to help teams increase their competence. If they can do this well, they’ll be able to build a more productive and highly engaged customer support team.
8. Assessing employees’ performance
The employee evaluations period is a highly stressful time for employees and leaders alike. Often, incentives and bonuses depend on these assessments. You don’t want to come up with inaccurate evaluations, because it can dampen the staff’s morale. Thus, it’s important to teach leaders to be objective can when measuring employees’ performance. Instead of relying on their memory alone, gathering employee performance data on a regular basis can help.
9. Managing agents’ shifting schedules
Team leaders’ main responsibility is to ensure that their team can meet the productivity levels expected from them. A major factor behind this is agent scheduling. Apart from making sure that they can operate 24/7, managers should also consider peak and idle hours on the operations floor. They should also have a backup plan in case some agents go on an emergency leave. In such situations, leaders may need to coordinate with other teams who can cover for unavailable employees.
10. Overseeing and implementing projects
In call centers, project management is a challenging task, mainly because it involves a lot of multitasking. It’s also a highly demanding responsibility, as project managers must find the balance between achieving the company’s goals while protecting employees’ well-being. Leaders must thus be able to develop a good plan, delegate tasks effectively, and allocate the right resources to certain tasks. These skills will allow them to successfully complete projects, no matter how small or big they are.