11 must-have skills to be an effective call center manager

by Andy Nguyen
Call center manager skills

Call center managers are the backbone of any organization offering customer service. 

Without their leadership and skillsets, it would be impossible to maintain the company’s vision and goals and keep the staff members motivated.

But what are the most important call center manager skills

In this article, we’ll highlight the 11 essential skills and qualities for a  call center manager job. We’ll also cover how to hire the right manager for your company by creating a detailed call center manager job description. 

This article contains: 

(Click on the links below to jump to specific sections) 

Let’s begin!

11 must-have call center manager skills

Here’re the 11 skills and abilities that every call center manager must possess: 

1. Ensure exceptional customer service

Customer service entails offering assistance to every existing and potential customer. 

It includes answering their calls promptly, resolving customer inquiries or complaints, and providing guidance on any issue.

The ultimate purpose of customer service is to build strong relationships with every customer so that they keep coming back to you. 

A manager is directly responsible for overseeing that every call center agent (customer service representative) offers the highest level of customer satisfaction. 

And for that, a manager should be ready to: 

2. Focus on training and development

The call center manager job requires individuals to ensure continuous improvement of workflows and processes. 

For this, they first need to monitor agents’ performance consistently and identify any skill gaps. 

Based on the findings, they can help agents create an individual development plan. It’s a document outlining the knowledge, skills, and abilities an agent needs to inculcate for succeeding in their careers.

Accordingly, they can schedule different training sessions for the call center staff that’ll help them bridge the skill gaps affecting current workflows. They can also offer focused training to each agent for improving their performance and time management

Additionally, call centers may use various software applications to streamline customer interaction. 

So a customer service manager should be able to provide technical training to any call center representative. After all, a manager’s success depends on the whole team working under them. 

3. Create efficient and effective procedures

A call center follows several procedures to ensure that every agent delivers exceptional customer service. 

Essentially, a call center manager must establish procedures that improve the center’s efficiency and help set a good precedent for future employees. 

Here’re some of the deliverables mentioned in the job description of a call center manager: 

  • Define standard operating procedures for call center compliance. 
  • Assist in creating a call center strategy that helps achieve company goals.
  • Establish processes for customer acquisition and retention through inbound and outbound calls. 
  • Conduct performance assessments of the call center staff according to established performance KPIs, processes, and standards.
  • Enforce and document corrective actions on any agent who violates the center’s policies. However, the human resource department should approve such disciplinary procedures. 

4. Excel at workforce management

Workforce management in a call center implies achieving and maintaining operational efficiency by having the right number of agents with the right skills to answer customer calls.

For this reason, workforce management is also a part of the call center manager’s job description. 

So anyone planning to take up a call center job should be ready to: 

  • Manage intraday call center operations.
  • Forecast the volume of incoming calls and staffing needs.
  • Utilize the forecasted data to create call center representative schedules.
  • Set agent targets and KPIs.
  • Assign agents to schedules based on their skills and preferences.
  • Develop and implement necessary changes to meet or exceed service levels.
  • Document, track, and report every customer interaction to the center’s director and quality department. 
  • Facilitate a conducive work environment to create a healthy and competitive workforce.

Moreover, they should be comfortable using workforce management software like Time Doctor.

Time Doctor is one of the most popular employee management software solutions used by major companies, like Verizon and Ericsson, and SMBs, such as Thrive Market. 

Whether they have an on-premise customer service department or need help with remote team management, a call center manager can use this software solution to:

  • Track time spent by an agent on each customer query.
  • Access comprehensive reports to forecast peak call seasons.
  • Track agent attendance and productivity.
  • Plan and keep a tab on their work schedules.
  • Quickly generate payroll by selecting the date range, currencies, payment method, and pay rates for each agent. 

Read more about how Time Doctor features can help call center managers. 

5. Help achieve service levels and sales goals

Service level is the performance measurement of a system or service. In a call or contact center, it’s the measurement of customer service provided over a specific period. 

On the other hand, sales goals are the set of objectives that the customer service team must achieve to make profits for the company. 

Achieving the required service levels and sales goals is part of the call center manager job. 

Here’s how a call center manager can help achieve service levels: 

  • Review and enforce service-level agreements for a client.
  • Help the team generate end-user surveys and solicit inputs from customers. 
  • Help the team attain service levels in terms of quality of customer service, availability of agents for incoming calls, etc. 
  • Promote a productivity-driven environment through recognition programs to help achieve service-level goals. 

Similarly, a call center supervisor can help achieve sales goals by: 

  • Offering work opportunities and mentoring the call center staff to meet and exceed aggressive sales goals.
  • Motivating direct reports to achieve company sales goals through peer competition and individual skill development. 
  • Supervising daily operations of direct reports to ensure that their actions align with the company’s goals.

6. Manage change and conflict

Every call or contact center constantly experiences changes with regards to new tools, processes, leadership, or business goals. 

However, while implementing any change, the role of a manager is to ensure minimal disruption in the call center management so that agents can focus on their customers.

