Managing a call center is hard work. Not everyone can do it. In fact, many people can’t. Despite their best intentions and their hard work, they fail to do the job that needs to be done the way they need to do it. Aside from having the needed skill set, a large factor in success for a call center manager is learning how to maintain a good work-life balance. Here are some tips that will lead to a fulfilling career as a call center manager.
Some managers have the idea they should work forty hours a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Though this may work for some jobs in some industries, it doesn’t bode well for the call center manager. Except in rare circumstances, a call center manager who takes a 9-to-5 attitude is on a quick path to demotion. The key reason is that most call centers operate 24/7. Even those that aren’t open 168 hours a week, are still open beyond the typical 9-to-5 workday. Though it’s impossible for a manager to be at the call center every hour it’s open, if they are to achieve success, they need to be there more than forty hours a week.
Some call center managers understand the business well enough to know that they must work more than forty hours a week to handle the requirements of the job. Yet they go overboard. They put their job first and everything else second. If they’re not careful, soon their job in running a top-notch call center takes precedence over everything else. This pushes aside family, friends, and self-care. The result is burnout. This usually happens in short order, but other cases could take years. However, burnout is always the result when a manager becomes totally dedicated to the call center.
In call centers there’s always something pressing: a staffing emergency to address, a technology problem that can’t wait until tomorrow, or an insistent client or caller who demands the attention of a manager. In short, there’s always a reason to handle one more thing before going home. But sometimes the wise thing to do—the necessary thing to do—is to leave work and go home. It takes wisdom to know the difference, but effective call center managers have learned how to walk this line of distinction.
A key to success as a call center manager is to develop the ability to delegate. Delegation is as much art as science. Appropriate delegation seldom happens by accident. It’s something managers must learn and cultivate. When managers consider delegation, there’s two extremes they often struggle with. The first response is to refuse to delegate, because they think no one can do it as good as them or that no one will do it right. Therefore, their logical response is to do it themselves. (See the above point about burnout.) The response is to go overboard and attempt to delegate everything. Even if they can appropriately delegate all tasks—which seldom happens—it will result in employee frustration or even open rebellion. Many books address delegation. The astute call center manager will study these books and adopt their recommendations.
For a call center manager who wishes to remain in that position for the long-term, they need to pursue an appropriate balance between work and the rest of their life. They must seek, achieve, and maintain a good work-life balance. This, too, is a skill that takes practice to hone and time to master. Finding a good work-life balance requires going beyond a forty-hour-a-week mentality without going overboard and putting work over all else. It also requires learning the art and skill of delegation. These are the key factors that lead to achieving a good work-life balance and succeeding as a call center manager for the long-term.
Just because a call center employee is a good agent, supervisor, or trainer doesn’t mean they’ll automatically make an effective call center manager. Yes, call center managers need to have these experiences to achieve successful outcomes, but a critical ingredient is learning how to pursue and sustain a good work-life balance. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan. Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry, helps clients grow their revenue and optimize their business. Contact Janet at email@example.com or 800-901-7706.