What is a call center manager?
A call center manager is crucial in organizations that rely heavily on customer service operations. They oversee the daily activities of a call center, maintain the quality of customer service, and ensure the department is functioning efficiently and effectively to meet standards and goals. These managers serve as liaisons between the call center team and the rest of the company, translating business objectives into clear operational goals.
The role drives customer satisfaction and loyalty, directly impacting a company’s reputation and bottom line. Ensuring smooth operations and high performance within the call center helps maintain a robust, positive customer relationship.
Duties and responsibilities
Call center managers are responsible for managing and directing people and processes in a call center. They typically oversee the recruitment, training, and development that ensure call center staff have the right skills and knowledge to perform their roles effectively. In addition, they monitor and evaluate the performance of individual agents and the team, providing feedback and coaching to improve performance and productivity.
Administrative duties include scheduling shifts, managing budgets, and maintaining proper documentation. Managers also implement policies and procedures to comply with regulations and company standards. Job expectations include developing strategies and initiatives to improve customer service, reduce costs, and enhance efficiency.
A call center manager’s work environment can be fast-paced and dynamic. They typically work in office settings, though some may work remotely for organizations with digital or virtual call centers. Frequent interaction with call center staff, other managers, and occasionally customers requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
Despite the hectic work environment, it is crucial to maintain a calm demeanor and a solution-oriented approach. This approach helps to set the tone for the entire team, encouraging a positive and productive work environment. Stress management and resilience are crucial given the high stakes and frequent need to handle difficult situations or conflicts.
Typical work hours
The typical work schedule is full-time and aligned with the call center’s operating hours. Managers may need to be available outside traditional work hours to ensure 24/7 coverage and handle emergencies or urgent issues. Flexibility and adaptability are vital characteristics given the potential variability in work hours.
How to become a call center manager
Becoming a call center manager requires education, professional experience, and development of leadership skills. In this career guide section, we cover the steps you’ll need to follow:
Step 1: Complete high school or obtain a GED
The first step is to complete a high school education or obtain a GED certificate. A strong foundation in subjects such as English, mathematics, and computer technology is helpful for the role.
Step 2: Obtain a bachelor’s degree (optional)
Some employers may prefer a candidate with a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as business administration, management, or communications. A degree can provide valuable knowledge and skills like organizational management, customer service, and team leadership.
Step 3: Gain call center experience
Experience in customer service, call center operations, or related fields is essential for becoming a call center manager. Entry-level positions or internships in these areas can help develop the practical skills and knowledge required. Focus on working with customers, handling inquiries or issues, and familiarizing yourself with technologies and processes.
Step 4: Develop strong leadership and management skills
These professionals must be skilled at leading and managing teams and overseeing call center operations. Developing strong leadership and management skills is essential for success. Seek opportunities to lead teams, manage projects, and coordinate workflows in your current position or through volunteer work.
Step 5: Learn relevant call center technologies and software
Become familiar with the technologies and software used in call center operations, including customer relationship management (CRM) systems, automatic call distribution (ACD) systems, and workforce management software. Learn about these technologies and software through online resources, training courses, or on-the-job training.
Here are some of the options we recommend for continuing education:
- The Complete CRM Course for Beginners covers the types of CRMs available and how to use them for managing customer relationships.
- Udemy’s HubSpot CRM and Email: An Intensive Course teaches everything you need for managing contacts, properties, and emails.
- Learn the foundational skills of Salesforce and work your way to a Sales Operations Professional Certificate with Coursera’s Sales and CRM Overview.
- Zoho is another popular CRM, and Udemy’s Zoho CRM Beginner to Expert course explains all the platform’s features in detail.
Step 6: Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills
Individuals in this role must communicate effectively with customers, clients, and colleagues, both verbally and in writing. Developing strong communication skills, actively listening, and showing empathy are essential to success.
Step 7: Obtain relevant certifications (optional)
While not required, obtaining call center management or customer service certifications can enhance credibility and demonstrate commitment to the profession. Some popular certifications include the International Customer Management Institute’s (ICMI) Certified Contact Center Manager (CCCM) and the Customer Service Institute of America’s Certified Customer Service Manager (CCSM). These certifications help you to stand out among other candidates and advance your career.
Step 8: Apply for call center manager positions
With the necessary experience, skills, and qualifications, it is time to apply for jobs. Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight relevant qualifications and accomplishments in customer service, call center operations, or related fields. During interviews, be prepared to discuss your experience with technologies, leadership and management skills, and the ability to improve customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.
Step 9: Pursue professional development opportunities (optional)
Participating in professional development opportunities, such as workshops, seminars, or online courses, can help enhance skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. Consider joining professional organizations like the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) or the Customer Service Institute.
How much do call center managers make?
Call center manager salaries vary based on several factors, including geographical location, the company’s size and industry, their level of education and experience, and the nature of the call center’s work. For instance, tech industries or financial services might pay more than other industries due to the work’s complexity.
