TheCall Center Managers Job Definition.
start out with a little bit of background. Very few management jobs
are so diverse and demanding in so many skill areas as that of the
Call Center Manager. Yet rarely, if ever, is the Manager given the
basic platform on which to develop their own skills. Formal education has until
recently been non existent and the only education has been in the
firing line through on the job experience. No wonder an experienced manager
is such a sought after commodity. In fact, next to software
developers, no other job experience is higher on the head hunters
list than the proven Call center Manager anywhere in the World.
Currently business schools and Universities in the US are scrambling
to put together formal Certificate programs for a call center
article will help provide you with a simple, realistic model on how
you get a better grip on what the Managers job really is. The article will
help you build a job description for the call center managers
position. It will also provide you with some of my experiences and insights
in these pages and in the end we should have a basic understanding of what
it takes to be a successful call center manager.
Experience over the
past 12 years has taught me, that the failure most call center
Managers is failure to fully understand their role in the
organization. Often the Manager thought the call center was doing
well and handling customer interactions well, when in reality they
are focusing on the wrong set of metrics. Not understanding
the centers roll is the single most important reason why call
centers fail and are disbanded.
The Key Ingredients of the Call
center Manager Job.
Any manager worth their salt will tell you
that the success of the call center depends on 4 key ingredients
1) 60-70% People
Issues , 2) 10-15% CTI, 3) 10-15% Management support and 4) 5%
External issues (location, integration..). This is, if you care to
examine it, the same breakdown as your cost-factors in running the
A job, any job, can be broken down into the
following key ingredients :
I. Purpose- why are you there and
what is expected of you vis-a-vis the Company you work for?
Product - what is the product/service you are producing that some
one else is willing to pay for? The product will help you, and
others, know how well you are doing.
III. Customers - who are
they, and how many levels of customers are there ?
IV. Duties -
how should your time be spent?
V. Skills - what skills are
necessary and what skills are desirable ?
Key ingredients defined
(These definitions are generic in nature) :
A purpose is an idea
or a goal which drives you in your life or work. It is nearly always
a... "I want to...." or " The group wants to..." or " The company
wants to..." statement.
To get a company to function, it must
have a stated purpose which applies to all employees; a purpose
which inspires all individuals in their job function to pull in the
same direction. It is never a bloodless unemotional statement of
intent, since such statements do not inspire people to great achievements.
Mission statements conceived by a committee are too often generic
generalities with little or no dynamic content. Consider GE
Capital's stated purpose : " To consistently exceed customer
expectation by delivering faster, better and cheaper service" and
note how the customer is given the center stage and how the dynamics
never permits anyone to rest on their laurels. GE has set
new standards and demonstrated an intricate understanding of the
need to inspire everyone in the company to pull in the same
In case you missed it, your purpose is what get you up
in the morning and it's the fuel which drives your life, so spend
some time taking a good look at this "purpose
A valuable final product (VFP) is goods or
services delivered into the hands of the customer for which they are
willing to exchange a valuable (money or other products). It must be
final, i.e. need no further action on your part. The real test of
defining the VFP for a job is whether or not the VFP can be measured
in such a way as to reflect both the quality and volume of products
being produced. Without a numerical statistic reflecting the value
of the job, it will cease to exist or transform into other job-tasks
which need to be done. The definition should enable the person
performing the job to answer these key questions .... How do I know
if I am doing a good job ? By what measuring stick am I adding value
to the company ?
Call center business purpose in mind what are your really producing
? Who considers that valuable and how do you measure it ? Customer
satisfaction is NOT the product; if the customer is satisfied, did
it result in more business at lower cost ? How valuable is it to
whom ? These are tough questions, but the epitaph of most Call
center Gravestones should read "Here lies a Call center, who's
manager thought Customer satisfaction was the business purpose of
the Call center". Forget it, the Call center either produces revenue
or reduces cost per order or both. Remember that when you decide on
a measurement that is what you are going to get. The measurement
itself will create its own dynamics, and must be revisited all the
time, or you get drowned in false statistics. Don't finalize the
product definition just yet. You need to compare with the Customer
groups you identify and realize that the Call center will have many
different products, but you must decide on THE one.
It is critical to define which
customers are served by the position. Are they external or internal?
Is there more than one group of customers ? If so, how should time
and effort be prioritized to the various groups ? You will find that
other customers are more important to your job, than your boss, who
often take up a disproportionate amount of your time; it's
frequently the lack of well defined product measurements which is
Who are your Customers : List
them, group them and keep going over the list and adding. Compare it
to the purpose and the product. Compare them and ensure the
integrity of your findings, i.e. they've got to add up. When you
realize that your people in the call center are your most important
customer group you're getting closer. A good idea is to read the
book : "Customers come Second". Did you know that your people will treat the customers exactly the
way they are being treated by their managers? That's why skills
training of staff has limited durability unless you train the
supervisors and managers first. You have got many, many customer
groups. One of the reasons senior management is so important is because
you're not sure the Value of your Product is properly understood by
your staff. If you are producing lots of Valuable Final Product which
aligns to the business purpose of the call center and documenting
it, then all management will ever do is ask you what resources you
need to produce more. Dream world? No. Your need for assurance that
you're safe in the job and high on list of promotions stems from
this fact. It's the lack of tangible results which keeps you busy
promoting yourself and the Center.
I suggest management revisit the Call
Center Purpose again and again, make sure you get it right; this is what you
should discuss with senior management and then, of course, what the
product should be and how the measurements flow back to the Call
center. This will create internal turf-fights and the integration of
the Call center into the core business will become one of your main
How should the person in this position be
spending their time? What are the duties and what proportion of
their time should each take? Ensure that the duties are specific and
clearly outlined. In many cases a list of duties is all a person
gets when taking up a new job.
If you have done the
above then this is piece of cake. Because all you have to do is list
what you have to do, to actually achieve the Purpose of the Call
center. Break it down into time-usage and watch out for too much
meeting time. The measurements of the products produced should give
you all the raw data you need to evaluate what's happening in your
Center. If you're in doubt try noting down for a day or two what you
actually spend your time doing.
Skills Identify the critical job
requirements - knowledge, skills and abilities; the definitions you
have already decided upon will assist with this. Secondly, identify
desirable job requirements. To be promoted out of the job as Call
center Manager you must prepare this list well. Remember what you
had when you got the job; focus on what makes you a success and
don't mistake critical skills for desired skills.
Creating a sustainable Job
Description for the Call Center Managers position is not easy but it
really up to you. No one else can do it for you. When you have done this
for your own job and come out the other side, maybe your Call center
staff should do it, at least the other managers and supervisors.
What is the Purpose : Ask yourself why was the call Center set up in the first
place ? What was the stated business reason ? Is it still the same
or has it changed without being publicly stated. Why am I here ..
really really, yes I know you need the pay, but look deeper for your
personal reason. Go as deep as you dare. Figure out how the business
purpose of the Call center and your personal purpose pull in the
same direction. Draw a couple of vectors from the same starting
point and work out how they pull, the length of the vector
symbolizes the strength of the purpose. The direction of the two
arrows (vectors) will tell you how fast you and the Call center are
on the way to achieving great things. Maybe the purpose needs to be
completely redefined. In some cases, Call center Managers believe
they run a call producing factory and the only revenue created is on
the phone bill. Trust me on this, that is not the business purpose
because it leaves the customer out of the equation. That is the
phone companies' purpose in encouraging the establishment of Call
Centers. You will find that the Call center has several purposes,
just make sure to get the overall purpose and then ensure the other
purposes align with that one and enhance it..