Qualities of a good supervisor

A top-notch contact center supervisor may be the most important part of delivering an outstanding customer service experience and promoting a high employee retention culture.

But between managing the company’s expectations, leading a team, driving results, and ensuring customer satisfaction, supervisors have a lot to juggle. Additionally, contact center supervisors often face an uphill battle in motivating agents and promoting a culture of retention. In fact, according to one Gallup study, at least 75% of voluntary turnover can be traced to managerial influence.

5 Essential Qualities of a Good Supervisor

While there’s no one-size-fits-all set of criteria for contact center leaders to ensure employee retention and quality of service, FurstPerson research has shown that the longer the tenure of a manager, the lower the turnover rate of his or her team.

So how do you find a supervisor with the skills necessary to do the job, and the personality strengths to handle the challenges of contact center culture for an extended period of time without getting burnt out?

Start by identifying critical qualities and characteristics necessary for success in your specific organization before placing an individual in the role and making sure these characteristics are put to good use. As a useful guide, FurstPerson has identified five essential competencies to look for when hiring supervisors for your contact center.

1. Critical thinking

Critical thinking requires an objective approach to assessing situations and taking action. Critical thinkers are able to make important decisions from a non-emotional standpoint, and possess the emotional intelligence necessary to deal effectively with angry customers, leadership, and their subordinates.

Laci Loew of Brandon Hall Group says that critical thinking is the single most important skill for leaders and managers in all organizations, because the pace of change in today’s business climate is quick, and global expansion is on the rise. Therefore, the need for this skill, especially among supervisors working in difficult, stressful, high-volume conditions allows leaders to respond quickly and strategically to sudden change and new challenges.

2. Decision-making

Instead of dithering or delegating responsibility to others, good leaders take initative and act decisively, quickly arriving at their decisions and effectively communicating their goals to others, says Larina Kase, in Graziadio Business Review.

“Great leaders also know when to move quickly and proceed with the available information, versus when to take more time and gather additional information,” Kase writes. “While a large amount of data may be desirable in a perfect world, the data gathering process can utilize too much time, and the vast amount of data can also be paralyzing and take attention away from the big picture or key data points.”

Good contact center supervisors need to know when to proceed, and when to weigh evidence with intuition.

3. Problem-Solving

At their core, great leaders are great problem-solvers, taking measures to be proactive and resolve conflicts before they arise.

Entrepreneur and Glenn Llopis writes in Forbes that problem-solving is an immensely important characteristic in a good leader, and poses that skilled leaders “have the patience to step back and see the problem at-hand through broadened observation; circular vision. They see around, beneath and beyond the problem itself. They see well-beyond the obvious. The most effective leaders approach problems through a lens of opportunity.”

In an environment dominated by problems from customers, subordinates, and senior leadership, possessing the ability to assess and solve problems is a crucial characteristic.

4. Reasoning

Closely related to problem-solving and decision-making, reasoning requires going beyond the information that’s given to draw conclusions. Contact center work requires dealing with a wide variety of problems that require both verbal and numerical reasoning – i.e., interpreting numerical and interpersonal data and information provided by both technology as well as employees, customers, and leadership. Significantly, research published in the Human Relations journal shows the reasoning level of a leader is clearly linked to group performance.

5. Multi-tasking Ability

FurstPerson’s job analysis research has not only shown that multi-tasking is important, but that it generates a variety of business results. Evaluating multi-tasking ability in both agents and supervisors can help increase early stage retention and improve overall new hire job performance.

Since contact center supervisors are responsible for dealing with customer escalations, answering agent questions, using technology to monitor and track customer interactions, and ensuring service standards are met with satisfying customer resolutions, being able to accomplish all of this effectively requires a high level of multi-tasking aptitude.

Find Supervisors with the Right Mix of Managerial Abilities and Contact Center Skills

Setting contact center agents up for success depends, in large part, on their managers. Talent assessments that identify the core skills of a supervisor make it easier for organizations to find individuals capable of handling both the technical and interpersonal aspects of the role. Although every organization needs a solution that is tailored to its own culture and operating goals, these five characteristics form the basis of any contact center supervisor talent assessment solution.

To learn more about contact center talent assessment tools, download the free case study below.