Your call center agents quit their jobs when they don’t feel like growing in their careers. 32% of employees leave because of a lack of career advancement or promotional opportunities.
Call centers with a coaching culture see an increase in agent retention. They also enjoy an improvement in their effectiveness in building better customer relationships and providing excellent customer service.
However, coaching your agents the right way requires you to follow certain best practices. We’ve come up with ten such points that you need to keep in mind to get the most out of your call center coaching efforts.
1. Ensure agents get coaching at least once every month
A lot can change in a month, especially when it comes to customer handling best practices. Ensure agents get coaching at least once every month, so they keep improving their knowledge and skills.
2. Coach even your best agents
It might seem ok to leave your best agents out of coaching. But it’s not. First, it will make them feel singled-out (or not getting the opportunity to grow). Second, they might miss the chance to further improve their skills. Therefore, coach even your best agents along with other team members.
The best way to get your agents to take your constructive criticism and suggestions into consideration is by starting with positivity. Share things that they have recently improved, or are consistently doing well. This will make them feel valued and increase their chances of being receptive to what comes next.
After sharing the negative feedback, end the session on a positive note by highlighting their strength. This ensures that the agent feels motivated and is ready to improve.
4. Conduct one-on-one coaching sessions
Not all agents feel comfortable discussing their weaknesses in public. As a call center owner or manager, you should keep constructive feedback to a minimum during side-by-side coaching sessions.
Then, conduct one-on-one sessions where you discuss the negatives more discreetly. It will increase their confidence and motivate them to do better.
5. Leverage data to highlight the agent’s performance
Data helps agents better understand how far they are from the target and the magnitude of the issue. For example, saying “your customer satisfaction rate is declining” is less effective than stating, “your customer satisfaction rate has declined 40% this month.”
6. Use examples to help agents better understand your point
When coaching agents, it is essential to provide specific examples that support your feedback. For instance, you can play call recordings and highlight where exactly the conversation went wrong. You can also use other agent’s recordings who master that skill to support your point.
7. Use roleplay to help agents understand the scenario
Roleplay helps agents understand how to handle different customers. Choose a conversation that could have been better and roleplay it. Make the agent the customer and yourself the support representative. Show the agent what he should have done/said in that situation. This will help the agent better analyze and respond to different customer queries.
8. Involve agents in improvement plan creation
Involving agents in the creation of an improvement plan can prove beneficial in the long run. First, it ensures that the goals are attainable (based on agents’ input). Second, it gives agents a good idea about what is expected from them and how they will be evaluated, thereby reducing confusion.
9. Check the agent’s progress towards goals
Coaching is not something you can set-and-forget. It requires continuous monitoring. Before you start the next coaching session, check if the agents are progressing towards their goals, implementing what you suggested the last time, and are heading in the right direction.
10. Identify and remove roadblocks to enhance performance
Apart from identifying an agent’s strengths and weaknesses, you should also determine things affecting their performance. Does the agent feel background noise is too high? Or the expected call handling time is minimal? Discuss the potential roadblocks to enhancing performance and create strategies to remove them.
Call center coaching is not optional. It improves your agents’ performance, customer satisfaction, and helps retain your best employees. Follow the ten call center coaching best practices mentioned above to get the most out of your investment.
Did we miss any important call center coaching best practices? What steps do you follow when coaching your agents? Let us know in the comments.