Managers Share Secrets of Success
CS: If you were training a new contact center manager, what advice would you offer?
Schneider: Be passionate about giving excellent internal and external customer service. … One thing we do that’s very helpful: We shut down our call center for an hour and a half a week, sending calls to Donnelly. During that time, we have a meeting with the reps, and that’s really helpful, because it’s so tough in a call center to be able to get everyone in one room at one time. During the meetings we recognize people’s accomplishments, celebrate them, ask questions, get feedback and provide training.
Ellie Perry, sales and service team leader
Fairytale Brownies, Chandler, Ariz.
Merchandise: gourmet baked goods
Contact center employees: five to 24
Catalog Success: What are your top challenges, and how do you overcome them?
Perry: The biggest challenge for any call center manager is to whom you report: marketing or operations. Even if it’s one or the other, you still have to communicate effectively with the other department. As a manager you have to be an advocate for your call center. If something is wrong, we’re the first ones to hear about it from customers. It’s not always recognized that call centers are profit centers in a catalog company.
The second challenge — and this may be unique to us because we’re part of the marketing team, but we have different functions from the other team members — is communicating the fact that we can’t all go to lunch at the same time. And we have to chip in when needed to work on other projects between taking calls. We’ll proof the catalog and e-mails, and resticker and stuff envelopes going to our gift-giving customers. I think it’s good for the sales and service team, however, to learn other functions of the company besides just the phone.