Managers Share Secrets of Success
A third challenge is helping team members understand that sometimes we can’t involve them in decisions. We try whenever we can, but sometimes we just can’t. We’re a small company, and we have a group of smart employees. But they can’t always get their way. Sometimes they do have to follow directions.
CS: During your peak season, do you bring back temporary staff from previous years?
Perry: Yes, and we have a bonus structure for seasonal help. They get $100 for each year in which they come back to work for us. We have one coming back this year for the seventh year, so she’ll get $700.
In addition to our sales commission structure and attendance bonuses, team members are well taken care of. We also get referrals. An employee who recommends seasonal help gets $100 if the seasonal worker finishes the season with us.
CS: What one call center accomplishment are you most proud of?
Perry: Developing a cohesive team. I had worked at other call centers before I came here two years ago. When I got here, I defined what would make a perfect team member, what skills that person would need, and then I looked around at the existing staff to see who fit that model. We had to let some people go. But I think having that model helped us to build the really great team we have now. The original team members were not motivated by money, and so the commission incentives weren’t working. But now we have team members who are motivated by that.
CS: What was the most important lesson in call center management that you learned?
Perry: Train your replacement; otherwise you can’t advance in your company if there is no one who can take your position.
CS: Tell me about your overflow/after-hours call center.
Perry: We recently changed. We wanted a call center in which we wouldn’t be a small fish in a big pond, and that had familiarity with catalogs and gifting, including multiple ship-tos and getting catalog source codes.