Need to improve call centre performance? You’re not alone! Here is a list of quick call centre coaching tips that you can start using immediately.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 1. Positive reinforcement
Comment on, congratulate or better still; formally recognize your call centre agents when they perform well. Formal recognition visible to other employees will boost the agent themselves and it is likely to motivate their peers to replicate their celebrated colleague's behavior as well as the agent repeating the behavior.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 2. Cross-training
Not the lifting weights fitness type of cross-training of course! Cross-training involves taking the agent out of their usual environment of answering customer calls or emails, etc. and training them through showing other sides of the business that are impacted by customer service. Agents love cross-training initiatives as it is a change from their usual routine and helps them understand how their role helps other areas of the business.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 3. Increased time allowance for coaching
This is a difficult one to justify sometimes because people have a full schedule and lots tasks needing attention. However consider the return on investment the coach and the agent will gain from spending an additional 15 minutes per week coaching. If coaching is effective performance will improve and all other metrics associated with that. Another option is cutting time from activities that don't add as much value.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 4. Empower Agents
Agents' performance will improve 5-fold if they are handed over the control panel for performance reviews; agenda setting, goal setting and items to be worked on.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 5. Train for knowledge gaps
Don't design training programs you think your agents need, research the knowledge gaps with tools for quality monitoring and performance reviewing and tailor-make training for what's needed. Making assumptions could be a costly mistake!
Call Centre Coaching Tip 6. Move agents around
Moving agent from department/team around every few months will not only up skill them but it will also help boost morale and prevents agents from falling into a trap of dull, repetitive work. It gives agents a chance to learn more and can be a great opportunity for them to progress their career.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 7. Work alongside your agents
It's amazing how much you can understand about a person's role and how they might feel if you walk in their shoes for a day. By sitting next to agents you'll be better equipped to help and empathize with them and they are more likely to be susceptible to your suggestions as they witnessed your presence on a call; in listening, seeing and feeling what they are going through. Remember sometimes coaching sessions can be an avenue for agents to vent their frustrations, often poor performance is not down to lack of skill but due to an overload in frustration. Working alongside agents will help you understand these day-to-day agitations that can get under anyone's skin. Agent's often know the solutions to their problems and don't need a coach to point them out, they simply need someone to care and understand the problems.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 8. Use benchmark calls
When training, the use of good and bad benchmark calls is a great way to dissect a conversation and allow agents to validate their own performance.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 9. Give balanced feedback
Its important to give both positive and negative feedback. Use your judgement to assess to what extent you give both. High performers who are competitive might either crave constructive criticism or recognition for excellent work. The last thing you want any call centre agents thinking about a coaching session is "what have I done wrong now?".
Call Centre Coaching Tip 10. Ask agents to select calls for feedback
Ask agents to submit their own good and bad calls for assessment too, lessons will resonate quicker on their own calls and you'll be amazed at the honesty of agents in both knowledge gaps and problem identification.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 11. Schedule regular 1-to-1s
1-to-1s are really important for call centre staff. They deal with customers all day everyday, it can be a tiring, draining and thankless job. Regular 1-to-1s mean that its less formal but that doesn't mean its less important. Casual 1-to-1s can allow for relationship building and foster an environment of trust.
Call Centre Coaching Tip 12. Personal development
Agents are humans with lives outside of the contact centre and with career aspirations, don't forget it. Personal development is crucial for nurturing any employees, in a contact centre there are probably only a small percentage of agents who want to remain as agents in the long term. Link performance to promotions, increased salary and opportunities to work in other areas of the business they are interested in.