What are the typical roles in a call centre?
Within a call centre there are common roles – a Centre Manager, Team Leaders and Agents. There are also other functions such as HR, Trainers or Operational Management resource that play a vital role. The size of the centre will determine the number of Team Leaders and additional support roles.
- Call Centre Agent
- Team Leader/Manager/Supervisor
- Centre Manager
- Operational Manager
- Human Resources (HR)
Here is a typical organisation tree for a call centre;
Roles within the call centre;
Call Centre Agent
The role is to make or take telephone calls on behalf of an organisation in order to fulfil customer requirements. The role can be to sell products or services, provide customer service, undertake customer research or increasingly carry out a debt management function. In a contact centre, where customers use other means than just a telephone to contact an organisation, they may also deal with post or email enquiries.
There are different types of Agent and different skills are required for different roles. Many people assume if you are an Agent you can perform any of the roles, but this is often not true! There are typically Agents who handle inbound calls where customers call into the organisation and the Agent answers these calls. There are also outbound calls, where an Agent maybe calling a customer for market research or to sell them something. Typically the type of person you are may impact which of these roles you might perform. Some centres also have Agents who are blended, i.e. they take both incoming and make outgoing calls.
The other main difference is in the type of call that they may handle – it may be for sales or service or debt management or order taking. There are many different combinations. There is a term used to refer to the likelihood that a customer may buy and this is known as cold calling or warm. If a customer contacts you or asks you to contact them, they are more likely to buy so they are known as a warm lead! If you are calling just to try and sell something to a customer who may not have expressed any previous interest this is called cold lead! The colder the lead, the harder the telephone call and the more ‘sales’ skills an Agent will need.
Typically in a call centre Agents who are involved in selling may earn a lower base salary than those who service a client, but they will earn commission, so their overall salary could be much higher if they deliver the results!
Click here for more information on the Call Centre Agent Job Description
This is the person who is responsible for managing a team of agents.
The Team Leader’s role is to ensure individual agents are performing against targets, reviewing their performance and coaching/training them to do so. The Team Leaders will meet on a regular basis with their Manager both to provide feedback but also to receive instructions or actions. The Team Leader is responsible for keeping their agents informed of what is happening in the centre and anything that may impact on the agents. Team Leaders may also get involved in the recruitment of new agents or working on specific projects for the centre.
Call Centre Manager
This is the person who is ultimately responsible for the overall performance and budget of the centre. They will make decisions regarding the people, the process, the technology and the customers that are part of the call centre and the future strategy and development of the centre. The Centre Manager is usually the person who liaises with other departments such as HR and IT, and if it is a sales centre, then typically this will be Sales or Marketing departments.
Depending on the size of the centre, the Centre Manager will have a number of Team Leaders (or Assistant Managers for larger centres) reporting to them. They will be responsible for the recruitment, development and coaching of those who directly report to them.
Head of the Call Centre
The Head of Contact Centre will lead a Contact Centre Operation of various sizes, typically this is a fast paced area of business that is challenging and changing continuously.
Customer Services Director
The Customer Service Director is a key strategic and operational leadership role responsible for the development, continuous improvement and delivery of customer service and the strategic development of operational requirements, process and technology, to deliver key service outcomes for customers in either a B2B or B2C environment.
Digital Contact Director
The role is primarily responsible for succeeding with growth of uptake of digital channels and delivery of customer contact efficiencies across digital service lines, delivered without compromising existing revenue, service and margin position.
This is a support role in larger centres. This person will look after the resource planning and estimating; liaise with the Team Leaders and Centre Manager regarding performance management information and is usually the link with the IT department or technology suppliers. Typically this person is good with statistics and is more technically minded!
Human Resources (HR)
There needs to be a very close relationship between HR and the call centre due to the ongoing people activities such as recruitment and training. Depending on the company, there may be HR resources within the call centre.
Usually HR are responsible for ensuring terms and conditions of employment and job descriptions are all in place, as well as organising recruitment and possibly training for the call centre. They also deal with issues that individuals may have personally or professionally.
Resource Planning Manager
Resource Planning consists of one, or many people who make up the function carrying out the tasks such as Planning the effective utilisation of the workforce, Forecasting, Scheduling, Real-Time and some Resource Planning Managers will also have responsibility for the production and delivery of MI (Management Information).
Some centres have trainers as part of the overall team because of the high volume of induction and ongoing training that is required.
They are responsible for preparing and delivering training to the agents in the centre.
In larger centres, in addition to the Team Leader each team may have a team coach who will provide additional support and technical knowledge to the agents.
This is usually someone who has been a very good agent and has a good way of getting information over and helping someone to improve their performance.
Many thanks to Paul Weald for providing this information.
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