A Guide to Managing Call Center Teams

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As is the case with any business in any industry, the efficiency and productivity of a call center largely depend on the quality of its management. Coaching customer service agents, monitoring key performance indicators, putting in place thorough onboarding regimens—all these practices, and many more, are essential to managing call center teams.

The quality of a company’s customer service often depends on the efficiency of its call center department. But, with so many moving parts involved in running such an establishment, knowing where to start can be a bit intimidating. That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide on the matter.

The Importance of High-Quality Customer Service

Before getting into the specifics of what call center management is and how these businesses operate, let’s take a moment to consider the importance of providing clients with excellent customer service. After all, many call centers exist for that sole purpose: to provide help, advice, and assistance to customers.

Providing good customer service is essential for increasing revenue and successfully retaining customers. But what’s the link between customer service and managing call center agents? Well, simply put, the more effectively a call center is managed, the better the quality of its customer service will be. Thus, managerial staff must take their roles seriously.

A Definition of Call Center Management

Before we go any further, it’s worth discussing what exactly it means to manage a call center. In plain terms, this process involves supervising the company’s daily operations. It allows for streamlined communication between customer service agents and clients, or potential clients, and ensures that agents have access to all the resources and tools necessary for working effectively.

The following are just some of the operations that come under the umbrella of managing a call center team:
  • Customer service
  • Coaching and training
  • Employee engagement
  • Scheduling and managing workflow

We will revisit these ideas later in the article and will also introduce you to a few others. But even this short list gives you an idea of the varied responsibilities you must be prepared to take on when managing call center employees.

How Do Call Centers Work?

Depending on the type of call center (i.e., whether it is an inbound or outbound call center or some hybrid of the two), agents will either field incoming calls or place outgoing ones. These institutions are used in many different contexts—for example, customer service, information hotlines, driving sales, and more.
Inbound Call Centers

As the name suggests, these centers deal with incoming customer calls. They are most often used for customer service and technical support, providing existing and potential clients with advice and information.
Outbound Call Centers 

These centers place calls, mostly to push sales of goods or services and to collate customer feedback. Agents may make cold calls in an effort to promote the brand, check up on existing customers to hear about their experience with the company, or try to upsell to them.

What Does a Successful Call Center Look Like?

So, what makes a customer service call center successful? What should you expect to find when the business is well-managed?

Perhaps most importantly, you should find motivated, knowledgeable agents who feel engaged with the company, and who know for certain that their contributions are noticed and appreciated. These customer service agents may not know the solution to every question thrown their way, but they should know where to find the answers.

The assistance these agents provide customers should be accurate, relevant, and useful, all delivered in a personalized manner. Call center software should be properly utilized to make sure agents provide the best service possible during calls.

Lastly, as a result of the efficient and helpful service they’ve received, you should expect to find satisfied customers who are loyal to the company brand.

Roles and Responsibilities in a Call Center

Your center won’t be successful without a significant amount of effort from managerial staff. There are three main roles in one of these centers—managers, supervisors, and agents. Each should be clearly defined, with a list of corresponding responsibilities attached to the role.
Call Center Managers
The manager is the head operator of a call center. It’s their job to guide the overall direction of the establishment, evaluate customer expectations, and make sure agents are given the tools necessary to provide satisfactory service. If employees work from home, the manager will have to be comfortable managing remote call center agents rather than dealing with them in person.

What do call center managers do?

Responsibilities associated with the role of call center manager include:

  • Setting sales and/or customer service targets and monitoring relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge performance.
  • Creating focused training materials for customer service agents and ensuring the information held therein is relevant and up-to-date.
  • Choosing call center software as well as any other programs needed to ensure the center runs at peak efficiency.
  • Bringing on board new supervisors and customer service agents.
  • Reviewing analytics and using that data to develop targeted coaching regimens. Here at Selmo, our platform makes use of a variety of call analysis tools, including speech analytics and real-time reporting.

