Orit Avital, General Manager at Ottorita, shares her advice on how to best support Team Leaders when managing Contact Center Advisors.
A key role of the Team Leader is boosting Advisor happiness. It is the duty of the Team Leader to lead professional development processes for Advisors, support them during calls, maintain their motivation level and their connection to the contact center etc.
A Manager who fails to notice this and doesn’t invest time in the development of these Team Leader skills, will be unable to create a positive culture in their contact center. This will damage the quality of service that is given to customers, while it may also create problems in terms of attrition and absenteeism.
Therefore, Contact Center Managers must recognise the importance of the Team Leader and invest time in the development of their personal skills, to help spread a good culture.
So, let’s take a look at what messages should be passed down to Team Leaders, so they can best influence Advisor performance and happiness.
Messages to Pass onto Team Leaders
Here are four key messages that your Contact Center Managers should (hopefully) be already passing onto their Team Leaders.
“Be Prepared to Have Difficult Conversations”
Avoidance and disregard of difficult conversations with an Advisor, will quite possibly escalate into a severe issue, which demands an even more complex “confrontation”.
Don’t keep shy of “confrontations”, prepare for them. Use these conversations for learning and drawing conclusions for how you could better handle such an issue in the future.
“Treat Each Member of the Team as Equals”
You are bound to have more personal chemistry with some of the Advisors than others. But, there is no room for favouritism.
It is very important to ask yourself; am I providing each Advisor with all of the tools that I can provide them with? Am I choosing to give certain individuals less or more of my time and effort than others?
This is an ethical approach and, by following this, Advisor Satisfaction – which is being deemed an increasingly important contact center metric – can be kept stable.
“Create a Team Feedback Loop”
After every interaction with an Advisor, make sure that you respond with feedback. (BQ) Whether this is “praising” or “correcting” feedback, both are useful for the Advisor to fulfil their duties.
Feedback loops are essential for your success, so use feedback frequently and on a routine basis. Not only does this apply to scheduled quality/coaching sessions, but to ad-hoc conversations also.
“Get to Know Your Advisors Personally”
Think about these questions on an individual level:
- What are your Advisors like?
- What is important to them?
- What is their professional and personal background?
Use this knowledge towards each Advisor’s regular management and contact center involvement. Make use of an Advisors hobbies in the contact center to strengthen their bond with their job.
For example, if the contact center wants to redesign its walls and you know of an Advisor who likes painting, why not asking them for a creative contribution?
Activities That Can Help Improve a Team Leader’s Skillset
While you – as the Contact Center Manager – would like to think so, just giving Team Leaders messages, like the four above, will not be enough. Time investments into their developing skillsets are also important.
Here are five activities that will be useful to help assess Team Leader performance and help them to progress their skills.
Give Team Leaders a Contact Center Wide Project
Give Team Leaders responsibility for an activity or project on the entire contact center level. This can be through something as simple as running a campaign to improve healthy eating, recycling or so on.
By doing this, you will be able to view and perceive their decision-making processes and greater involve them in wider contact center operations.
Ask Team Leaders to Find a Daily “Positive Point”
Ask Team Leaders to come to you once a day and feedback a positive message regarding one of their team’s Advisors. This can be in terms of performance, good customer feedback, job satisfaction or so on.
Having this daily “positive point” will encourage Team Leaders to greater focus on the performance of their Advisors and their happiness within the role.
Also, asking the Team Leader to feedback this “positive point” to the Advisor, as well as yourself, may be a good idea, to ensure that they feel valued and that their hard work has been recognised.
Make Sure Team Leaders Create Activities for Their Teams
Make certain that Team Leaders are holding activities for their teams. These activities should ideally be fun and have the purpose of improving performance.
Ideas could include contact center related motivational games, knowledge quizzes and team building activities.
By doing this, you can emphasise the importance of Advisor happiness and team cohesion. If your team are all happy and friendly, managing them becomes a whole lot easier.
Hold Learning Meetings Between Team Leaders
Holding regular meetings where Team Leaders present actions, which they initiated on the team level, to one another. This will help spread best practices across the contact center. (BQ)
In turn, this will also encourage Team Leader innovation and allow them the space for their development. Also, it will enhance your message regarding the importance of their role.
Give Team Leaders Enough Time on the Floor
This final point isn’t so much an activity for the Team Leader but one for you. Allow them the space to be on the floor with Advisors during the shift, listen to conversations, provide Advisors with support and just be involved.
By doing this, you’ll get Team Leaders engaged with their primary duty – the ongoing management of the contact center’s Advisors.
Too often in contact centers, when work builds up, Team Leaders choose to reduce the amount of time they spend on the floor. So, look for other areas (such as time spent on emails) where time can be reduced.
Management of Team Leaders is one of the primary tasks of every Contact Center Manager. So, finding practical ways of helping them to support Advisors should be integrated into the daily schedule of every Manager.
The activities listed above will help to develop Team Leaders and encourage them to build a positive culture, while the messages – which should come directly from the Manager – will also hold them in good stead.
I hope that you find some of these ideas practical, useful and effective. Good luck!