Call center agents are the first line of contact with customers. Their performance and customer service skills determine customer retention, bottom lines, and referrals. Therefore, call center agents must have all the coaching and training tools to improve their performance continuously. Call center learning and development tools, like customer service coaching, are essential to empower agents and engage them in their work. But supplying the right coaching tools and resources is crucial to hitting this goal. Before diving into this, we must understand what call center coaching is and why it is essential.
What is call center coaching?
Call center coaching is a quality assurance activity that gives call center agents the skills and tools to do their best work. Coaching can be done through training aids like webinars, seminars, one-on-one coaching, or role-playing.
The overall goal of call center coaching is to improve an agent’s customer service skills. Still, coaching can also refine teamwork, problem-solving, and other professional development-related skills.
What are the benefits of call center coaching?
Are you wondering why call center coaching is essential and if it is worth the investment? The following statistics should help provide a clear picture of its necessity:
- 62% of consumers say that businesses need to demonstrate more care.
- 63% of these consumers also say that businesses should prioritize customer feedback.
- 50% of customers say they will never buy from a company again after a bad experience.
Call center coaching is vital because your agents play a huge role in whether a customer leaves a conversation happy or upset. Each agent must be on the same page regarding customer service standards. But call center coaching also has another benefit; it helps cultivate engaged agents who will want to stay in their jobs. 69% of employees will work more diligently when their efforts are recognized by management. Other benefits of call center coaching include:
- Improved agent retention
- Higher agent engagement and morale
- A better overall work environment
These benefits demonstrate why customer service coaching is a win-win for call centers. Now that you understand coaching’s importance, we can dive into some strategies you can utilize in your call center.
Here are six customer service coaching strategies you can use in your call center today:
Outline a specific purpose for each customer service coaching session.
The more you try to squeeze into a coaching session, the harder it is for an agent to take something concrete from it. Narrowing the focus makes it easier for agents to understand the most important goals and which ones they should prioritize. Choose one aspect of performance and stick to it, and make sure this aspect works with the KPIs you’ve set for your call center. Examples include maintaining call quality or the reduction of call waiting times.
Outline your goals and deadlines
Before starting the coaching process, you must have specified goals and accompanying deadlines. Providing clear avenues to success helps agents more secure in the process. An important thing to remember is that these goals are not necessarily performance-based. Instead, think more broadly. What are the larger goals you want to see in your call center? Use your coaching sessions to discuss call center goals with your team and discuss how your agents can work towards them.
Use data for timely, specific examples
By leading with data, you can provide clear examples for agents. Say you had a significant interaction with a particular customer on January 17th. Record and analyze why this interaction was important, and outline why the conversation went the way it did. Did the customer give specific feedback? Did the agent follow processes properly? The use of real-world examples spotlights great customer service activity. The same technique can be used for areas that need improvement.
One-on-one coaching sessions
While group coaching sessions can fit some occasions, a one-on-one session helps focus on the specific agent’s needs and concerns. Private coaching sessions are beneficial for discussing performance issues that need improvement. This focused environment can feel more comfortable for agents who want to open up away from their team.
Find out the challenges.
When you identify the challenges your agents face in your call center, you can more quickly reach productive solutions. By using performance-related data, you can locate roadblocks from agents. These are key for identifying issues preventing performance improvements, such as lack of product knowledge or poor interpersonal skills. Open the floor to your agent for their feedback, and you can work together to overcome challenges.
Solicit agent feedback
Coaching can also be used as a dialogue between agents and managers. Agents want to develop their progress and success as much as managers do. When agents are involved in the feedback and coaching process, they become more invested and committed to their work. One way to solicit agent feedback is through the use of scorecards.
Scorecards are excellent self-evaluation tools and are critical elements of a QA program. Because of their ability to collect feedback and analyze performance, scorecards are also a great call center coaching resource.
Celebrate the wins
Never underestimate the power of positive feedback. Consistent, genuine feedback plays a significant role in agent satisfaction and call center success. Feedback can also show agents where they’ve succeeded and how they can use these experiences to continue to grow. Some easy ways to celebrate the wins of your agents include:
- Provide incentives for meeting their goals and deadlines, like gift cards or cash
- Organize a company-sponsored event or lunch
- Call out positive strides in a group setting
- Create a recognition or rewards program
Call center coaching is vital to improving customer service, agent retention and morale, and bottom lines. The benefits are vast, and your agents deserve the investment in their development. This is why call center coaching is worthwhile for all call centers. To learn more about the value of customer service coaching, check out our blog, or request a demo today.