If you have read our article, Important Call Center Skills For Agents, you may be wondering about the call center supervisor skills that are necessary. The majority of supervisors in a call center have probably gained a promotion from an agent. And if they have, then it is likely that they already have the skills that we spoke about in the last article. However, there are more that a supervisor requires. Firstly, you may have read our other article about reward schemes. If you have, then you may have seen that one of the top preferred “small” prize is to have the supervisor do the agents work for a while. The reason for that is because the supervisor already has the skills required to be an outstanding agent, and they can show the agent how to do it. But, what happens when the agent becomes the supervisor? Call center supervisor skills are undoubtedly different from the agents’ skills.
Call Center Supervisor ResponsibilitiesBefore we can look at the Call Center Supervisor Skills, we need to look at what the responsibilities of one are. There are many different call centers, with different mentalities. However, the requirements and duties of a call center supervisor are going to be very similar in all of them. Those responsibilities are:
- Hiring. – As a call center supervisor, you are going to be required to be involved in the hiring process. That may include interviewing, resume filtering, and final selection of candidates.
- Training. -Any instant training requirements that are needed will be your responsibility too. Although Call Criteria provides coaching, you will need to direct the agents in some of the smaller aspects of their jobs. That could include fine-tuning of their skills on scorecards, soft skills, organization, etc.
- Direct Quality Assurance. – Again, although Call Criteria offer an excellent Quality Assurance package, you will still need to complete some QA yourself. That may be noticing that an agent is doing something wrong, or analyzing the information that we provide to you.
- Agent Support. – As a supervisor, you will be the first port of call for the agents when they have any issues. Supporting them when they need it will lead to higher retention rates and morale.
- Agent Monitoring. – As I said in the QA point above, you will be required to monitor your agents. However, that may just be making sure they stick to the allocated breaks. It could be putting agents forward for coaching sessions if and when needed.
- Identifying Issues. – Identifying operational issues with things like staffing and processes is a vital role for a supervisor.
- Reporting. – Analyzing the data of calls and goals and then reporting the information to management to determine future goals and strategies for them.
Call Center Supervisor SkillsThere are many skills that a call center supervisor needs to have to be successful. As you have seen above, there are a lot of responsibilities to a supervisor position, and there are skills that will help you along the way. Here is a list of the top skills that we think that you need. It may be more than you think, but it is undoubtedly better to aim for more than less:
- Relationship Building
- The Ability To Lead
- Wanting Continuous Development
- Thinking Outside The Box
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Decision Making
Relationship BuildingThe first of the call center supervisor skills is creating a team and an environment that supports it. That is critical to any call center. Relationship building is how you create that team attitude and atmosphere. However, while relationship building between yourself and the agents is a must, it is certainly worth thinking about how your team works together as a whole. Building the relationships between yourself and your team, and the team members themselves will have some dramatic improvements in three critical aspects of your call center:
- Higher Morale. – When you have employees that work close all of the time, it is almost inescapable that you are going to have conflict and arguments. Focusing on the relationships between people of all levels will keep all of the knowledge and development equal. Therefore, you are a lot less likely to have conflict and arguments about how others are performing and why. When you have this level playing field, the morale is going to increase, and conflict decrease.
- Retention Of Staff. – Increasing morale and team support will bring a sense of unity in the workforce. When you have that, your employees feel more comfortable in their workplace. Therefore, they will not want to look for another job as quickly. Having a lower staff turnover shows new starters that it is an excellent place to work.
- Higher Productivity. – Higher morale and staff retention rate almost automatically means higher productivity. That is not only for the individual team members but for a team and company too. Reinforced team morale brings teamwork and mutual motivation throughout the team, and help offered more readily.
The Ability To LeadThe ability to lead a team is a lot like relationship building. However, there is a difference. Many people in the world get on with everyone they meet, but that does not make them good supervisors. That is where having the ability to lead comes in very useful. Some of the bullet points in this section are very similar to the ones above, but they only add to the effect that you get from relationship building:
- Increased Productivity. – Having the ability to lead in the role of a call center supervisor will increase productivity even more than the relationship-building alone. You, as a supervisor, need to gain the trust and respect from your staff. When you have done that, you will see that your leadership will inspire them to produce a higher quality of work.
