Watch: Boost your career within Customer Service & Call Centre

Show Notes

Georgia Irvine is a Customer Service & Call Centre Recruiter at Tribe Recruitment. She has great insight into the industry trends about what employers are looking for. She’s got some great tips about how to get placed in the contact center manager role you’re wanting.

Top 3 Tips:

  1. Employers of call center managers still look for strong people leaders, above anything else. In other words, people who can build a strong culture, be an advocate for their contact centre or customer service team and develop and nurture relationships across the wider business (09:46).

  2. Look at the strengths, experience, and competencies outlined in the description of the role you’re wanting to land, and come up with examples of your achievements which tie in with these (10:56).

  3. Take the time to think about where you want your career to go, and what role you want to have in the future. That way, in your job search and discussions with agencies, you’ll be much more likely to find the role which is right for you (13:02).

You’ll Learn:

  • The shift that’s happened mainly in the last 12 months, which has split contact centre manager roles into 2 categories. You’ll discover what these categories are, and what to do so you’re able to get the role that’s best for you (01:43).

  • The skill sets employers are now looking for in the contact center managers they hire (03:37).

  • The new KPIs and metrics which employers are now wanting their contact centre manager hires to improve, so you can be a step ahead of your competition (07:11).

Connect with Georgia on LinkedIn.

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Blair Stevenson (00:00)
Welcome. This is the Secrets to Contact Center Success podcast, connecting you with the latest and greatest tips from the best and brightest minds in the industry.

I am Blair Stevenson, and I am the founder of BravaTrak. The High-Performance Coaching System for Contact Centers. It helps you to hit your targets, without burning people out. Guaranteed to increase your centres' performance by at least 11% within six months, or it's completely free.

Today, I'm really excited to be joined by Georgia Irvine, who is a consultant for customer service and call center recruitment at Tribe Recruitment. And today, Georgia has several career enhancing tips for contact center managers, and those of you who are wanting to step up to a contact center manager role.

So, welcome Georgia. It's great to have you here. Perhaps as a good starting point for our listeners, tell us a bit about your expertise and your background.

Georgia Irvine (01:00)
So my first job after finishing university was actually as an inbound contact centre agent. I was fortunate enough to soon be given an opportunity in contact centre recruitment, and I've never looked back since.

I've been with Tribe since the first lockdown last April, and our team specifically recruits in customer service and contact centers across New Zealand.

Blair Stevenson (01:27)
Nice. So, what I'm curious about - and it's great that you've kind of had that hands-on contact center experience as well as that recruitment experience - what do you notice about how the role of the contact center manager has changed over time?

Georgia Irvine (01:43)
Yeah, good question. So what we have found, and particularly in the last 12 months, is that contact centre manager roles have been somewhat split into two separate buckets.

So one is the more operational and people and performance as well as performance management focused. And the other side of that is the contact centre manager role that's centered around technology, change management and customer experience strategy.

So I guess what this means for employability is now that there are two different types of contact centre manager skillsets and experiences, which we're having to look for in the market, based on mandate for the role.

Yeah. So, I mean, for example, we might be looking for someone who has both experience in and a passion for the people and performance and the culture side, as well as the day-to-day operations of the contact center.

But then on the other hand, the mandate might be to find an individual who's passionate about reviewing contact centre technology out of the wider customer experience journey, and implementing processes and change around this.

So yeah, I guess for contact center managers out there who are looking for a new role, this probably means that you would need to think about which direction you want your career to go in the long term - as well as establishing which type of role you'd want to be in, in the coming years - and focus on these two buckets in terms of that operational versus technology and change.

Blair Stevenson (03:21)
Yeah. Yeah. Interesting how that kind of split is occurring. So I guess as kind of a follow on question there, I'm just curious about what changes have you noticed in terms of what future employers are looking for in contact centre managers?