Bonuses and commissions can significantly influence income, with many companies offering performance-based bonuses to augment base salary. Those holding advanced degrees in business or related fields often command higher pay.
Highest paying industries
- Finance and Insurance – $100,500
- Information Technology – $96,300
- Manufacturing – $92,150
- Healthcare – $89,800
- Technical Services – $88,650
Highest paying states
- California – $109,200
- New York – $104,600
- Massachusetts – $100,700
- New Jersey – $97,330
- Washington – $95,050
Types of call center managers
In this career guide section, we will explore the different types of call center managers, shedding light on their unique responsibilities and areas of focus.
Inbound call center manager
An inbound call center manager oversees operations where most calls are incoming, for customer service departments, technical support lines, or any other service where customers call. The role oversees the efficient handling of calls, maintains customer satisfaction, and manages the center’s team.
Outbound call center manager
Sales and marketing-driven environments make outbound calls to potential customers or conduct surveys. An outbound manager supervises operations, including sales strategies, team performance, and target achievement.
Quality assurance manager
Quality assurance (QA) managers maintain service quality, monitor calls, provide feedback, implement training programs, and ensure adherence to industry and company standards. They aim to enhance the customer’s experience and improve overall service delivery.
Workforce management manager
In the fast-paced call center environment, balancing workload and reducing staff burnout while maintaining service quality is critical. To ensure smooth operations, workforce managers prioritize staff allocation and scheduling based on predicted call volumes and peak times.
Customer experience manager
In some call centers, a dedicated customer experience manager strategizes and implements plans to enhance the customer journey. They use customer feedback and data analytics to improve processes, train staff, and ensure every interaction garners a positive impression.
Virtual call center manager
With the rise of remote work, virtual roles have become more prevalent because remote teams need oversight to ensure productivity, efficiency, and quality of service. These managers must be adept at online management tools and possess strong communication skills to lead their teams from a distance.
Top skills for call center managers
This section outlines the primary skills and traits needed for career success as a call center manager. The following descriptions provide insights into the abilities anyone aspiring to this role should focus on developing.
Excellent leadership guides teams to achieve organizational goals and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. Managers should inspire, motivate, and foster a positive work environment for individual growth and team synergy. A strong leader can influence a team’s morale, productivity, and overall performance, directly impacting success.
They must communicate effectively and relay information concisely to their team, senior management, and clients. Good communication helps maintain transparency, reduces misunderstandings, and fosters a culture of openness and trust. It is also essential in conflict resolution for mediating disputes, providing feedback, and negotiating solutions to satisfy all parties.
Problem-solving skills are paramount in a call center environment, as they often face technical issues, customer complaints, and employee conflicts. Managers must make quick decisions and develop creative solutions to minimize disruptions and maintain service quality. A problem-solving mindset enables navigation through complexities, continually improves processes, and drives customer satisfaction.
These professionals monitor their team’s performance against set targets, identify areas for improvement, and implement strategies to address any shortfalls. They provide constructive feedback and coaching to help team members improve their skills and achieve their full potential. Effective performance management improves productivity, employee engagement, and customer service.
Lastly, technological adeptness is vital in modern call centers because the setting requires various software and systems, including CRM tools and call monitoring software. They should stay current with emerging technologies that could enhance efficiency and service quality. Technical savviness helps leverage tools effectively, streamline operations, and remain competitive in the digital age.
Call center manager career path
The career path usually starts with an entry-level role as a call center agent or customer service representative, where experience is gained in customer interactions, problem-solving, and business operations.
Following several years of experience and demonstrated leadership potential, there will be an opportunity to advance to a team lead or supervisor position. This role typically involves managing a team of call center agents, providing guidance and support, and ensuring staff meet performance metrics.
With further experience and stellar performance, it is possible to be promoted to an assistant manager role. Here, the focus broadens, including call center operations, workforce management, and strategy formulation.
The journey will then lead to a manager position overseeing all operations, from staff management and training to quality assurance, budgeting, and strategic planning. They also liaise with other departments to ensure call centers align with organizational goals.
Some may progress to senior roles such as call center director or VP of customer service, overseeing multiple call centers and developing strategic plans on a company-wide scale.
Similar job titles
Call center manager position trends and outlook
The recent trend of increased use of AI and automation technologies in call centers, including chatbots for handling common customer queries and predictive analytics for better workforce management, doesn’t diminish the importance of human oversight. Call center managers, however, must stay updated with these technologies to use them effectively and remain professionally competitive.
The remote work model has also become a significant trend and is expected to continue affecting how call centers operate. Managers now oversee remote workforces to maintain productivity, ensure high-quality service delivery, and deal with logistical issues.
There’s also a greater focus on performance metrics and analytics as businesses increasingly rely on data to drive decisions. Modern managers must be proficient in using data to identify trends, assess performance, and implement strategies for improvement.
