8 Crisis management tips for call center leaders

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

No company is immune to business disasters. Call centers, for instance, are especially prone to certain disasters. A lot of the difficulties they encounter are caused by their reliance on technology. They may experience data loss or security breaches, and these may disrupt their operations. Other issues they may face are natural disasters, public relations blunders, and employee attrition. If not effectively handled, all these can slow down their customer service delivery and even ruin a brand's reputation.

In such instances, your employees would look to the organizations' leaders for guidance. Thus, you should be able to make critical decisions to quell any ensuing chaos. Your priority must be to carry out your customer support operations smoothly despite the internal issues you're experiencing. To help you with this, here are crisis management tips you must keep in mind.

1.   Figure out what's going on.

business executive writing on post it notes on glass wall

When everyone seems to be panicking, it's best to stay calm and assess the situation objectively. This way, you can easily identify the problems and their scope. Gather all the relevant information so you can make informed decisions on how the issue must be handled.

However, you may not always be able to collect all the information you might want to have. In these instances, it's better to ask advice from other managers and key decision makers.

2.   Implement smart strategies.

Strategic thinking boils down to three questions:

•   What are my goals?
•   What resources do I have?
•   How do I use these resources to reach my goals?

This set of questions serve as the cornerstone of an effective crisis management plan. As you devise strategies to solve the issue at hand, focus on the big picture first. Next, examine the details, including its causes and how it affects your customer support delivery. By understanding both the encompassing arc and the specific aspects of the crisis, you can come up with effective solutions.

3.   Be open to new insights.

businessman holding pen listening to meeting

Once you have identified the problems, do consider multiple approaches to solve them. You may believe that your own ideas are the best ones, but there may be plenty of ways to deal with the issue. It pays to listen to others' insights, whether they be from other managers or your call center agents. In fact, collaborating with them and asking for their inputs can help you address the issues even more quickly.

4.   Act promptly and responsibly.

As much as possible, you must be able to make decisions quickly so you can stop the disasters you're going through before they spiral out of control. However, make sure that your strategies are carefully thought out. This way, you can provide a clear direction for your team. Making hasty moves without thinking about them beforehand will only aggravate the situation.

5.   Communicate with your team effectively.

We all tend to avoid difficult situations as much as we can. However, during a business crisis, this can impede problem resolution and make the situation even worse. Hence, you must keep all communication channels open and be prepared to disseminate information to everyone concerned. You may not want to alarm your employees, but it's better explain the situation's true magnitude to them. This way, everyone can make responsible decisions to help manage the issue.

6.   Be decisive and firm.

As their leader, your customer support reps would be relying on you during a business crisis. It's thus important to stick to your decisions once you've made them but be sure that each move is well-deliberated. Showing weaknesses and hesitation can lower your team's morale and thus dampen their will to help resolve the problem.

7.   Be honest to your customers.

When your call center runs into a crisis that directly affects customers, it's crucial that you uphold transparency. Answer customers' questions honestly, but reassure them and let them know that you're doing all you can to keep the situation under control. Be prepare to admit your mistakes, and don't shy away from your responsibility to protect your constituents.

8.   Monitor the situation.

business executive in phone call holding printed reports coworkers in background

Observe the situation closely, and determine whether your solutions are working. Be ready to tweak your crisis management plan, especially if new issues are cropping up. These additional hurdles shouldn't discourage you. A good leader steers his ship in a storm instead of stubbornly following the same course. Thus, you should strive to be adaptable. If your initial strategies fail, keep reworking them until you've built the perfect formula.