What Are the Key Capabilities a Call Center Manager Needs?

Hire Leaders That Possess These Essential Capabilities and Then Teach Them Other Skills

A call center manager must master many things. While they can learn most of these skills, others are harder to pick up. That’s why it’s best to hire a call center manager who has these inherent key abilities.

Pursue Excellence

Each year customer expectations keep rising for call centers. Whether it’s called customer service, customer experience, or some other caller-focused label, the reality is that callers expect excellence. A call center manager must have the inherent desire to pursue excellence, or they’ll struggle at their job, and your call center will flounder.

Inspire Staff

Call center agents are the critical element for call center success. But great agents don’t just happen. Yes, it starts with making wise hiring decisions, but merely employing the right people isn’t enough. Good leaders inspire staff to put customers first and to pursue continual progress in developing their skill sets.

Motivate Ongoing Improvement

Another characteristic of call center work is that it’s an environment with seemingly constant change. Call centers must work on making incremental improvements every day, every week, and every month just to keep up. To gain ground on their competition, they must do more. They must make continual enhancements to best serve their customers and callers. This requires a leader who can motivate staff to have a positive, can-do attitude toward improvement and change.

Be an Encourager

Coupled with motivation is encouragement. Call center managers must be able to encourage employees when they struggle, have a rough day, or feel like giving up. In almost all cases, it’s easier to work to retain existing staff than to hire and train new employees, hoping they’ll work out. Wise call center managers recognize this and encourage their staff as needed.

Understand People

A successful call center manager knows how to read people. This includes staff as well as customers and clients. Though they don’t need a degree in psychology, they do need a basic skill set to deal with the people issues that arise every day in a call center.

Make Tough Decisions

A call center manager must sometimes push personal relationships aside and make difficult choices that may be unpopular. Too many managers try to be everyone’s friend, which leaves them unable to make the right decision when needed.

Seek the Common Good

Pursuing what’s best for all stakeholders, from staff to callers to management to investors, means seeking out the best option that provides the most benefit for all constituents. Smart call center managers have an innate ability to navigate this tricky landmine of competing interests and expectations.


The next time you interview someone for a call center management position, keep these key characteristics in mind. Ask open ended questions that will help you determine to what degree these traits are inherent in the applicant. Although they can master these skills over time, it’s much better to find someone who inherently possesses these essential characteristics and then teach them the other skills they need to manage a call center.  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 contactus@callcenter-salespro.com or 800-901-7706.