4 Ways to Mentor Your Supervisors

For call center executives, the worries in managing a scalable operation can be daunting. What types of technology should be purchased? Which leaders are best to guide the organization on a daily basis? Is there a support staff in place to ensure customers and clients are satisfied? The checklist seems endless as the timeframes seem to become shorter and shorter every day. Yet, one piece tends to be forgotten in the development of call center performance - the call center supervisor.

The supervisor is squeezed between telephone agents who want more attention and call center executives that demand results. The supervisor is the communication channel that motivates the team and enforces disciplines. Without supervisors, every call center would be chaos.

Here are 4 tips to help executives select and mentor supervisors that will excel in your world.

1. Hire supervisors who believe in being proactive.

There are two types of supervisors in the call center - those who wait to be told what to do, and the others who want, and need to execute. If your supervisors need constant direction to get things done, you need help. The fix: find supervisors who are proactive, care about their job and want to move operations to the next step. View your supervisory team as a team of assistant coaches on a sports team. Every head coach needs assistant coaches that think ahead of the curve, assist team skill development and execute the vision of the team. This is what you should want, too.

2. Create a system where supervisors can thrive.

Often senior management expects the supervisor to take initiative and build systems. In many cases, this is fair, and some proactive supervisors can do that. But the development of a system expands beyond the supervisor purview. The complete system in the call center includes divisions, and the supervisor should collaborate with these areas daily.

Remember - the system always wins. The best supervisor in a weak system will lose to the system no matter how qualified the supervisor may be. In turn, great systems can carry weak supervisors for certain periods of time. Bottom line: Create a system that compels supervisors to become successful. Give supervisors tools. Remember, if your call center turns over supervisors at an alarming rate, it may not be their lack of skill sets. It may be the lack of a quality system.

3. Custom design a management-training program based on your business.

Don't hire a supervisor and say "good luck." Instead, put together a management game-plan after the supervisor is hired so the supervisor can continually strive for goals that will help your organization, such as:

  • Mandate that supervisors experience QA, training, HR, technology and peer departments in your company. It helps them know what to do, why and how things get done.
  • Require monthly assignments to develop skills sets. Have supervisors attend outside workshops, competitor research and occasionally take agent calls.
  • Find supervisors who know something about other industries and worlds. Sometimes it takes outside knowledge to build a terrific culture.

4. Search for creativity and look beyond the numbers!

The call center supervisor can be the marketing genius and cheerleader as well as a disciplinarian. That is why call center supervision can't rely on the numbers alone. Call center supervision is a creative job. It involves instinct. If an advertising agency team promotes a story, a vision, a brand and a message to their audience, shouldn't the call center supervisor also promote a story, a vision, a brand and a message to their audience? These messages are critical to driving performance and recognizing that marketing and promotions are prerequisites to great call center management, as is thinking outside the proverbial box.

Bottom line: Call Center supervisors are your bread and butter. They may not get the limelight deserved, but they could easily take much of the credit behind the scenes. They lead your agents and improve performance. They also are the communication medium that agents rely on. So, structure your call center supervisors, build their skills, encourage them to motivate and provide the systems the need to to ensure success.

Source: Contact Professional Magazine
Provided by Matt Harless is vice president of Sales for Phone Ware, San Diego, California. Contact Matt at 858-459-3000 or 800-243-8329 or mharless@phonewareinc.com