10 Steps for the Best Call Center Coaching Session
Call center coaching is just like coaching a little league team. A talented kid will master swinging the bat on their own, but a coach can help them perfect the move. Only then can they effectively contribute to their team.
It’s the same with a call center. Reps get the necessary training to complete day-to-day tasks at a certain level. However, they need that extra coaching to truly become incredible agents. And with incredible agents, you can raise the quality of your call center and customer service.
Here’s how you do it.
The Goals of Call Center Coaching
Call center coaching seems like a critiquing session. And in a way, that’s true. Analyzing the performance and weaknesses of the agent is an important part of it. However, there’s a lot more that goes into coaching.
Coaching at a call center is about building trust, motivating better work, and focusing on self-improvement. The three key goals of coaching should always be:
- Improve performance: first and foremost, coaching is a collaborative process of improving the agent’s performance and their relationship with the company.
- Build a better company culture: if reps trust you as a manager, they’ll be happier to work with you. You can earn that trust by exhibiting the same respect you expect of them, especially when it comes to coaching.
- Enhance the quality of the calls: a happy and well-coached agent has the best performance. They’ll hit KPIs and complete sales much more effectively than unmotivated reps.
10 Steps for Successful Coaching at a Call Center
To truly get the most out of your coaching sessions with agents, make sure you follow these steps. Each step will help you establish trust, encourage discussion, and manage expectations within your call center.
1. Praise Publicly But Coach Privately
If someone achieves a perfect score on a quality assurance test, make sure everyone knows. Celebrate that achievement. Give your other reps something to aspire toward. It’s always best to keep things positive.
You should always keep negative feedback off the floor. Since coaching is about the analysis of the performance as a whole, it’s best to keep it on a one-on-one basis. Pull agents aside to a private conference area to give them feedback.
2. Sandwich Negative Feedback with Positive Feedback
Starting a session with negative feedback sets the tone for call center coaching. The sandwich method can help you set the right mindset for this conversation.
Instead of jumping straight into what you want them to improve, start with a compliment. Tell them how well they did. Afterward, you can transition to the areas where the agent needs to improve.
You also don’t want to end the session on a negative note. So, don’t forget to compliment them again or say something uplifting. Sandwiching the negative feedback between two positive mentions can make the agent feel at ease and valued.
3. Be Specific
Always be specific when giving feedback to your reps. If you give them vague or unspecified feedback you won’t help them or motivate them. You’ll only hinder their potential success.
Be ultra-specific, especially when you give negative feedback. Give thorough details. And present your reasoning, so there’s no question in your judgment and authority.
4. Tie Performance to Data
Of course, the best way to be specific is to have data to back your case. And, again, be specific.
“Your average handle time increased this month” doesn’t sound as clear as “Your average handle time increased by 40% this month”. More clarity and specificity are better.
And be sure to give your reps a chance to understand the gravity of their performance data.
5. Have Your Agent Assess Themselves
It’s one thing to listen to someone’s opinion, and it’s another to come to that same conclusion on your own.
Let your agents assess themselves to evaluate their performance. Instead of suggesting issues, prompt them, and listen to their responses. Try to verbally steer them toward understanding their own improvement points. After, you can reinforce their thoughts and ideas.
They’ll understand the issue more thoroughly and trust your advice if you set it up this way. After all, they came up with their assessment themselves.
6. Role Play
If there’s a specific issue that the agent struggles with, try roleplaying it. It’s a playful way to truly get to the root of any problem in call center coaching.
You take the role of customer. Go through what your rep needs to say and how to fix the problems they face. You should also help them practice what they should be working on and give feedback.
7. Discuss Roadblocks
Every job and industry has roadblocks. In a call center, it can be as simple as a broken earphone. Discuss with your agent if there’s anything in the workplace that you can do to make their lives easier.
Whether it’s a new pair of headphones or making the workflow more efficient, you have the power to reduce your agents’ frustrations. Remember, call center coaching isn’t just about improving one agent’s performance. It’s about improving the team’s life as a whole.
8. Redefine KPI Goals
Key performance indicators (KPI) help run your call center. Apart from the KPI standards you already have, every agent should have a personal performance goal as well. A coaching discussion is the perfect time to set that goal.
Sometimes, this goal or personal KPI is broad. You may need to narrow it down or redefine it.
Try breaking it down into smaller, more attainable goals. And understand that not everyone will be a star from day one.
Make sure the goals that you give match the expectations and skill level of the associate while still putting them on a track to meet standards.
9. Understand Expectations
Make sure you communicate your expectations to the agent as the call center coaching session comes to a close. And they should understand the consequences if they don’t meet those expectations.
Call center coaching doesn’t stop when the rep leaves the room. Coaching is an ongoing process that requires tweaking and adjustments. Just like any little league sport.
Monitoring the rep’s performance within an hour of your coaching session can help show you how well they’re implementing your advice. Having someone else listen to these calls can also help you remain objective throughout your assessment.
Call Center Coaching Creates the Right Environment
There are many benefits to call center coaching. For one, it’s a respectful way to enhance performance. But, it also sets the tone for the workplace. If you run your coaching sessions well, you’ll earn the respect and trust you need.
However, if you don’t, you sabotage your own authority in the call center…
If you’re struggling to keep agents motivated, trust a call center to do it for you. At Expivia, we’ve perfected our call center coaching techniques. We love providing agents with unique feedback and hearing their ideas on how to improve.
The results of successful coaching are clear from our numbers and achievements. Reach out to us to talk about how we can help your call center succeed.