Contact centers are trending toward super-agents who can engineer superior customer experiences. What kind of managers will be needed to support these agents? Modern contact centers require materially different managers with new and more important skills.
Manager roles (including supervisors and team leaders) have traditionally been filled with the best individual contributors. After all, if they mastered customer service, how tough can it be to show others how to do the same? Unfortunately, that logic breaks down pretty quickly.
Have you ever thought about why the best professional athletes do not automatically become the best professional coaches? Very good players who become good coaches are more the exceptions than the norm. Why is that? Great athletes are dedicated hard workers who focus predominantly on how their individual contributions help the team – but it is still a focus on personal improvement.
Great coaches come from a completely different perspective. Their mindsets are focused on how to make others better. The sun does not have to shine on them every game. They draw satisfaction from seeing others succeed. They take the time to learn about their people, their interests and how to best help each team member achieve their goals. Great coaches possess an “other-centered” view of work.
But it’s more than a mindset; modern contact center managers need to add and leverage new skills, including:
- Active listening. Manager/employee relationships are shifting from “tell” to listen/learn.
- Life-long learning. Managers need to be flexible and adapt to changing conditions.
- Personalized recognition. Managers must learn how to regularly validate others’ achievements based on personal preference.
- Developing insights from analytics. Utilizing information more precisely will add more value.
- Coaching and receiving feedback. Managers need both to provide guidance and to ask how they can become better at their jobs.
Start by selecting managers with the right mindsets; then develop the management skills that contribute to a learning culture. Managers, supervisors and team leaders form the muscle mass of a learning organization. If they are coaching and developing people (including themselves) consistently, they develop an environment that engages and develops highly-skilled agents. Great workplace experiences help create great customer experiences.
To learn more about PDG’s point-of-view on Contact Center Transformation, visit our Contact Center page.
Ed Holinski is Senior Director, Solution Strategy and Development for Performance Development Group.