A call centre manager is so much more than a mere phone drone. Not only do you have to hit your own tantalizing targets, you also have to set them for your ever-keen team of callers.
In short, you are responsible for the performance of your call centre as a whole as well as the professionalism of your underlings.
This involves managing the facilities and the agents, making sure that the resources are used properly and responsibly, and creating plans for the development and the improvement of the staff. A call centre manager ensures targets are met by coordinating with clients and the call centre staff.
There are, generally speaking, two kinds of call centres. Inbound call centres get calls from the customers, and are responsible for fielding and answering orders and questions. The staff’s goal here is to complete the calls within a given time frame.
Outbound centres hassle as many people as possible, either to sell a product or to get information. The goal here is to reach a specific target of sales or juicy info.
Salary & benefits
Call centre managers get an annual salary of £20,000 to £25,000, although the more experienced ones can get as much as £50,000 to £60,000.
On top of this, managers get the lion’s share of a big fat bonus when they meet or exceed specific targets, and they often work to commission.
Because call centres operate round-the-clock, call centre managers often work odd hours, usually depending on the time zone of the call centre clients.
If you are based in the UK, it will be a nine-to-five affair, with formal attire and standard office practice. The office environment is usually very busy and frenetic, which can be quite stressful for some people.
On the other hand, if the call centre is fielding calls from Southeast Asia, your work schedule will run through the night and into the wee hours.
Indeed, it is worth bearing in mind that, due to outsourcing, the indigenous call centre is a dying breed. However, the industry‘s global scope allows for international job prospects galore.
Call centre managers don’t need any specific postgraduate degrees; what they need is relevant experience in call centre operations or in other customer-focused fields.
Degrees in management and business may prove to be helpful, as will the ability to negotiate and a touch of the gift of the gab. Language skills will also open up an enormous amount of job prospects and opportunities in this field.
Specialist call centres (for instance, call centres which field technical queries) may want their managers to have relevant background in their field. Others even want their call centre managers to have extensive knowledge in call centre equipment.
The fundamental characteristics of a potential call centre manager are good communication skills, an interest in customer service, a charming personality and the ability to lead and motivate others.
Training & progression
Most call centres prefer applicants with prior call centre experience. This means that most call centre managers have already finished basic training for particular call centre agents (during their induction period, which lasts for about a month or two). New managers get basic training and orientation.
There are also more formal training programs available in the country. These programmes generally focus on the business and managerial aspects of the job, although there are some that focus on the technical aspects as well. This is a good training route for managers who must handle technical job tasks as well.
Given the wide ranging network of the industry, many managers can progress to other jobs in marketing, management, and sales – within or beyond the call centre industry.
Expect, however, to be under constant re-evaluation; you stand and fall by your targets, which are ever-shifting goalposts.