Managers Share Secrets of Success
From setting schedules for supervisory duties, to mystery-shopping overflow call centers, to setting bonus structures for seasonal workers — four catalog and contact center managers reveal how they tackle daily challenges.
Debbye Schneider, contact center manager,
Fire Mountain Gems, Grants Pass, Ore.
Merchandise: jewelry-making supplies to consumers and businesses
Contact center employees: 85 to 104
Overflow/after-hours contact center: Donnelly Communications
Catalog Success: What are your top challenges, and how do you overcome them?
Schneider: We’ve been steadily ramping up for the past five years. My staff of customer service reps has tripled since then. Because of the growth, I have to pay close attention to the staffing needs of the call center, the interviewing, hiring and training processes, all of which can be time-intensive. I have to remain flexible with my own schedule, so I can interview and do some training.
Second, balance is needed in this type of job. We have to train our staffs to look at our mission statements and create a magical shopping experience for our customers. That’s a daily challenge for any call center manager.
A third challenge is working with multiple deadlines in the call center. This is especially true for our supervisory staff. I’ve created a daily schedule for supervisors, so they see in living color what’s to be done hour by hour. The schedule is like a support system for them.
CS: What tasks are listed on the schedule?
Schneider: For example, in our call center, reps who are in a tough situation on the phone are instructed to put up a red flag. Supervisors are scheduled for set blocks of time to roam the call center floor helping those reps who’ve put up flags. This is one way in which the schedule helps keep a good workflow going.
CS: Tell us about your staff recruiting.
Schneider: Our HR team, which does a great job, recruits from colleges and job fairs, places local ads — wherever it can find good candidates. HR does the initial screening of applicants.