The Essential Role of Today’s Front Line Managers

Rewind the clock about ten years, and you’d find top level managers in many organizations, along with most industry pundits, predicting that front line managers (a.k.a. supervisors) would become less important in contact centers, and that their numbers would begin to dwindle. The usual rationale, couched in discussions of flattened hierarchies and team-oriented structures, was that because agents and teams were becoming more empowered, the need for supervisors would decline.

And yet studies from ICMI and others suggest there are more supervisors today – proportionally and in real numbers – than ever. With today’s developments – shutterstock_19854049 superemerging channels, proliferation of social media, the competitive importance of customer relationships, and the wide range of generations our customers represent – supervisors have become increasingly important to the contact center’s success. But it is a role that is much more about communication, coordination and development than any industrial-era vestiges of command and control.

Assessing what has transpired requires thinking through some cross-currents. For example, there is an increasingly diverse scope of organizational structures, responsibilities and definitions in use. In addition to supervisors, many larger contact centers also have…Read more.