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Call Center Management

Explore Gallup's research.

35% of U.S. Managers Are Engaged in Their Jobs

Nearly 80% of Americans think the practice is bad for the U.S. economy -- and not just because of the loss of jobs, according to Gallup research. This may be a red flag for U.S. executives, who should be aware of the fact that, regardless of what their companies think of outsourcing, the vast majority of their customers aren't keen on it.

Fully engaged customers deliver a 23% premium over average customers in share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth. That's exactly why so many call centers survey customers to determine their level of engagement. But what happens in between measurements? Specifically, how can a team leader keep customer engagement from feeling like an isolated event, rather than a way of doing business?

Call centers are meant to be a customer convenience -- a place where customers phone for help or to make a purchase. But all too many of them alienate callers and drain money. It doesn't have to be this way. Here are proven strategies to help turn around poor-performing centers.

No one said forging a productive, cooperative relationship with unionized workers is easy. But smart, forward-thinking executives are doing it. This is particularly true in call centers, where managers are overcoming problems like poor attendance and waning morale to build lasting, and profitable, partnerships. Those managers and union leaders offer tips for creating a win-win scenario.

Through extensive research, Gallup has identified four barriers that can substantially undermine efforts to improve employee and customer engagement in call centers. Here are those barriers -- and advice for how executives can overcome them.

It's essential for companies to energize the people who have the most direct contact with customers. Here are three keys to increasing agents' dedication, enthusiasm, and customer focus.

Executives who spend time in their companies' call centers learn an awful lot about how employees and customers really feel about their business. Maybe it's time you paid a visit.

Why does it matter when a boss takes a personal interest in his employees? Just ask the people at a Qwest call center who once faced an uncertain future and, inspired by a great manager, turned it into the biggest and best site in the company.

If financial services firms really want to win back the public's trust, they must go beyond simply following the rules. Anyone can comply with Sarbanes-Oxley, but only superior firms truly engage their customers.

Companies install CRM systems because they want to increase their call center's performance and enhance revenue. Unfortunately, all too often, companies and their call centers relearn an old lesson: Computers don't know everything.

Why does the service you receive over the telephone differ so widely from call to call? Don't these companies train their reps, monitor their quality, or supervise their work? Unfortunately, they do -- but it just makes things worse. Here's how to fix the problem.

Coaching is touted as a ready-made answer to almost every call center challenge. But for coaching to work, agents must understand how they contribute to their center's success. Here's how measuring performance can help.

Anyone who's phoned a call center knows there's a big difference between the best agents and the worst. The best agents solve their customers' problems, sell them the perfect products, and leave customers feeling better off than when they called. The worst agents frustrate everyone they talk to. Here are some smart pay strategies to help you reward your best.

Conventional wisdom -- that managing a call center is primarily about managing technology, not people -- is hampering call-centers' effectiveness. But well-rounded strategies could boost productivity, improve pay, and increase employee retention in your company's call center.

Your company hired its call center employees to make pitches, take orders, and provide technical support. While the best call center employees are on the phone creating and retaining loyal customers, in just ten seconds a poorly trained employee could lose you a client you've been courting for years.

Customer loyalty scores were dropping. Market share was slipping. The company knew something had to change and called in the cavalry. In a year, customer loyalty measures increased from 40% to 76%. The workforce of CSRs and CSR management was reorganized to sustain these results, long after the cavalry went home. How did the company accomplish this turnaround?

Once you understand the best practices used by the most successful call centers, it's time to see how they work together in practice. The most important tool of all is the balanced scorecard, which measures several facets of a great CSR's job. Once the scorecard is in place, you can implement improvement programs that can change the workplace culture.

Did you know that your best CSR may be driving away business? Unless you're measuring the right things -- customer engagement, customer loyalty, employee engagement -- you aren't getting a true picture of CSR performance. To see the impact on financials, you have to look at both the CSR and management levels. You might be surprised at what you find.

Call center managers say their biggest headaches are people related. As the technology grows and the labor pool shrinks, managers devote most of their resources to keeping customers happy and simply keeping CSRs -- often, with limited success. But there are tremendous opportunities in the area that most plagues managers, and strategies to turn the headaches into gold mines.