Employment projections for call center managers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups call center managers under the broader category of “Administrative Services and Facilities Managers.” Employment of customer service representatives is projected to decline by 4% through 2031, while the growth rate for management positions is expected to increase by 7%. This growth is driven by the need for businesses to maintain and efficiently operate centers. However, the exact growth rate could vary based on factors such as industry trends, technological advancements, and business needs.
Call center manager career tips
Understand your team
When overseeing a team of representatives, it is essential to understand their roles, challenges, and needs. Take time to learn daily tasks, listen to concerns, and find ways to help staff excel. In doing so, managers build a more efficient team and foster an environment of mutual respect and understanding.
Maintain customer focus
The goal of a call center is customer satisfaction, so strategies are needed to keep this at the forefront. Monitor key performance indicators like first call resolution and average handling time to ensure metrics align with customer satisfaction. Efficiency should be balanced with empathy and understanding across all customer interactions.
Call center technology constantly evolves, so staying updated with the latest tools and software is crucial to increase efficiency and improve the customer experience. Utilize data analytics to understand call patterns, customer behavior, and areas of improvement. Consider implementing AI tools for routine inquiries, freeing your team to handle more complex tasks.
Build a professional network
Networking can provide valuable insights to help stay updated with industry trends. Join professional associations to get access to a wealth of resources and connections. Some relevant associations include:
- International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)
- Call Center Network Group (CCNG)
- National Association of Call Centers (NACC)
Promote a positive work environment
Call centers can be high-stress environments. Promoting a positive work atmosphere improves employee morale, reduces turnover, and increases productivity. Foster open communication, acknowledge good work, and encourage team-building activities.
Implement continuous learning
In an ever-evolving industry like customer service, ongoing learning is crucial. Encourage your team to upskill and broaden their knowledge. Some areas of focus could be:
- Customer service best practices
- Conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques
- Technological upskilling, such as CRM software or AI tools
- Communication and soft skills
Plan for career progression
Helping your team see a path for career progression is critical to retaining top talent. Develop training programs and offer opportunities for advancement to motivated team members. These initiatives ensure that a pipeline of skilled leaders is always available.
Where the call center manager jobs are
- Capital One
- New York
Top job sites
What skills are essential for a call center manager?
Successful managers require a blend of hard and soft skills. Technically, proficiency in call center software, data analysis, and customer relationship management platforms is crucial. Familiarity with performance metrics is also necessary, as the role involves monitoring and improving key performance indicators, such as first call resolution and average handle time. Soft skills include strong leadership, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities. Emotional intelligence is essential because the role involves dealing with customer concerns and emotions.
What are the daily responsibilities of a call center manager?
The role oversees the daily operations, ensuring the call center runs smoothly and meets its goals. Responsibilities include supervising call center agents, coordinating schedules, and addressing issues or conflicts. Managers also monitor calls for quality assurance, provide feedback and coaching to staff, and work to optimize operational efficiency. Additionally, they liaise with other departments and report performance metrics to senior management.
How can a call center manager improve customer satisfaction?
Improving customer satisfaction involves a combination of direct and indirect actions. Direct actions include implementing protocols to resolve customer queries quickly and effectively. Indirect actions involve creating a positive work environment that motivates agents to provide excellent customer service. Training agents on empathy, communication, problem-solving, and rewarding good performance are effective strategies.
What challenges does a call center manager typically face?
Some common challenges include high agent turnover, maintaining consistent service quality, managing peak times, and keeping up with technological advancements. Other challenges may include dealing with demanding customers, managing a diverse team, and balancing cost-effectiveness with quality service.
What is the role of a call center manager in employee training and development?
Managers identify training needs based on performance metrics and customer feedback, develop or coordinate training programs, and provide one-on-one coaching to agents. Career development for high-potential employees develops necessary skills and prepares them for advancement.
How does a call center manager handle performance issues?
Managers handle performance issues by identifying the problem, discussing it with the agent, and working together to find a solution. Solutions may include additional training, coaching, or changes in the work environment. Persistent performance issues may require disciplinary action.
How important is technology in a call center manager’s role?
Technology assists with monitoring calls, tracking performance metrics, and improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. These tools can streamline workflows, automate tasks, and provide valuable data for decision-making. Staying updated with the latest technology and trends is very important.
What is the role of a call center manager in conflict resolution?
Conflict resolution can involve solving disputes between agents or between agents and customers. Managers must maintain a neutral stance, listen to all parties involved, and facilitate a solution that respects everyone’s interests. They must foster a positive work environment that discourages conflicts and encourages cooperation and respect.
How does a call center manager contribute to business growth?
Managers work to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can lead to increased sales and positive word-of-mouth. They also identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling during customer interactions, contributing to revenue. Optimizing call center operations and improving agent productivity can reduce costs and increase efficiency.
How important is communication in the role of a call center manager?
Communication is paramount for working with diverse stakeholders, including customers, agents, and senior management. Relaying information accurately, listening to concerns, and responding promptly help provide constructive feedback, resolve conflicts, and promote a positive work culture.