A call center is beneficial as phone calls are directed to a large number of individuals from a smaller office space. Managing one of these facilities can be difficult, but support staff is necessary to make sure that quality performance is being maintained. Managers also need to provide an atmosphere of community and exercise communicative skills to keep each employee informed of the company business. They are responsible for a lot and must therefore be trustworthy.
Effective Call Center Management (PDF): A research paper from UPenn Wharton that explains how to manage a call center in the best interest of the customers, employees and profits.
Global Call Center Report (PDF): Learn about the similarities and differences between call center trends in different parts of the world. The word organization is also compared and is often directly related to success.
Erlang Calculator: An Erlang Calculator compatible with Microsoft Excel that can be used to calculate the number of agents a call center should be managing for a given client.
Calling All Managers: More vital tips for managing a successful call center.
Customers are not going to be satisfied if employees are noticeably frustrated. That is why the first step to effective management is workforce management. It includes both keeping the employees happy and making sure they’re actually doing their job to the best of their ability. With workforce management, it is necessary to make sure employees are getting their paychecks on time, to make sure they are arriving to work when they are scheduled, to help them understand what their short and long-term goals are, and to plan with them for future changes within the call center.
A job queue manages the tasks that need to be done in order to complete a project. For example, a call center may need to take a call from a customer, place an order with the client company and later call the customer for feedback. In this instance there would be two items in the queue: placing the order and calling for feedback. A manager would need to decide which item is more important or needs to be done first. In this case, it is obvious that placing the order is a higher priority than calling for feedback, because without the order the feedback would be justifiably poor. Queue management is best done with management software.
To ensure that customers are receiving adequate assistance and service, it is important to monitor their interactions with your employees. One way to monitor the calls is through reports. All quality call center reporting programs can keep track of how long employees are spending on the phone. Many clients want call centers to make outgoing calls to customers for feedback. In doing so, there is an opportunity to ask for feedback on the phone services. After all, a call center hired by a company serves as the image of the company for a significant number of people. Another way to monitor employees is by recording their calls and reviewing them. Even if an employee is one of the most successful in the company, the way they carry themselves on the phone can still have a negative impact on the client if customers are left feeling uncomfortable.
There are two main types of reporting that a call center should be able to provide. The first is real time reporting. This shows how busy the call center is at any given time. Real time reporting keeps track of how long phone conversations are currently ongoing and other information in real time. The other type of reporting is historical reporting. These reports are custom defined, based on past information about a call center’s activity. They are sometimes presented in the form of a chart or graph. When done on a computer, as they usually are, historical reports can be programmed to create output on a scheduled basis, perhaps once each day after work hours.
The ideal call center is productive and handles the highest number of calls possible. In order to do so, it would be beneficial to invest in management software. Depending on what software is purchased and how the software is used, call centers can keep track of phone call duration, which client services or products were requested and they can make recordings of phone calls. It is highly recommended that call centers record 100% of their phone conversations in the event of a problem reported later or to simply assess employees randomly for quality assurance.
When managing a call center, there are many opportunities to invest in new technologies and more workers. Each time a serious monetary commitment is on the table, managers should do a cost effectiveness analysis. This equation helps companies determine how much a single task is worth and how much money can be spent on it to make it the most profitable. For example, if spending $1000 each month on new software only yields $5/day more income, then after one month the company will have $850 less profit. Buying new software would not be cost effective and should therefore be avoided.
Call Center Workforce Management (PDF): A list of the competencies to develop in order to manage an effective call center.
Job Queuing and Queue Management: This page explains how to use OpenStudio to manage workflow during a job.
Call Center Management (PDF): A presentation that outlines the basics of call center management including an elaborate section on historical and real time reporting.
Call Center Management Software: Discover just how beneficial workforce software can be with this article from Contact Center Solutions.
Employee Monitoring: A list of ways to monitor employees including the costs and how to succeed with each.
Cost Effectiveness Analysis: Learn what it means to be cost effective and then test your understanding of the concept with a short quiz for managers.