Where Call Center Managers Go Wrong on the Road to Excellence

Posted: 07/31/2011
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Steve Riddell, like most customer management executives, philosophically recognizes the role talent development plays in transforming the contact center from a cost function to a profit one.

But as far as execution goes, Riddell, the chief operations officer for Blinds.com, believes a fundamental management strategy is lacking from many contact centers.

"Most call centers, if you ask [them] whether they coach, they’ll always tell you they do," explains Riddell in a video interview with Call Center IQ. "The problem is when you really look beneath the surface, 80-90% of their time is spent managing."

For Riddell, the distinction is simple. ‘Managing’ involves "talking with people about process, procedures and quality assurance." Coaching, however, is about one thing—what a person does to develop some level of skill with another person."

The Call Center Week award winner explains that managers tend to inundate agents details on processes and procedures, overlooking the fact that skill development is what truly drives performance.

In this exclusive video, Riddell details his four-part competency matrix, explaining how a proper coaching strategy can take someone with essentially no experience and turn him into a valuable voice of the customer support function. Along the way, the pitfalls of simply "managing" are made clear.

Riddell also takes a specific contact center technology to task, noting how it has been somewhat inefficient in achieving its ultimate goals—performing as a "sales tool" and/or "lead generation device."

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