Running a call center is not easy. You will have great days when things go your way. You will have days when you have technical issues, people issues, and complaint issues. The day to day challenges are not easy.
Customer expectations are exploding and it gets tougher each year. If you don’t keep your customers happy, they will blog on YELP. If you don’t keep your employees happy, they will be on Glassdoor. And then, you have the challenge of staying on top of technology advancements.
Outsourcing is a great option. Finding a call centre specialist will allow you to focus on your core business and possibly save you money. The key is to find the right partner that you can trust.
So what are your options?
You can hire people in your home country. You can outsource to a place like Costa Rica if you need to service Spanish customers. Or, you can consider a place like the Philippines. You have lots of options. My suggestion is to carefully map out your customer journey. Create your strategy. Then explore all options to execute your vision.
If you manage a sales team or contact center, you hear it all the time. From the agents, supervisors and even the managers.
Time for a reality check. Complaining won't help you! You need to stop whining, change your mindset, break the goal down in small steps and take action.
The principle is quite simple. We tend to get what we expect both from ourselves and others. When we expect more, we tend to get more; when we expect less, we get less.
When you get better results, that will increase your credibility and self-confidence. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and produces results. So if you want to increase your results, take action and expect to win.
And not just for yourself, do it for your team.
I just watched a video where Jack Ma offered advice to people entering the workforce. He tells the audience that your first job is the most important and you need to find a good boss. He then says to stay there for 3 years.
My first job at National Sports Centre was a great job! They taught me how to sell and work together to hit business goals. The manager would would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it and you didn’t want to let him down. We worked hard and played hard.
National Sports taught me about teamwork and I still keep in touch with lots of the former employees. And, eventhough we all moved into different directions, I can honestly say we all learned valuable life and work skills from this company.
So, I agree with Jack. Your first job is an important one.
In the book Smarter Better Faster, there is a story of a debt collection team that was collecting a million dollars more per month then the other teams. And, they some of highest employee satisfaction scores.
The question is why was this team doing so well? She was testing specific demographic calling strategies for different times of the day. And, mix that with strategies based on age, gender and situation. She come up with a theory, test it, measure it and then decide if it worked.
Essentially she was applying six sigma principles.
The manager would engage and include the team. Her team would come up with theories. They would talk at lunch time and brain storm because they were involved.
The collectors were noticing things they never noticed before. They weren’t in robot mode. Each phone call contained information that most collectors never registered. But, this team noticed clues because they were looking for prove or disprove their theories.
How are you working with your team to get this kind of engagement and results?
Hiring the right person for your business is critical. The wrong hire can cost you time. It can cost your business lots of money. It can also have a negative impact on the team.
I have been hiring staff for over 20 years. And, I have made some great picks and some didn’t turn out.
When you interview, some human resource professionals will tell you to use behavior interviewing techniques to screen staff. Some may tell you use personality testing. Everyone has an opinion.
I personally like to simplify the process. Focus on what is most important. Here are my 3 key qualities I look for when interviewing managers.
So, what is integrity to me? It’s all about having strong moral principles and being honest. I am looking for employees that are going to help me and the company win. When there are mistakes, they will own up to them and have the confidence to speak up.
I would always prefer a manager that is brutally honest about what is working (and what’s not). I really don’t think authoritative management styles work anymore. I am not an insecure leader. I don’t need constant praise. For me, I get more satisfaction seeing my team do well. Watching my team hit the performance targets. Making more money. And, Growing with the company.
At the end of the day, your managers need to trust you. And you need to TRUST them. You need to ask yourself, will they do whatever it takes to meet and exceed performance targets? Will they find solutions or hide? At the same time, I believe it’s MY RESPONSIBILITY to do whatever it takes to help my manager grow? It’s a 2 way street.
Grit is having the perseverance to get things done regardless of obstacles or set backs. Do they give up easily? Or, do they keep fighting and find a solution? Are they proactive? Challenges come up. That’s part of business. That’s part of life. You may not have control over the challenges that cross your desk. But, you have control over you handle it.
Do they have the confidence to approach you and collaborate to fix the problem?
Are they goal driven and competitive? Do they have short term and long term career goals and strategies to get there?
Anthony Robins says the quality of your life is a result of the quality of your communication. Having the ability to inspire and motivate is critical. Can they control their emotions?
Workers usually leave a company because they are not feeling appreciated. A bad front line manager can impact lots of workers and other managers.
I ask questions to see how they coach employees. Do they sell their ideas and motivate the staff? Or do they just bark orders? Do they build strong win/win relationships with their employees? When they see the employee do something right, do they bring it up? Or, do they just coach when something is wrong?
Obviously you are also looking at other qualities like job specific skills, education, knowledge base, past results etc. But, I do believe Integrity, Grit and People skills are the 3 most important qualities in any new manager.
Any feedback? Let me know.