Call Center Agent and Bad Leadership

By admin | Call Center Agent

How Do You Take a top performing call center agent, that is fully engaged and achieving their goals, and destroy all of that?

It’s hard to do but I see call center managers do it all of the time. And you have to ask the question, is it that important to be right?

Sometimes it is just better to step back and look at the big picture.  #callcenter

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In this article I want to share a short story of “I’m in control” management that actually hurts call center supervisors and managers, when they engage in this type of call center leadership (or lack of.)​

How To Turn a Top Performing Call Center Agent Into a Low Performing One

Obviously this is not the goal!

But it happens all to often. Here’s what happened to one of the managers at a prestigious contact center, make sure you share this article so others don’t make the same mistake.

Background:

The call center agent is one of their top performers. He hits all of his goals and he often exceeds them. He basically sets the bar.

He is never late to work and I think he has had perfect attendance.

Until…

Situation:

So apparently he was quite the athlete and now has knee problems.

Over the weekend he injured his knee and called his direct manager letting him know that he was unable to walk and therefore wouldn’t be able to make it to work. In addition, he wasn’t sure how many days he would be sidelined for.

His direct manager, was truly concerned for him and let him know this. Which was smart and reassuring to the employee.

It was unclear as to when the employee would be able to make it back into work, so the call center agent and the manager basically kept it open as to when he would make it back.

The agent went to the doctor and discovered that it wasn’t as bad as originally thought so they gave him a cortisone shot. It would be a few days before the cortisone would kick in.

To make a long story short, there was confusion on both the managers, and the employees part, as to when he would be back.

Saturday rolls around and the employee was on the schedule for that day, but did not show up because he believed he was off the schedule for the remainder of the week. Saturday was the last day for that week.

Here’s Where The Story Goes Bad for the Call Center Agent

Call Center agent

The director gets involved and calls the employee, and I guess he called his manager too. Because shortly after that the manager calls the employee.

The employee calls the manager back and they agree that it was a miscommunication on both parties and they discuss when the employee will make it back in.

Here’s where it gets interesting…

When the call center agent returns to work, the manager writes him up for No-Call, No Show. The employee is dumbfounded and writes a rebuttal to the write-up.

The director pulls the employee aside (while on the call floor BTW) and basically discusses it with him. The employee challenges the director and does not accept the discussion points that the Call Center Director makes.

But ultimately it is clear that the manager wrote up the employee because the director wanted him to.

The Call Center Director, does not like the push-back and takes it out on the employee over the course of the next couple of days.

In the meantime, the call center agent hasn’t meet his goals and is completely dis-engaged.

Several days later the employee submits his two-week notice and leaves.

The Moral To This Story for Call Center Leaders

There are numerous mistakes made by the leadership team with this situation.

  • Director was more concerned with his power and control over this situation than with the big picture. The director cut off his nose to spite his face;​
  • The manager should have stood up for his employee and taken ownership of the situation;
  • Leadership is suppose to set both tactical and strategic direction, the director should have stepped back and given his manager the final decision over the write-up;
  • Employee engagement is key to achieving goals, therefore it is the job of the leadership team to create an environment to increase engagement.

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Here’s a better solution...

Simply have a quick discussion with the employee letting them know that there was some confusion over the scheduling. Do it in a manner that is not accusatory. And that is that. Nothing further has to be said.

And here’s why.

The employee is a strong producer, therefore the call center agent holds himself accountable. He would have been concerned over this matter and would make sure next time that communication was clearer.

Instead, this center lost an outstanding employee. Goals are being missed.

Sometimes it is just better to step back and look at the big picture.

Tell me what you thought about this story, would you have done anything differently? Leave me a comment or share it. Others will be thankful.

To Your Success,

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About the Author

Greg is a seasoned Customer Experience and Call Center Efficiency Senior Consultant that has had an impact in the industry for the past 20+ years.  He has developed products to help Call Center Leaders improve performance.  If you want to motivate your teams to consistently achieve goals then Call Center Games is for you.  If you want to increase employee engagement and hit amazing milestones in your call center then PRIDE Teams is for you.  You can always visit our Call Center Resources to learn more about tools that will help you become a rockstar!

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