contact center manager

5 Books to Take Your Supervisor Game to the Next Level

Want to improve your contact center managering? Tilt the odds in your favor with these books written just for you, the contact center supervisor.

Managing a contact center has been described as ‘kinda like spinning plates, only with cats jumping from plate to plate and also the floor is lava’. (Okay, so nobody has described it that way, but we’re going to go ahead and claim credit.)

That’s why books. Books are pretty much indispensable for business success. Just look to any CEO worth their salt and you’ll see they’re frighteningly voracious readers.

So without further, here are our five musts for contact center managers.

Drive – Daniel H Pink

What truly motivates people? Is it, after all, the carrot or the stick?

The answer is kinda neither. See, those are what you – or Pink, really – might call extrinsic motivators: motivators that come at you from outside, like in a game of dodgeball or something.

What you really want is intrinsic motivators: those generated within. If you’re imagining a Zen monk with a nuclear reactor in their belly, we can’t blame you (also dibs on the comic book rights).

Drive delves deep into these ideas and unpacks what it takes to get your people to motivate themselves. Because hey wouldn’t that be great?

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

This truly extraordinary book will tell you more about how your brain works than a lifetime of experience. Written by a chap with a Nobel prize, it draws together extraordinarily well-designed experimental research to tell the tale of two minds.

We think in two distinct ways, which Kahneman dubbs System 1 and System 2. System 1 is our instinctual, pattern-recognition style of thought; it’s fast, low-energy and prone to bias. System 2, on the other hand, is the deep-thinking setup that gets invoked when System 1 can’t figure something out; it’s slower, energy-intensive, but much more sophisticated. System 1 is also capable of learning System 2’s sophistication through habituation.

Kahneman shows how this tandem setups influences our daily lives, and teaches tactics and strategies for dealing with the downsides of our cognitive biases.

Absolutely required reading for everybody – but contact center managers especially will find the book of incredible use, in understanding both their own processes and those of their charges.

Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel – Scott Adams

As you might expect, this book is heavy on the lollos, but it packs mega punch. Adams makes the case that most people exist in what he calls the Weasel Zone: an area that stops short of blatant bastardness and couches itself in half-truths and obfuscation. It’s the place where passive aggression, gaslighting and the male bumbler live – subterranean misbehaviour that makes itself hard to call out.

Delving into office life (along with other areas), Adams details Weasel Zone tactics along with how to counter them. It’s enlightening reading, and it can offer managers a refreshing perspective, along with a checklist of things not to do if they value their staff.

It’s also funny as hell, as you might expect from the writer of Dilbert.

Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh

Anybody who wonders how Zappos got to making in excess of a billion DeNiros a year will want to read this book. It’s a crash course on how to turn your company into a superorganism by cherishing the living blazes out of your crew.

For examps, from the get-go Zappos put a seriously major emphasis on developing an incredible company culture. As in, company culture is Zappos’ top priority. Because it’s like we’ve said before – you can’t have happy customers without happy employees. It’s pretty simple, and yet it’s a stance weirdly absent from most companies.

Delivering Happiness provides a completely different take on corporate success, and it’s immensely important reading for any contact center manager who wants to give their company the most meaningful edge possible.

X: The Experience When Business Meets Design – Brian Solis

Here’s how the blurbage on this book starts: ‘Without defining experiences, brands will become victim to whatever people feel and share.’

That’s some wise wisdoms right there, and if you’re gunning to get a handle on the whole CX thing you can expect a deep-dive well worth your while. And it’s well worth getting a handle on – as Solis argues, you need more than an incredible product to be competitive these days.

What we love about X is how it embodies the principles it discusses – they’re infused into the very pages of the book. It’s an excellent foray into the idea of empathy-first business for everybody who wants to be in control of how their customers experience their offering.

Bonus tip

We’ve got a library of great books here at Starship Zailab, with everything from coding tomes to works on design and leadership. It’s a fantastic resource that a lot of our crew use to level up their skills, not just contact center managers.

If your operation doesn’t already have one, we’d really recommend it. Put the books listed here in that library for extra points – it’ll give your people insight into your thinking processes and show them you trust them / have, you know, a sense of humour.

PS: If you love lists, check out our blog of five ways to have more rewarding conversations with your customers.