Georgia Irvine (03:37)
Yeah, definitely. So what we've noticed is future employers are definitely looking for contact centre managers to be involved in digital projects, and process improvement and even customer experience blueprinting. Whereas traditionally, the role of the contact center manager would have likely been more focused on the day-to-day contact center, operations and numbers.

And I guess particularly in the last 12 months, we've seen that employers do tend to have very clear mandates, or quite aggressive goals, for their business, and also within what they want to achieve for their customer experience.

So this obviously has a really direct impact on the type of contact center manager they're employing. Also, as with other roles, personality fit is always going to be a big driver. That definitely hasn't changed.

But I have noticed that there is a really big focus on the dynamic of the customer service team they'd be managing, and what type of personality will be the best leader for them. That really seems to be driving choices in that space at the moment.

Blair Stevenson (04:49)
Yeah. So you're really talking about cultural fit there.

Georgia Irvine (04:51)
Yes, yes, definitely.

Blair Stevenson (04:43)
Yeah. It's very clear that customer experience is just such an important issue, but one of the things you have highlighted is how important technology is. One of the things that strikes me is that technology is rapidly changing. How does that impact those people who are seeking out new opportunities as contact centre managers?

Georgia Irvine (05:22)
Yeah. Well, with the rapid change in technology that's still ongoing, we've definitely noticed an increase in demand for individuals who have experience with reviewing and implementing CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems), as well as maybe reviewing telephony systems.

But I guess with that there is a demand for contact center managers to review current customer channels, you know, whether they're using live chat or not? Do they have access to a chat bot? Are they using social media as part of their customer service processes? And to implement protocol and even KPIs around that.

And I guess this actually does expand to other processes in certain industries particularly noticing this in FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) or maybe product based environments where contact centre managers do end up also being tasked with improving other systems that might affect the customer service teams.

Like these could be invoicing and sales reporting processes, which traditionally a contact center manager might not have had much visibility over. But because of the way this has such a knock-on effect with how the customer service team performs and operates, we're seeing that contact centre managers are being tasked with reviewing these processes. Instead of just the accounts teams or just the sales teams.

Blair Stevenson (06:47)
Right, right. Interesting stuff. So let's circle back to customer experience - because you talked about chat for example - and that whole customer experience piece is clearly having an impact on how centers engage with their customers. So what does that mean for contact centre managers looking for future employment?

Georgia Irvine (07:11)
Totally. So it means there is a higher demand for contact centre managers to look at how they engage with customers, and have engaged with customers in previous roles.

So from future employment perspective, we're often looking for contact centre managers who might've had exposure in leading an environment where their agents engage with customers via chat, or are cross-trained email and phone, or have social media replying to customers that might comment on a business's Facebook, as part of this. As opposed to just managing a pure phone-based team.

In addition to this, employers also tend to look for the contact centre managers to establish new KPIs, which might not just be solely focused on traditional call center metrics.

So where you would have seen things like average handling time, or volume of calls answered, or abandonment rate, or hold times really heavily weighted, metrics around Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer retention are growing in importance. And especially because these are often key measurables for the wider business, which ties back into customer experience.

Blair Stevenson (08:30)
Yeah, totally, totally. And in my work, I'm seeing much, much greater focus on Net Promoter Score in particular. And certainly, over COVID times, that whole customer retention piece has really become super important.

Georgia Irvine (08:48)
Yes, totally. And I guess for a business as well, a lot of businesses measure their customer experience on the business NPS (Net Promoter Score), but it's often the contact centre teams who influence this. So it has to be weighted much more heavily than it was because of this, right?

Blair Stevenson (09:03)
Yeah. So what I'm hearing from you is - and seeing myself - as ever-growing complexity in that contact centre manager role. You know, shifting from phone only, to phone and email, to phone, email and chat. And for some inbound centers I'm seeing a move to some outbound stuff. Particularly around that customer retention piece.

Georgia Irvine (09:30)
Yeah, totally.

