Managing a call center is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if you remember Cerberus - either from Greek mythology or Harry Potter - you’ve got a good mental picture of what it’s like.
Cerberus, the Hound of Hades, had three heads. The heads represent the past, the present, and the future. In call center management, your challenges aren’t so much about the past, present, or future. Instead, they’re three competing concerns that can keep your eyes from the prize — and these dangers are anything but mythical. No wonder so many call center managers are perpetually exhausted - they know they can’t ever take their eyes off the challenges in front of them. Plus, right in the heat of battle, they still have to hit their numbers.
Call Center Challenge #1: Compliance
If you fail to play by an ever-changing set of telemarketing regulations, you could fall victim to compliance problems. That whole issue of getting “prior express written consent” before using certain technology? It’s no joke. Once professional plaintiffs set their sights on your business, you could even face massive class-action suits, the likes of which can force even the most successful companies to close. We’ll dive into compliance challenges in an upcoming blog. It might not be the most exciting topic in the world, but it’s absolutely critical for a call center manager to understand the regulations and how to comply with them.
Call Center Challenge #2: Quality
Although not nearly as menacing as the threat of compliance failures, the quality of the calls, clicks, and leads you buy for your team can pose major threats to your team’s ability to hit its KPIs. Get low-quality leads, and even the best call center agents will struggle to close. Then, you’re likely to have high turnover to deal with, too. Dealt a hand of bad leads, your agents’ morale will suffer and their performance will slide until they quit. On the other hand, with high-quality leads, even an average call center is more likely to see higher conversion rates. That, in turn, boosts morale and job satisfaction… and that means less resources wasted on needless hiring and training of replacements. We’ll talk more about quality issues soon, too.
Call Center Challenge #3: Cost Per Acquisition
Despite your best efforts to get compliance and quality under control, it’s not smooth sailing yet! You live and die by your numbers, and while you’ve got to keep a watchful eye on CPA, it can be hard to determine exactly how much you should be spending to get new customers. Throw in the fact that both compliance and quality figure into the math here, and it’s easy to see how determining the ideal CPA for your offer is complicated. We’ll cover this in depth in an upcoming post, as well - but if you can’t wait, you should pick up our new book, Have Them at Hello.
Call Center Morale's Not So Simple, Either
While the three issues outlined above are just three of the challenges call centers have to overcome, they're by no means the only problems you'll face. In all likelihood, you will have to contend with the idiosyncrasies of your team. Managing humans is hard enough on its own, but throw compliance, quality, and CPA challenges into the mix, and it’s no wonder so many call centers feel like pressure cooker about to blow its lid.
As call center manager, you shoulder responsibility for your entire team. If your agents don't hit their numbers, it reflects poorly on you. In your efforts to get compliance, quality, and KPIs in line, you might neglect employee satisfaction and other important matters. Address these issues upfront, however, and other challenges may prove more manageable than you previously assumed.
By investing in your agents and developing a more strategic workflow, you can hit desired numbers while also keeping compliance and quality concerns to a minimum. To succeed, you'll need to not only encourage your agents — you'll need to consistently challenge them while also ensuring that they demonstrate respect for their job and for their team. One rogue agent can quickly destroy the entire team's morale and cause lasting damage.
Boost Your Call Center’s Results
Successful agent management begins right away with hiring and training well. Optimize the onboarding process to emphasize your call center's chain of command. This fosters a sense of duty and community. Provide your team with excellent leads, and they’ll get more wins, which builds and reinforces their sense of job satisfaction at the same time.
The best call center managers walk a fine line to balance the human element and the numeric one. There’s a lot you can do to get the best from your people through excellent leadership. But the impact you’ll see from providing high-quality, fully-compliant leads priced in a way that makes sense for your offer is just as crucial to your success.
At Digital Market Media, we understand the challenges you’re facing and we know exactly how to help you win the battle before you. Getting all the top-notch calls, clicks, and leads you can handle is as easy as turning your account on, in fact. But we’ve found that our clients get the biggest wins when we work together to figure out exactly what you need first. We’re in this for the long run, always working hard with you to optimize your results along the way.