One of the many benefits of working in a contact centre is excellent learning and development opportunities and rapid career progression. A popular career path that contact centre agents can go down is as a contact centre team leader – someone who is responsible for helping the team maintain the organisation’s visions and goals. A successful team leader will shape expert agents who can provide a perfect experience for their customers. But how do they do this? What makes a great team leader?

A great team leader in a contact centre has:

  1. Excellent customer service skills.
  2. The ability to train others.
  3. The ability to inspire and motivate others.
  4. Empathy and patience.

1. Excellent Customer Service Skills

It goes without saying but, regardless of what role you’re in in a contact centre, you need to have impeccable customer service skills and a real passion for providing excellent customer experiences. You should have developed this in your time as an agent, or in another customer-facing role prior to your time at a contact centre. 

This is important as, even though you’ll spend less time on the phones, you will need to lead your agents and show them how to best respond to customer queries and complaints. As I am sure lots of us with younger siblings heard growing up: you should lead by example.

You will also have to monitor your team and ensure these high service levels are met on a regular basis. After all, good customer service is what keeps your customers around!

Speed of response (89%), speed of resolution (89%), and friendliness of representative (82%) are seen as the most important aspects of the customer service experience, regardless of channel. (Zendesk)

Keep in mind that you’ll also have to keep your customer service skills fresh to deal with escalated customer calls and other internal communication. Fortunate for you, it’s a bit like riding a bike – you never forget how to deliver that excellent service and impeccable phone manner you worked so hard to perfect.

2. The Ability to Train Others

In order for your team to give well-informed and expert advice, you need to train up well-informed and expert agents. Great training will equip agents with the knowledge and skills that they need to meet high performance standards and exceed set targets.

But that’s not all… one in five employees are at risk of burnout due to low employee and leadership engagement, but effective training can prevent this! If you can equip your team with the tools and information to complete the job to a high standard, and continue to support them to meet realistic goals off the back of this, you will shape a happier and more engaged team.

Remember to make yourself available after the initial training period too. A poor team leader will shut themselves in their office with a pot of coffee and have minimal communication with their team. A great team leader will be around to offer more advice and guidance on the floor – even after the initial training period is over. A great team leader will ensure their team is striving for greatness six, eight, twelve months (or years!) after. A great team leader will encourage their agents to expand their skillset and progress in their own careers – even to also be team leaders in the future.

3. The Ability to Inspire and Motivate Others

Your managers will expect you to inspire and motivate your agents – driving them to always deliver the highest standard of customer service and preventing costly mistakes as a result.

Part of this does come back down to effective training and support, but it’s also about taking the time to appreciate your employees. 79% of employees quit their jobs due to a lack of appreciation but, if you motivate your team and celebrate their successes, your employee turnover will be much slower.

Great Team Leader in a Contact Centre

We’re all in this together! A great team leader will make everyone feel like part of the company’s wider vision and goals – their successes are your successes.

Contact centres are also notorious for having excellent benefits to ensure their staff are looked after and happier, and celebrated and rewarded as a result of their hard work. If this is lacking in your centre or team, consider updating or introducing an employee wellbeing programme – join the 3/4 of UK employers that have changed their approach to employee wellbeing after the pandemic. 

4. Empathy and Patience

Last, but certainly not least, you will need to demonstrate empathy and patience. Empathy is essential in customer service because it allows you to connect with customers faster –  “a lack of empathy would make understanding the customer’s situation difficult, making the conversation robotic,” Marina Vaamonda argues. “The result would mean a lower customer satisfaction rating since the customer feels like representatives can’t fully understand their problem.”

This is just as important for your employees. Recognise that not everyone will always be on their top form – including yourself – and might require that little bit more time and patience to mentor. Show that you care about their progression and motivation regardless, and that you’re there to support and listen to them. This links in to the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion: organisations that are ethnically and culturally diverse are more likely to be profitable, and 69% of Millennials and Gen Z would stay with a diverse employer for over five years. Treat all of your team with the same respect and care, and you, your team, and your company will benefit from it.

Overall, this will build a strong and positive atmosphere, that can have a huge impact on staff performance, productivity, morale and your staff retention rates – making you an excellent team leader.

Think You’ve Got What It Takes?

Are you yet to be a team leader but are keen to get started? Or are you a current team leader looking to improve your skills in a new role? Great! Head over to our job search to find your perfect contact centre team leader job. We are dedicated recruitment specialists who match up the best contact centres in Wales with the talent they need to build stronger teams – so you can rest assured that we will find you the perfect fit.

For more career advice, including how to nail your contact centre interview, check out our previous blog posts.

Written by Sarah Hopkins.