Call Center Management Training Program
You can’t expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don’t exceed the employees’ expectations of management.” -Howard Shultz CEO Starbucks
How do you Facilitate call center management training in your customer service center? Do you have a training plan at all or do you just take long-tenured associates and make them supervisors/team leads when a supervisor leaves? If you hire a supervisor off the street what training do you give them?
Most call center organizations that I have seen do not do a very good job of preparing their supervision for the job at hand. Many call center managers assume that because an associate did a great job on the phones they will be a good supervisor. Big mistake.
I liken it to a sports analogy. Just because you were a great football or basketball player does not guarantee that person will be a great coach. It’s the same thing with your customer service center employees.
Everyone has in-depth procedures for training their customer service associates. Shouldn’t you have the same thing for your middle management?
I have found that having a solid management trainee program not only trains your future managers on their job but also shows career progression to all employees which limits turnover.
I like to have my tenured supervisors each have a management trainee on their team if possible. That way if they need to go to lunch or are sick the team is covered. When the main supervisor is there they are on the phones working and learning.
Here is a quick rundown of the 3-6 month call center management training program. We chose 3-6 months as it short enough where we don’t lose people but long enough to mean something.
I try to have a trainee class when needed. While it is fine to hire a couple of trainees off the street I believe it is much more beneficial for the organization to really try to hire from within. This way we can have classes just when we need them and do not have someone designated a management trainee for a long period getting frustrated from there being no supervisor position available.
Weekly Management Training Meetings:
We would have an hour weekly meeting where most training would take place. This is the fun part. You can really tailor this to the needs of your operation. I put a ton of emphasis on leadership, how to act on the team, how to deal with tough reps, dealing with confrontation, and how to turn attitudes around. I want to give them all the “psychological tools” for them to succeed,
We will also train on systems (call management system, workforce management, the theory behind how and why we route calls… ).
I give them some printed out chapters of my favorite leadership and coaching books. Techniques to get right to the heart of helping them in their job (let me know if you would like some of these printouts)
One of the most important classes is our legal class. We make sure to go over sexual harassment issues, what you can say and what you can’t say on your team, any company policies such as dress code are all handed here as well to make sure that all our middle management are as professional as possible and do not open us up to any litigation.
These meetings are also the times where we train how to properly start and end a workday, controlling the first 30 minutes, how do weekly agent analysis and career progressions, and how to make their reps evangelist for your brand.
Make these meetings important and special. Give special binders out so trainees can put their take away’s somewhere. Have some water/Soda and maybe some snacks. Make it something your employees want to go to. Also, be prepared for these meetings. I have a lesson plan that I make to cover all the topics that I want to be conveyed over the weeks of the training. I would love to tell you exactly what to teach here but it will depend on your business type. If you would like more information on what I do please contact me.
On Job Experience:
If you have the time it’s great to have each trainee spend a week or two in all the companies’ different departments as well to see how everything works together. They can see when errors happen how it affects the company and how each department is dependent on another.
Remember as they are learning all of this they are applying it every day when their main supervisor is on break or lunch. We also make sure to sit in on trainees while they are doing supervisor weekly agent analysis reviews and any monitoring issues that arise with associates.
Once you have them trained on all aspects of what it means to be a supervisor in your organization it’s now time for the final test.
They are given a team (8-10 associates) for one week on their own where they are reviewed for how they do. They are closely supervised but given reign over that team.
If they pass and you feel they are ready it’s GRADUATION TIME!!!
We had a small swearing-in ceremony before a shift (normally on a Friday) where they would take an oath (let me know if you want the oath), get a diploma, and then have balloons and cake. We also presented them with a new name badge as well. Make it fun. They put a lot of time in they deserve a little recognition.
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