Call Centre Team Leader definition

Contact Centre or Call Centre Team Leader Definition

A call centre Team Leader (aka Contact Centre Team Leader or Supervisor) is the person directly responsible for managing a team of call centre agents.

Call Centre Team Leaders have the enviable task of trying to improve the performance of each individual employee to help meet the organisation’s goals and complete a range of administration and management tasks.

Oh, and also be product and systems experts.

And take escalations.

Be a counsellor.

Run reports.

Attend meetings.

Manage rosters, sick leave and so on.

How hard could that be?

Common Questions about being a Call Centre Team Leader

Call Centres/Contact Centres come in many different shapes, sizes and flavours – from emergency services (Triple 0), finance, insurance etc and consist of a range of different functions from inbound, outbound, sales, service, enquiries, complaints, telemarketing, telephone account management, service desk and so on.

Regardless of the type of contact centre though, there is one constant – the Call Centre Team Leader.

We’ve captured below a range of FAQs about being a Call Centre Team Leader and included references to industry statistics wherever possible.

How many staff do Call Centre Team Leaders normally manage?

Ratios for Team Leaders to agents are typically between 1:10 to 1:16.

In fact, according to a recent contact centre industry survey that had data on Team Leader: agent ratios, the average contact centre team size is 11.7 agents with 13-15 agents being the most common.

The actual ratio can be influenced by the following:

  • The complexity of the call centre role (more complex roles = fewer direct reports)
  • Duties (refer below where some Team Leaders do everything, and some just focus on coaching)
  • Industry type

One thing that is consistent, both contact centre Team Leaders and agents prefer smaller team sizes.

What are the normal duties of a Call Centre Team Leader?

In nearly every call centre I’ve been to the Team Leaders work dam hard.

In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a role in the call centre that works harder and the most common complaint from contact centre Team Leaders is never having enough time.

Just check out this list:

  • Develop Staff
  • Support Staff
    • Handle escalations
    • Provide answers and guidance to staff
    • Support agents to perform their job
  • Be a Manager
    • Lead and Inspire
    • Communicate company news
    • Facilitate meetings
  • Do Admin
    • Leave approvals
    • Payroll information
    • Rosters
    • Approve transactions
  • Self Development
    • Attend briefings
    • Management training
    • Improve technical skills
  • Other
    • Take overflow calls
    • Help with R&R
    • Organise engagement activities

In some centres, call centre Team Leaders are expected to perform all of the above duties.

Perhaps now you get a feel for why they are possibly the most important people in your call centre!

contact centre team leader training a staff member
Being a contact centre team leader can be an incredibly rewarding (and lucrative!) career.

What KPIs do contact centre Team Leaders have?

Again, it depends on a range of factors and the objectives of the broader business.

For call centres that have a big focus on quality, Team Leaders often have KPIs on the amount of coaching they perform as well as the average quality score across the entire team.

Some centres will have productivity targets with a focus on AHT, Attendance and Adherence which the Team Leader has some influence on.

There can also be targets on NPS, Staff Satisfaction Survey results and more.

Of course, some call centre Team Leaders have no KPIs at all (18% if you read below).

Like any Key Performance Indicators, thought should be put into selecting KPIs that are going to drive the right behaviours in your centre.

Want Team Leaders to focus on coaching for example?

Have a KPI on the minimum hours they need to spend coaching each week.

According to the 2022 Australian Contact Centre Industry Best Practice by Smaart Recruitment, 91% of Team Leaders have KPIs they need to meet with Quality, Average Handling Time, Adherence and productivity metrics all prominent.

Top KPIs for Contact Centre Team Leaders:

  1. Quality and Coaching
  2. Financial
  3. Voice of the Customer (e.g. NPSCSATCES etc.)
  4. Efficiency (e.g. AHTATTACW etc.)
  5. Service Levels  (e.g. GOSASAAbandoned Calls etc.)

Skills Gaps & Job Satisfaction

The latest industry data suggests there is a misalignment between duties that are considered important and the Team Leader’s actual capability.

The top 5 areas Contact Centre Team Leaders felt they needed to improve their capability is:

  1. Reporting and analysis (29%)
  2. Dealing with remote work issues (28%)
  3. Being a subject matter expert (26%)
  4. Quality Assurance (15%)
  5. Coordinating rosters (14%)

Despite this, the majority of Contact Centre Team Leaders find their job very fulfilling (27%) and quite fulfilling (53%).

  • Team Leaders identify coaching and development as their most important duty however 39% of Team Leaders don’t believe they have enough time to execute it.
  • 48% of Team Leaders believe they spend too much time in meetings followed by dealing with personnel issues (28%) and dealing with escalations (28%).

Do Call Centre Team Leaders have to take calls?

