Superhero movies rule the box office these days. Every superhero is unique, with their own back stories, strengths and flaws. The thing that binds them together and makes them superheroes is the existence of some kind of super power that they have figured out how to leverage in order to make them really effective.
In thinking about highly effective contact center supervisors, there isn’t a single “super power” that makes them successful. Rather, it is a collection of competencies and behaviors that contribute to their success.
Here are 5 of those superheroic abilities and characteristics:
1. Confrontational. This doesn’t mean they are aggressive and always in your face. Rather, it’s the opposite of nonconfrontational. Effective supervisors don’t avoid tough conversations and decisions. And that’s a good thing because there are many of those to be had in a contact center. When there is an upset customer to contend with, the effective supervisor doesn’t duck it. They boldly handle it. As for agent performance issues? The effective supervisor has the tough conversations.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the effective supervisor likes or is naturally inclined toward confrontation. But at least they recognize the need and they make themselves do it.
2. Diplomatic. Because they have to be confrontational, superhero supervisors also need to have strong diplomacy skills. They have to be able to constructively deliver tough messages to agents and they need to be able to soothe the ruffled feathers of angry customers. Additionally, they need to work well with other internal groups, such as work force management, quality assurance and training.
3. Good people developers. Being diplomatic and not afraid of confrontation will help a lot with this skill, but great coaching goes beyond just getting some of the mechanics right. Supervisors need to have laser vision when it comes to developing their agents. It has to be a priority and something they’re always doing. In fact, some of the strongest supervisors will tell you that their primary responsibility is to develop the agents on their team.
4. Customer focused. Effective supervisors also need to genuinely care about their customers. Agent development goes a long way towards making sure customers are taken care of. But truly heroic supervisors take it a step further by making sure the rest of the organization is aware of persistent customer complaints, issues and even compliments. These supervisors serve as an internal voice for the customers.
5. Technical proficiency. The last super power is a very practical one but no less important than the others. Effective supervisors need to know their way around the CRM system and they need to be well versed on the company’s customer impacting policies and procedures. But in addition, supervisors need to be proficient with work force management concepts and ACD statistics. This allows them to manage their team to meet customers’ availability expectations.
Sound like a lot to expect from one person? It is. Superhero supervisors are unique. Not everyone comes with their own ready-made cape. However, with focused development efforts, these super powers can be acquired. To infinity and beyond!