- Staff Retention. – The majority of people who leave a job do not leave the job, but they leave their managers. Sometimes that is because of the attitude of the manager or supervisor, and other times it is because they cannot lead. Having good leadership qualities will stop people wanting to leave you.
- Inspire Future Leaders. – The last thing that you want to do as a supervisor is trying to keep people down the ladder. Your staff will see that you are doing that and take a dislike to you. Inspiring you future leaders will show that there is certainly something worth working towards.
- Employee Engagement. – With good leadership comes employee engagement. When people start to talk to you, you will find out an awful lot about what goes on in the call center floor. That does not mean you are spying on anyone, but the more you know, the better prepared you can be for anything that arises. It will also help you gain the employee’s trust, and you will get to know them better as people instead of just a number.
- Time and Priority Management. – Time and priority management are two key aspects that make up having the ability to lead. You need to be able to make time for your employees on personal and professional levels as well as do all of your other duties as a supervisor.
Desire For Continuous DevelopmentCall center supervisors and managers do not get the work done all on their own. It takes a lot of dedication from the team as a whole to meet some of the demanding goals and deadlines that you can face. There are many ways in which a workplace can improve, and spotting those areas and making efforts to develop them is crucial. Employees will enjoy seeing you are trying to make their job easier, quicker, and more enjoyable. The constant development of the workflow and processes is one of the best ways for that to happen. Not only do they want to see the development of their routine, though. Employees also want to know that you invest time in their development as a person and as a colleague. Personalized training and coaching will show that you commit to them and their jobs.
OrganizationCall center supervisors need to be very organized. It is a very well known fact that you even have to thrive off organization. There are so many things that happen in a call center. As a supervisor, you need to be on top of all of them. There are going to be a lot of tasks that require completing, and you can not let any of them slip. Even the smallest uncompleted job in a call center can cause havoc. If you miss a task, you are likely to disrupt the whole running of the call center, and that will reflect poorly on your leadership and management skills. Therefore, you will need to stay on top of various supervisor tasks as well as help your employees as and when they need it. Staying organized will keep mistakes at a minimum, and set an excellent example for your staff.
Thinking Outside The BoxOne of the upsides to working in a call center is that no two days are ever the same. It may look like they would be precisely the same every day to an outsider. However, if you have ever worked in one, you would know that they are never the same. Yes, there may be a lot of very similar calls, but you will encounter something different in one or more calls every single day. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to have a caller with strange requests or hugely angry customers. But if you work in a call center, you often have just the right number of agents for the amount of calls you receive. That means that even if someone is ill, it will change your day dramatically. It is in situations like irate customers, power cuts, phone line issues, etc. that you will need to be able to think outside the box. Surprises and inconveniences are all part of the job as a supervisor in a call center, and thinking outside the box is just another one of the call center supervisor skills thing that you need to thrive off.
ApproachabilityCall centers are busy places. With anything up to 1000+ employees, you need to be able to communicate effectively. However, that does not mean shout at everyone. It means being approachable. No one likes to have a problem at the best of times. However, it is infinitely worse if the supervisor is unapproachable. Approachability can involve anything, from a simple “good morning,” with a smile, and maintaining eye contact. To more important things like being reasonable when there are issues that were silly accidents. A proactive approach is always the right place to start. Make more time for your staff, actively ask if they have any issues or concerns, and do not wait for them to come to you.
Critical ThinkingCritical thinking is another one of the primary call center supervisor skills that you may need to work on. Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information objectively and then make a reasoned judgment on that information or data. However, it is not just the data that critical thinkers use. Being a great critical thinker will involve the use of other sources of information, data, and observable information. There are five primary skills that we think are immensely helpful in becoming a great critical thinker:
- Problem Solving