Key Performance Indicators All Call Center Managers Should Track

When running a call center, managers should keep track of key performance indicators, or KPIs, to gauge whether or not their goals are being met. Selmo’s platform can help you reach these metrics by standardizing agent performance with interactive scripts and tracking customer satisfaction with surveys. Additional helpful features include call forwarding functionality to ensure clients speak to the right person and access to well-organized customer details.
Average Handling Time (AHT)
AHT refers to the average length a call lasts. A low AHT is most desirable since it indicates that agents are efficient in dealing with calls. The less time the average conversation takes, the more clients your agents will be able to help during the working day.
First Call Resolution (FCR) Rate
Expressed as a percentage, a call center’s FCR rate is a measurement of the number of calls that successfully resolved a customer service issue, without the need for any follow-up conversations. Again, this metric is a good indicator of agent efficiency.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
An NPS is a measurement of how likely clients are to recommend a company to others based on their experience with your service. Customers respond with a score between zero (very unlikely to recommend) and ten (very likely to recommend) and these ratings are used to calculate the overall NPS.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Finally, a CSAT score is a metric that lets managers know what percentage of clients feel that their needs and expectations were met during their conversation with your agent. Customers are asked to rate the quality of service they received with a score between one (very poor) and five (very good), with these ratings being used to calculate the CSAT rate.
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Best Practices for Running an Efficient Call Center

Having explained why good customer service is so important to call centers and having elaborated on why effective management can help in this regard, it’s at last time to consider the practicalities of management.
Hire Effective Agents

An efficient call center starts with its agents. When bringing on board agents, make sure that you hire talented, productive customer service agents who can give clients the help that they require.
Encourage Agent Engagement

When you demonstrate appreciation for your coworkers, providing them with useful training to help further their development as individuals, you can increase company loyalty as well as productivity and engagement.
Make Use of the Latest Tech

Call center technology, such as that offered by us here at Selmo, can help your customer service center run like a well-oiled machine. Recording, monitoring, analytics—all of these features and more can help you increase the efficiency of your team.
Put in Place a Thorough Onboarding Plan

When hiring new customer service agents, you should make sure they’re given all the necessary training to get off to a good start. To that end, you should ensure the onboarding process is informative and thorough.
Give Helpful Feedback to Customer Service Agents

Giving targeted, helpful feedback to your agents can help them address specific problems with their performance. This will better enable them to perform at their best.
Delegate Tasks Appropriately

A crucial skill for all managers is task delegation. You should familiarize yourself with your customer service agents and their skill sets to ensure you delegate responsibilities to the appropriate individuals.
Properly Balance Your Workflow

An optimized workflow can drastically cut down on customer processing time, thereby increasing the efficiency and performance of your team members. Remember, a properly balanced workflow is key to meeting customer service demands.
Don’t Neglect Administrative Duties

Keeping on top of admin is a crucial part of running a call center, if occasionally somewhat tedious. It helps to make sure that everything is kept running smoothly and that agents have access to all the data they need to provide stellar service to your clients.
Create Coaching Opportunities Within Your Customer Service Center

Your agents will be a good deal less effective if they aren’t provided with the necessary information and training for the job. As mentioned above, new starts should be put through a thorough onboarding scheme, but agents at all levels of experience should still go through regular training.
Maintain a Proper Schedule

Take the needs of your agents into account when scheduling. For example, rather than overburdening them with lots of overtime during busy times of the year, plan for additional support during those times.
Pay Attention to Client Feedback

Finally, one of the best ways to increase the efficiency of your customer service call center is to collect and analyze customer feedback. When clients see their comments being taken on board and being acted upon, they are more likely to stick with your service.
This article has examined call center management—what it is, how it can help customer service-based call centers, and what practices you should incorporate within your business to ensure that it performs well.
The importance of managing a call center well can’t be overstated. However, you can be a far more effective manager if you make these executive decisions based on solid data and analysis.
Here at Selmo, we provide call centers with essential software for running their business. Keeping track of KPIs, standardizing client performance through the use of scripts, and recording conversations for training are just a handful of ways in which our services can help you.
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