Good supervisor and team leadership drives engagement among workforce
Your performance as a contact centre supervisor or team leader makes a direct dent in the organisation’s bottom line. Across industries and verticals, 75% of turnover can be traced to a negative managerial influence. Also, McKinsey found that a number of factors contributing to agent retention in contact centres have to do with leadership – this includes the number of breaks that they are allowed (6%), stress levels (8%), sense of community in the workplace (9%), management (8%), and the performance of the direct supervisor (6%).
Simply put, a good supervisor/team leader can exponentially improve the agent experience, thereby driving engagement among the workforce as well as better CX quality.
Understandably, agents are under a lot of pressure to meet preset KPI targets, promotion-related goals, compliance mandates, and customer demand. This can lead to employees feeling stripped of their agency. Supervisor/team leaders should try and introduce agent empowerment in whatever aspect possible. It could be as simple as letting agents choose their own break hours, adopting self-service scheduling, and offering a WFH option.
A large contact centre will employ agents of various ages, cultural backgrounds, personality types, and professional ambitions. This could cause conflicts in the workplace – but it is your job as the team leader to minimise conflicts as much as possible and enable a comfortable resolution. To achieve this, you need empathy to be able to perceive the issue from the agent’s perspective and not just the organisations. Active listening will also help top reassure agents that they are valued so that conflict scenarios do not escalate.
Disengagement is probably your worst enemy when managing a team of agents, owing to the rigorous nature of the job and inherent challenges like shift timings or below-average pay. While a lot of these factors are beyond your control, it is possible to introduce an element of fun through a system of rewards, workplace games, regular recognition, and non-work-related team activities. Document the outcomes of these initiatives to get buy-in from senior management.
As Cisco’s 2020 contact centre survey found, agents are repeatedly frustrated due to slow processes, outdated technology, too many steps and an over-reliance on manual labour. They want to be able to focus on their jobs, not get distracted by tasks that could have been easily automated. As a supervisor, you should be able to listen to their requirements and present the feedback to management. This will ensure that there is technology intervention to improve agent experiences.
The lion’s share of agent challenges arises due to ineffective staffing policies – overstaffing causes too much idle time, pressures to demonstrate productivity, job security fears, and disengagement. On the other hand, agents will be stretched to their limits in an under-staffed contact centre, struggling to meet targets and harming their emotional health. Supervisors need to set staffing schedules that perfectly balance demand with capacity, ensuring that the organisation’s, as well as individual agents’ requirements, are met.