7 Best Practices for Coaching Contact Center Agents
So you've hired a great team of agents. Initial onboarding activities went well. Your agents are making and taking calls, and business is good.
But business (and agents) can always get better--and coaching your agents is one of the most cost-effective ways you can help. Be a good coach and everyone will thank you--from your agents to those folks in the boardroom.
It's important to remember, coaching is different from training (or re-training). It's about helping agents apply skills and knowledge they already have in their bag of tricks.
Here are 7 tips to consider when looking to improve your agent coaching strategy:
1. Try to relate everything in your coaching session to specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related (SMART) goals. (Of course, those goals tie directly to your organization's mission, right?) This kind of grounded coaching gives it purpose and makes it measurable. 2. Don't focus too much on reporting and performance data during a coaching session. Instead, concentrate on solving problems and refining your agent's approach. 3. Listen a lot--it's one of your most powerful tools. Listen carefully to your agent before, during and after a call or two. 4. Ask agents to describe their performance (on a call) in their own words--both high points and low points. If possible, play back a recorded call from a successful interaction and go over all the key elements: the crucial first few seconds, the agent's demonstration of empathy for customers, and their tone as the call progresses. 5. You're not finished yet: discuss the call's result, and any follow-on disposition or escalation issues. 6. Now go back and share your own impressions. Follow the same sequence, and tie your assessments to those grounding goals and metrics. 7. Ask agents what issues or roadblocks might be holding them back from maximum performance--then make an action plan for how your agent will overcome them.