My Role as Head of Operations at iContact
“I am the type of leader that encourages idea sharing and employee participation. I want staff to feel like they are part of the bigger picture – that their ideas and suggestions matter! This empowers us ALL to grow the company”. Lebo Koloi shares some of the triumphs and challenges he faces and what it means to truly take on a leadership role in a successful call centre…
THE RIGHT QUALITIES FOR CALL CENTRE LEADERSHIP
I am involved in every aspect of the working environment at all times to ensure its success. I believe the following skill-set is required to fulfil my role as the Head of Operations at iContact: Multitasking, good communication skills, process-oriented, an analytical mindset, an eye for quality and the ability to work under pressure.
These qualities will stand you in good stead when collaborating with senior management to formulate strategy and design policies that are aligned with the overall strategy. One needs to also be able to implement efficient processes and standards, while also managing sales and customer service operations and find ways to ensure customer retention. Mentoring and motivating teams to achieve productivity and engagement goes without saying, and needs to happen on a daily basis.
iCONTACT ETHOS & ENVIRONMENT AND WHAT THE CALL CENTRE OFFERS
At iContact our work ethos is about being fully devoted to your work and driving the objective of the company. The family-centric culture encourages employee engagement – I am a true believer that companies with engaged employees outperform those without. The key focus at iContact is ensuring team spirit and true buy-in by employees to the company culture. This rolls over and results in loyal, committed and responsible team players who go to the furthest efforts to achieve what is expected of them.
In terms of what iContact can offer business owners: BPO is emerging rapidly as a powerful business tool. Leaders are using it to achieve a broad range of strategic aims which has proven to be quite beneficial to companies. The principal benefit of BPO is that it promotes the increase of a business’ adaptability. We offer highly tailored services to businesses anywhere in the world, a significant cost saving benefit, world class infrastructure and a 24 hour 365 operation. In addition, iContact is a large-scale, owner run operation that can provide specialised agents with specific skill sets. Agents are trained and coached to meet stringent requirements. Our service offering is backed by bespoke software systems and the latest technology.
A TYPICAL DAY AS HEAD OF OPERATIONS
I am currently managing 3 campaigns with approximately 180 agents, and growing! My typical day includes day-to-day running of campaigns, ensuring maximum productivity at all times. I conduct one-on-one sessions with team members, to discuss campaign progress and strategy for the day and week ahead. My open door policy serves as a platform to air, understand and address any challenges that crop up.
My job is also to establish and maintain effective internal controls in order to minimize any risks in the contact centre. Client management is a critical part of my day as without happy clients, we would not have a business. There are governance structures in place with our clients to discuss anything from performance to commercials. I report directly to the Managing Director of iContact, Clinton Cohen. We are aligned in terms of strategy and driving in the same direction to ensure meeting the objectives of the company.
MANAGEMENT STYLE & MEASURING SUCCESS
My management style is a consultative, consensus, participative and collaborative one – also known as the Democratic Management Style. I am the type of leader that encourages idea sharing and employee participation. I want staff to feel like they are part of the bigger picture – that their ideas and suggestions matter! This empowers us ALL to grow the company.
My measures of success include bottom-line savings and revenue growth, productivity as well as staff retention, ensuring happy staff and good working conditions.
CHALLENGES, TRUIMPHS AND THE BALANCING ACT OF KEEPING CLIENTS SATISFIED & AGENTS MOTIVATED
I believe that engaged and motivated employees create happy clients. I make sure that management is always engaged with staff – listening to them and reassuring them that they have a voice to create a healthy work environment. When agents are happy, they perform at a higher level, providing world class service to customers, which means happy clients. In our business, providing quality campaigns to ensure satisfied clients is of utmost importance!
I stepped into my role as Head of Operations only four months ago and jumped straight in, quickly implementing changes wherever I saw necessary. My biggest challenge was in realizing that people are not entirely happy with a new leader at the helm, as they are stuck in the old way of doing things. I have implemented changes, which in the long run will ensure a very profitable business. The attitudes are slowly changing with majority of staff now accustomed to the new way of doing things. My biggest achievement in the past four months has been turning one campaign into making the biggest profit since its inception 2 years ago by 21%.
A PERSONAL WINNING FORMULA FOR JOB SATISFACTION AND SUCCESS
Managing risk so as not to become risk-averse is key. Also, continually keeping ahead of industry trends if I wish to deliver a service which is consistent and sustainable. Allow for mistakes because operations will sometimes make them, as will I, and those in my team. You can never always get it right, and sometimes mistakes are good because you learn from them. Just don’t dwell on mistakes, learn from them and then move right along!
I strongly believe that people are different, so treat them differently – In my years of managing people, I have seen people reacting to stress, new goals set, changes and even training in different ways. To get the best out of your staff, find out about them – what makes each of them tick and what type of personalities they have.
The goal I have set for myself is very simple – to ensure that iContact competes with the largest industry players in Africa. In order to do that I have to be consistent in delivering my best.
Looking for the BEST quality all-round call centre?
Why Choose iContact
It’s no wonder Business Process Outsourcing is a growing business trend. By employing a BPO service provider to take care of non-core business processes, an organisation is able to focus on their core competencies and goals.
iContact is a specialised BPO operation based in South Africa that can offer highly tailored services to businesses anywhere in the world.
We are a large-scale, owner-run operation that can provide specialised agents with specific skill sets. We train and coach our agents to meet your stringent requirements. Our service offering is backed by our bespoke software system and the latest technology.
iContact provides customer care, technical support, customer acquisition, analytics, and a range of other BPO/S services.
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