Each contact centre seems to have its own rules around the requirements for Team Leaders to take calls so we put it to the industry in the latest benchmarking survey and this was the response:

  • Yes (18%)
  • No (15%)
  • Only once or twice a quarter (16%)
  • Only once or twice a year (7%)
  • Only escalations (45%)

Training and Development for Team Leaders

With most Team Leaders initially starting their careers on the phones, it’s somewhat concerning from an industry perspective that they are often not provided with any training, or very little to help prepare them for success.

Remember that big list of duties at the top of the page?

We ask an awful lot of Team Leaders so it’s critical they receive the help they need to succeed, not just for them, but a poor performing Team Leader can have significant detrimental effects not just on their immediate team, but the culture of the entire contact centre.

And why would you want to risk that?

These stats from the latest industry benchmarking report:

  • 55% of contact centres have no structured and ongoing learning and development program for Team Leaders.

So there is no doubt more needs to be done to equip Contact Centre Team Leaders with the skills they need to succeed.

Whilst there is often some belief that ‘our contact centre is unique’, the reality is that Team Leader skills such as coaching, development, leadership, providing feedback etc. are generic and can be taught (refer to courses at the bottom of this article).

Career Aspirations 

For most call centre team leaders, the step into a Team Leader role can be the start of a successful career either within the contact centre industry or outside of it.

Results from a recent industry survey suggest that 87% of contact centres plan to continue working in the industry.

Career aspirations over the next three years:

  • 40% are keen to advance their career within the contact centre.
  • 25% are keen to advance their career within the same company, but outside of the contact centre.
  • 22% are happy to just focus on being a Team Leader.

What is the role of a Team Leader in BPO?

BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing) are often the starting point for many in the contact centre industry as they typically employ hundreds, if not thousands, of contact centre agents handling calls for a range of different business sectors.

As a result, it’s often the starting point where contact centre agents get their first opportunity with being a Team Leader.

Whilst the duties are consistent with Team Leader roles outside of a BPO, the one notable difference is typically the salary with Team Leaders working in a BPO typically 20-25% below the average.

Average Salaries of a Contact Centre Team Leader in Australia

The last contact centre industry survey in 2023 revealed that the average base salary for a contact centre team leader in Australia is:

  • Customer Service Team Leader – $83,200 + Super + average $8,500 bonus (53% received a bonus)
  • Inbound Sales Team Leader – $80,100 + Super + average $11,400 bonus (60% received a bonus)
  • Outbound Sales Team Leader – $84,700 + Super + average $13,000 bonus (81% received a bonus)
  • Collections Team Leader – $83,900 + Super + average $13,700 bonus (60% received a bonus)
  • Helpdesk Team Leader – $80,900 + Super + average $6,400 bonus (40% received a bonus)

Recruitment for high-quality Team Leaders is a real challenge in Australia, particularly Sales and Helpdesk Team Leaders.

If you are recruiting for these roles, engage a recruitment agency with specific experience in the contact centre industry!

Best way to help and support Team Leaders

Having high-performing Team Leaders is essential for your workplace culture, performance, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and so on, in fact, it’s hard to think of a single KPI that isn’t positively influenced by having great Team Leaders.

So how can you ensure your Team Leaders are receiving the help and support they need?

We might be a little biased here, but you’d be hard-pressed to find better support for them right here at ACXPA!

  • Monthly live member symposiums to hear and learn best practices directly from local and international experts.
  • Private groups just for contact centre team leaders to liaise, vent and engage with other Team Leaders.
  • Support groups to ask questions, and benchmark data.
  • 25% off CX Skills training courses, the best in the business with courses specifically designed for contact centre team leaders and managers!
  • A Members Directory to help them build their professional networks
  • A range of tools they can download to help them succeed.

Key resources and links:

Upcoming ACXPA CX Roundtable - Next Guest Announcement
Upcoming ACXPA Contact Centre Roundtable July 2024 - John Stavrakis

Upcoming ACXPA Member Bites Sessions

Short, sharp interviews and presentations on specific topics to fast-track your knowledge!

The ACXPA Member Bites are only available to ACXPA Members! 

ACXPA Members can watch all the ACXPA Member Bites at any time in their Video Library. Discover which membership is right for you >

Nadine Power, ACXPA National Advisory Board Member

IVR Best Practice

Over 90% of contact centres are using an IVR (Press 1 for this, press 2 for that), and we've encountered many contact centres with over four layers of options for customers to select from. In this session, Nadine will be sharing some best practice tips on IVR design for 2024.

Presented by Nadine Power, Client Success Manager, VERSA Connects (and ACXPA National Advisory Board Member)

More sessions announced soon! 

(If you're interested in speaking at one of our events, click here to learn more >)

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