6 Pointers for Running an Effective Supervisor Training Program
In consulting with a client recently on improving customer service, the client was concerned that the company’s service didn’t meet its expectations and goals. As we performed the assignment, the most serious problem to surface was that the supervisors were relatively inexperienced and hadn’t managed people very long. The supervisory team included anyone from a first-time supervisor to someone with one year’s experience. Adding to the problem, this call center flexes from 100 seats to 190 seats for six months of the year.
You can ask the obvious question: Why doesn’t this company hire and retain experienced supervisors? But there’s a deeper issue at hand for many businesses. Specifically, how do they train and develop first-line managers in the direct industry? So I posed this question, “How do you train your first-line supervisors to manage your call center and warehouse associates?”
Beyond certain supervisor training topics, such as listening skills, conflict management and resolution, among others, the most important step is to invest in developing a management training program for less experienced supervisors, even if they have prior experience elsewhere.
What company goals and skills in managing others do you want supervisors to be responsible for and hopefully excel at? Here are a few universal questions and goals to consider.
1. Customer is king. What are your standards and expectations for providing the appropriate customer service at a cost you can afford? What are the service level metrics, whether call center or warehouse, you will monitor and expect them to achieve?
2. Shared values. At the very least, it’s getting the supervisor to buy into the mission statement — formal or informal — and what management wants to achieve for the stakeholders. While this can be overdone, what basics do you need to impart to the stakeholders so they understand the big picture and how they fit in? How will you achieve this?