Blair Stevenson (09:32)
Yeah. So what I'm curious about, just as a wrap-up, Georgia, what were your top three tips, if you will, for people wanting to maximize their employability as a contact center manager.

Georgia Irvine (09:46)
Yeah. Great question. Yeah.

Tip 1

Well, I mean the first tip would be ... so even though the technology is at the forefront of everything we do these days, employers of contact centre managers still look for strong people leaders, above anything else.

So that's people who can build on culture, people who can be an advocate for their contact centre or customer service team, and people who can develop and nurture relationships across the wider business.

That seems to be a really strong requirement and is often weighted more heavily than the technology piece, depending on the role.

So in terms of a tip, I would, even if the role you're going for is very tech and change-driven, I would still talk about demonstrating the impact on culture that you've had or relationships across the wider business that you've developed, and how that's positively impacted your team. Just because that is always going to be a key decision-maker when employing a contact centre manager.

Blair Stevenson (10:49)
Yeah. That's a great tip. Because leadership and the ability to coach well is critical, critical.

Georgia Irvine (10:56)
Yep, 100%.

Tip 2

By way of the second tip, I think it's also very important to be able to demonstrate achievements in your previous contact centre manager role, which is easier said than done sometimes when it comes down to it.

But I guess this ties into what I said earlier about employers hiring contact centre managers, where they have a really clear mandate or goal for the new contact centre manager to achieve.

So by way of tips, I would make sure your CV highlights relevant achievements. Again, which seems simple, but sometimes is easier said than done.

And another tip around, I mean, same tip but a sub-tip, would be as you read through job descriptions or job ads, think of examples to demonstrate your strengths and experience and the competencies they've outlined. So it's just a really easy way to tailor your achievements to the role you're going for.

And I think with that understanding where you can add value, and demonstrating how you've done in previous roles, is probably the overarching message with that.

Blair Stevenson (12:09)
Yeah. Cool. So, I mean, obviously, that's important for current CCMs (Contact Centre Managers) who are looking for another centre manager role. Equally true, I imagine, for team leaders who are looking to step up.

Georgia Irvine (12:25)
Yep, totally. I've actually had a very recent experience with that situation.

And what stood out about that team leader is she was able to demonstrate where her limits were and be transparent, but she was also able to demonstrate her competencies and tie that into a contact center manager role really, really well. And outlined where she could add value that others might not be able to, which would have come from a centre manager role. So that's really, really true.

Blair Stevenson (12:59)
Fantastic. Fantastic. And tip number three?

Georgia Irvine (13:02)
Tip number 3!

Tip 3

I guess lastly, as mentioned earlier, I think it's really, really important to emphasize that taking the time to think about where you do want your career to go - and what type of role you want to be in, in the future - is really, really important. I mean your job search is about you, right?

So have a think 'is this a role, which focuses on people and performance, or is it strategy and technology, and does this interest me?'

And I think understanding what drives you as a contact center manager, and what fills your cup from a goals and mandate perspective, and then building this into your job search and discussions with agencies, is going to be the best way to make sure that you're finding the right role for you, but also that you're successful in going for the roles that you do really want.

Blair Stevenson (13:55)
Brilliant, brilliant, fantastic, great tips, Georgia. Thank you. Thank you very much. So that's all we have time for today.

So Georgia, huge thanks to you for coming on the show. You've given several very useful career-enhancing insights for both current contact centre managers, and future contact centre managers.

Now for listeners, you'll find the link to the show notes in the episode description below. And if you'd like to connect with Georgia on LinkedIn, you'll also find a link to her LinkedIn profile in that description as well.

Now, if you've tuned in today, looking for a way to hit your targets - without burning your people out - have I got an offer for you! You're welcome to a free copy of my book - Game On, How to Increase Sales, Productivity and Customer Experience by Turning Your Managers Into High-Performance Coaches.

The link to that offer is also in the episode description below (Bravatrak Game on Book).


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