It's not an easy job, managing a room with potentially hundreds of people in it. How do you help them to be productive?
One of the best ways is by managing the mood of the place.
Here are five pointers that I've developed over the years:
(1) Identify your center's "opinion leaders." These are usually folks in the rank and file who have no formal power, but lots of the informal kind. Perhaps nothing you can see makes them leaders, and you might never consider them for management, but a simple fact remains. They have followers--that's what makes them leaders.
When you have group meetings and you mention a change in procedure, observe who receives the glances from his or her peers. If they're looking to see how Jim is responding to you, he might be one of the top dogs.
Keep a close eye on these folks, and make sure they're on the same page with you. Do this by informing them about upcoming changes, first. Ask for their support, but don't ever reveal that you have pegged them as being informal leaders.
(2) Patrol your center on a regular basis. Wear a smile. Say "nice to see you," and ask how people how they are doing. It's like being a politician who is working a crowd. It's part of your job, and your obvious conviviality keeps the tone light and positive.
(3) Give the group daily goals for hitting sales targets or handling large call volumes. Announce how they're doing at crucial times. "Hey, it's two o'clock and we're on target; keep it up!"
(4) Recognize individuals in a big enough voice for them and at least a dozen others around them to hear. "Mary got another sale. Great job, Mary! Keep it up!" She'll appreciate the praise, even if she tries to show modesty, and others will feel the heat turned up a notch or two beneath them.
(5) Remove sourpusses from the room, quietly, and quickly. Have a brief pep talk with them. Make sure they're energized before mainstreaming them again.
You may not see it in your position description, but if you manage a call center, it's your duty to keep it positive. Try these five things, and tell me how you do!