For this, a call center manager should be ready to adopt a strategic approach that involves education, training, performance management, and extensive communication. This can help each agent and team quickly adapt to the evolving work environment. 

Moreover, just like change, conflicts are inevitable in a call or contact center. Whether the conflict is between two call center employees or an agitated customer, a call center supervisor should be able to handle such issues swiftly and ensure positive outcomes. 

7. Demonstrate leadership

A great call center manager should be a self-starter when taking the initiative or staying disciplined at work. They should demonstrate strong core values and know how to elicit these values in other call center representatives as well. 

They should also be ready to lead the call center staff through training, mentoring, and performance management. This way, they can help enforce a positive work culture and establish performance benchmarks for others. 

However, leadership skill isn’t just about supervising people. It’s also about teamwork and investing in their future. This is especially true for call centers due to their high turnover rates. 

A team leader should strive to create a working environment that challenges and inspires every employee. For example, they can recognize and reward top performers, set smaller and SMART goals for individual agents, or help co-workers manage stress. 

8. Have strong communication skills

It’s the manager’s job to clearly communicate business goals, company policies, and procedures to the agents.

Supervisors also need to provide constructive feedback to agents on handling customer calls to offer better customer service. 

To do the above, a call center manager should: 

  • Know their audience and tailor every message according to the situation and the agents they’re dealing with. 
  • Simplify the message to avoid confusing them. 

However, effective communication is a two-way street. This job also requires managers to have good listening skills. They should be willing to hear out employee concerns or suggestions and bring them to the attention of the operations manager. 

9. Be accessible and approachable

A call center is always buzzing with conversations. 

And to keep things going without a glitch, a call center manager may need to personally intervene when: 

  • An agent needs help to deal with an agitated customer. 
  • A new employee needs guidance on using advanced contact center technology.
  • Team members need the manager’s intervention to deal with difficult co-workers. 

Whatever the case may be, an agent should feel comfortable reaching out to the manager and raising their concerns. Managers should also be approachable via calls or emails and make time for a quick one-to-one chat.  

10. Be quick at problem solving

It’s not uncommon to see minor issues at work escalate into massive problems. One day it could be multiple angry customer calls, and next, it could be an issue with the call center software.

Bottom line – no two days are the same. 

The call center supervisor should stay level-headed and be a proactive problem solver to ensure that company operations run smoothly. They should be able to identify problems quickly and come up with unique ways to resolve them before they impact the day-to-day operations.

Moreover, a manager should be willing to train others to become good problem-solvers themselves. This way, agents can handle difficult calls themselves and enjoy an autonomous call center environment. 

11. Demonstrate emotional intelligence

A call center manager should showcase patience and empathy across the team to create a positive and productive work culture. This can better equip managers to deal with agents and customers whose emotions run high. 

Moreover, emotional intelligence is a critical interpersonal skill that reflects the quality of customer experience they can provide and indicates their aptitude for leadership. 


A customer service manager with high emotional intelligence is: 

  • More empathetic towards others and helps reduce tension.
  • Able to connect with customers faster and ensures a better call center experience.
  • Sensitive to employee engagement and agents’ needs.
  • Great at building meaningful relationships with agents and other supervisors.
  • Able to handle customer complaints and internal conflicts.

With empathetic leaders onboard, employers can expect to have more emotionally stable and satisfied employees who are willing to go the extra mile.

Now, you know what qualities and skills to expect from a call center manager. 

But how do you hire leaders with the right call center skills

Let’s find out. 

How to hire the right call center manager

To find the right candidate to lead your agent team, you first need to write a fantastic job description. 

It should describe your company’s objectives, the type of call center metrics you’ll evaluate, and your expectations from a call center supervisor for providing customer support. Such details can significantly impact the kind of call center manager resume you receive for the job. 

Ideally, the call center manager job description should include: 

  • Job Summary: Start by explaining the role of a call center manager. Include what you expect from them, your center’s objectives, and the call center manager skills you require. 
  • Responsibilities: Mention the duties of a call center supervisor in a bulleted format. Be as specific and detailed as possible.
  • Requirements: Detail out the specific management skills you require. This could include all the call center skills covered in this article. You should also add educational requirements, professional certifications, and years of experience you’re looking for.

Not sure where to start? 

Here’re a few call center manager job description templates you can follow:

1. Call Center Manager Job Description Template

2. Outbound Call Center Manager Job Description Template

3. Call Center Operations Manager Job Description Template

Based on the job description, you can continue to draft your call center manager interview questions to assess the shortlisted candidates. 

Moreover, you may not always need to look beyond your organization to find the right call center manager. You can also identify a team leader from your existing agents as they would better understand your company’s culture and needs. 

Wrapping up

The first step in building a thriving call center is hiring an efficient call center employee as the manager.

Successful call center managers can train and develop better agents, reduce churn rates, boost agent productivity, and ensure better customer service.

The set of skills covered in this article can help you hire a team leader who can ensure all of this and more. And once you have the right call center manager onboard, there’s no limit to how far your call center can grow.

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