Today, manning inbound and outbound call centers can be a big job. The need for customer service and sales staff has greatly increased the need for workers in this area and large call centers are now popping up all over the United States. Furthermore, an increase in consumer complaints due to problems with outsourcing these jobs overseas has caused more companies to return their customer service operations within domestic borders.
As a call center manager, your role is to oversee a staff of customer service representatives to ensure they are doing their job properly. You will be responsible for making sure the center and its resources are properly managed and that pre-determined goals are being met effectively. You may also be responsible for working with representatives from the clients, participating in planning and goal-setting meetings, and hiring new representatives for the staff. Furthermore, call center managers sometimes need to brainstorm innovative methods for motivating the staff to keep them moving in the desired direction.
Some of the information above may differ depending on the type of call center in which you are working. There are two primary types of call centers: inbound and outbound. Inbound call centers deal with direct calls, requests, complaints, and questions from customers. Outbound call centers, on the other hand, focus on contacting existing and potential customers about selling products and services. Although some centers may include both outbound and inbound services, most call center managers deal with only one or the other at any given time.
Call center managers do much more than simply monitor the staff. They have a wide range of responsibilities. For example, as the manager you will need to monitor calls selected at random to ensure that your workers are doing an effect job. You also want to take steps to ensure that errors are occurring less frequently. If one of your staff members has a difficult encounter with a caller, you may be called upon to diffuse the situation or to answer further questions from the caller.
Because you are the call center manager, you will also have plenty of control over hiring and firing decisions. You will complete staff evaluations and contact staff members who are underperforming. You will, in most cases, also be responsible for firing staff members who are failing to meet their goals or who have caused problems in the center. Additionally, you may need to create the advertisements for hiring new staff and informing the rest of the management team when new staff members need to be added in order to meet continued demand.
Along with all of your other responsibilities, you may be asked to stay on top of the latest developments in call center technology. When new technologies are implemented at your center, you may be required to manage the staff's training on the new equipment. Also, you may need to make recommendations to the rest of management on how to improve staff efficiency by adding more technology to the center.
If you are going to be a call center manager, you are definitely going to need experience on the front lines of a call center. In fact, many managers earn their jobs through in-house promotions. This is true despite the fact that many call center managers work for public interest organizations. Having hands-on experience as a customer service representative is going to help you to better understand the demands on the staff and to set realistic goals. Also, managing the staff will be easier if you can come into the center with a strong background in doing the workers' jobs.
Breaking into call center work initially is not challenging. Some call centers only require new hires to have a high school diploma. However, you will have a better chance of being hired and of being advanced within the company if you have more education. An associate's or bachelor's degree is quite helpful. In fact, many college students work in call centers while completing their education. Having courses in working with computers and business matters can be useful. Strong verbal and communication skills are an absolute must, so any courses, such as public speaking, will help improve these skills and make you a more desirable employee.
Training is normally done on-site because each call center uses slightly different technologies and has somewhat unique methods of going about their goals. Obviously, if you've worked in call centers in the past or have a background in customer service, you will have a competitive advantage in getting hired and/or of getting promoted to call center manager.
There are other skills that can help you improve your chances of being hired and that can help you accomplish your jobs more easily. For example, if you have a friendly and outgoing personality you will be better prepared for dealing with people via the phone and for working with the staff as the manager. To some extent, you will also need to be self-motivated.
Between 2006 and 2016, employment in call centers is expected to grow quite quickly. The growth rate is anticipated to be 25% which is compared to 9% — 11% for the average jobs in the United States. As a result, the demand for call center managers is also going to increase and that is also going to be reflected in a more desirable financial picture.
In most call centers, the manager's pay is determined primarily by years of experience. For managers with less than four years of experience, the pay is between $40,000 and $45,000. That's more than double the average salary for the call center worker. As you increase in years of experience, you could earn an average of between $55,000 and $58,000 annually.
Although call center managers tend to start out in the lower ranks of the field, having advanced education and training, as well as good interpersonal skills, will give you an edge in being promoted to the higher paying positions.