Many of you (if not all of you) have called a call center, help desk, or service desk. You have either walked away completely upset or blown away by the great assistance you received. These departments take a lot of work and time to be pulled off right. There are many things you need to know when working in a Service Desk. I will share 5 great tips to help you better understand a call center. Five tips are reporting, staffing/hiring, delegating, communicating, and timing.
Reporting is one of the most important aspects of directing a call center. If you cannot tell people what your team does, then you are in a no win position. You need to be able to show the organization how you are helping with the mission by achieving operational and strategic goals. Creating and running reports allows for determining staffing needs, schedules, and other personnel information. Reports will help to see how your customer perceives your service, what services are being used and services not being used. Phone statistics which include abandon rate, average speed to answer (ASA), and others are necessary data for a good report. If you do not know how to write reports, then hire someone who does. Hiring staff is very important and brings us to our next point.
Hiring the right people for a call center job is critical. Most anyone can answer a few phone calls, but it takes a certain type of person to take hundreds of calls. Folks who answer calls need to have some pretty specific skills: customer service skills, strong phone presence, and basic problem solving. You need to have a very solid interview process, which includes phone interviews and face-to-face interviews. The first thing you need to do is screen the applicants. Review their cover letter, resume, and references. One of the most important pieces of the candidates packet is the cover letter.
Delegating is very important as a director. One of the hardest transitions a person faces as they progress into management is how to let go. Directors have many hats and find themselves doing less of the day-to-day (operational) and more strategic planning. Operations still need to occur and since you hired great folks, trust them. You cannot do everything alone, so give assignments to your team. This serves two purposes, one is to give yourself time to tackle other work, and the other is building skills for your team. Remember, you can delegate a task, but you should never delegate the responsibility.
Communicating and timing are very important aspects of the call center. Just because you can talk a lot does not mean your message is being received. Ensure you are being clear and concise to have the best chance of getting your point across. It is a proven philosophy that requires a lot of effort. Communication, in any channel, needs to have the following items to be successful: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. You can apply this formula if you are announcing a new service, reporting a service outage, or providing information. The most important aspect of an interaction is timing. There is nothing worse in the customer service than receiving the information after it is needed. Be on time with the message and your call center will be at the top of its class.