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Managing an Inbound Contact Center

Let’s discuss some tips to always manage your inbound call center like a boss, because quite frankly, you are the boss!  One of the most challenging things about managing an inbound contact center is that you have to be incredibly reactive, rather than proactive, which can leave many people feeling powerless to effect change within the workplace.  Unless of course, you have a plan in place.  There are plenty of positive steps you can take to ensure that your inbound contact center is a place that grows and becomes successful.  Here are just a few things that you always need to be keeping at the front of your mind:

1. Motivate Your Team & Set Expectations

Nothing is more stressful than having to endure a difficult phone call, especially when what they are complaining about is not your fault, and there is very little that you can do about it. You may find that many members of your team in the inbound contact center are unmotivated because they are stuck listening to other people shouting at them. This is why it is so vital that you motivate your team. How you do this will largely depend on the characters within your team, but you should make it a priority to always check in with someone one to one after they have had a difficult phone call. Explain that tough calls are going to happen, and it’s just how you bounce back that’s important.

Setting goals and celebrating successes is also key to helping keep morale high.  Team goals can help bring people together.  Throw a team party when an important goal is hit.

2. Offer Continuous Training

Nothing says lack of expertise like someone who has not been trained in the last six months. Many inbound contact centers only offer training the very first month that a new member of staff joins them – and they will not receive any extra training, regardless of how long they have been there. This is simply unproductive. If you want to stand apart from the crowd, then you should ensure that your members of staff are being given support and training on going.  Empower your agents by assigning them a skill they excel at and asking them to do a training presentation.

3. Use Analytics

Knowledge is power, and that has never been truer than in the twenty first century. If you want to better understand how you can improve the management of your inbound contact center, then you are in desperate need of a good metrics and analytics program. This will help you to separate the wood from the trees and get a much clearer understanding of what needs to be done to ensure that your team can improve efficiency.

Metrics vary depending on the type of inbound call center but here are a few key stats to measure (both per agent and per campaign): Call volume, hold time, abandonment rate, average talk time, resolution rate.

4. Be Ready for Ups and Downs

No one likes to take the fall, no one likes to take the blame, but sometimes, someone has to do it. Take ownership if you let your agent down and come up with a plan so it won’t happen again.  It will make them respect and trust you more.  You must have experienced a time when someone waves over to you, and wearily tells you that the person they have on the phone has demanded to speak to the manager. That’s you. You may not like taking that phone call, but if you leave them high and dry, you will immediately lose the respect of the people that you work with, and you will find it much more difficult to encourage them in the future.

5. Improve Agent Efficiency

Having a good coaching program in place is vital to success in improving efficiency.  Make sure your call center software includes a coaching and monitoring tool.  Agents should be able to establish what the customer wants, provide it to them quickly and politely, and leave them with a positive experience. The quicker an agent can do this, the sooner they can move on to helping another customer.

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