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    Contact Center Coaching Techniques: 9 Strategies To Use Now

    Contact Center Coaching Techniques: 9 Strategies To Use Now
    12:50

    Contact centers serve as the gateway for your customers to connect with your business, and they’re incredibly impactful on customer perception. In fact, 80% say the customer experience (CX) a company provides is equally important as the product itself—meaning you need to make a good impression to keep their business.

    But, poor customer experiences are on the rise, with eight out of ten people reporting negative experiences with customer service. This means perfecting your contact center coaching techniques is essential if you want to ensure you’re not part of the problem.

    In this article, we’ll cover nine strategies that can help you dramatically improve your coaching processes, some key technologies that can facilitate them, and why using the right QA software makes a big difference.

    How to coach an agent effectively: 9 practical call center coaching techniques + examples

    #1. Trust the data and tailor your coaching sessions

    Data is king in today’s world, and contact centers collect a ton of it. So why aren’t you putting it to use?

    Purpose-built QA solutions can leverage the data you collect to improve your agents and your business. You can analyze calls, create reports on individual agent performance, and use these insights to inform training and address areas for improvement.

    However, it’s important to understand what data you track and why you’re using it. While all metrics serve a purpose, some are more relevant than others in the context of training. Focus your efforts on KPIs such as customer satisfaction (CSAT), first contact resolution (FCR) rate, or average handle time (AHT) to target weak points.

    By using tangible data in your contact center coaching techniques, you can show them exactly what they need to work on. Instead of telling agents they’re spending too long handling calls, you can show them how their AHT has increased and help them work on specific skills to improve that metric over time.

    #2. Try giving real-time feedback

    Many modern QA platforms offer the ability to both monitor and interact with agents in real-time, so you can identify coaching opportunities in the moment and give immediate feedback and support.

    Track Agent development with Detailed Reports

    These real-time interactions can significantly boost your contact center coaching techniques. By spotting issues as they happen, such as weak soft skills, agents not adhering to scripts, or even noncompliance, you can quickly correct any mistakes.

    You can also opt to monitor calls immediately after a coaching session, observing how agents apply their new knowledge and reinforcing the learnings where necessary. Doing these sessions throughout the day can help develop a positive, growth-focused work environment.

    #3. Make sure to celebrate the wins

    High morale is essential to any successful business, and keeping spirits high should always be a priority. We mentioned how using QA software to identify and coach weak spots can be effective, but it shouldn’t be the only way you give your agents feedback.

    Negative work environments can cause morale to drop, leading to a decline in CSAT scores, increased chances of agent burnout and stress, and even staffing issues. These problems can escalate as morale plummets, leading to the absolute worst-case scenarios.

    Keeping morale up and promoting a positive, constructive environment for your agents is essential, so paying attention to the positives in your call center coaching strategy is key. If you only give negative feedback, morale can tank—make sure to recognize and reward strong performance too.

    3. Make sure to celebrate the wins High morale is essential to any successful business, and keeping spirits high should always be a priority. We menti

    #4. Focus on specific skills

    With so much data to analyze and lots of employees, offering a blanket approach becomes almost impossible (especially for larger call centers). Every agent on your team has unique strengths and weaknesses—treating them all as one unit won’t accomplish anything.

    Instead, you should tailor your contact center coaching techniques to focus on specific skills that can help agents improve on their unique shortcomings, instead of forcing everyone to follow a one-size-fits-all approach.

    Individual agents may struggle with soft skills, conflict resolution, compliance, and many other issues. Using the data from your QA tool can help highlight which agents are struggling with which skills, allowing you to adjust your call center coaching strategy accordingly.

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    #5. Serve the feedback sandwich (and keep it constructive)

    One classic way to deliver effective feedback is the “feedback sandwich.” It’s a pretty simple approach: You start by offering positive feedback to warm them up, then provide the negative feedback you need to cover. Finally, you end by offering more positive feedback to help cushion against the negative and end on a happy note.

    Nobody likes bad news, and it’s very common for people to react to criticism negatively or get defensive over it. So, by “padding” the difficult feedback with some positives, you can ease the blow and make for a smoother, more impactful conversation.

    Use real data, both negative and positive, to back up your statements. This can help show them that the feedback is sincere and free from bias, further driving the point home.

    Additionally, starting positively and ending positively helps smooth the conversation while keeping the negative feedback purely constructive. If you only have negative-leaning coaching sessions where you don’t celebrate the wins, your agents will never grow and accept feedback.

    #6. Role-play common scenarios

    An effective contact center coaching technique is simply acting out interactions with your agents to help guide them. Practice makes perfect, and contact centers often deal with a wide range of issues, making practice in a real environment difficult.

    Instead of using live conversations for training purposes and risking negative outcomes like poor CX, irritated customers, or employee burnout, why not try acting it out?

    Mixing role-playing and acting into your call center coaching techniques is a great way to give agents a chance to work on these scenarios without impacting the customer experience or upsetting a caller.

    You can prepare for all kinds of scenarios to help agents become familiar with them and understand the path to a positive resolution. You can even use actual recorded calls to reenact scenarios and highlight more effective solutions as a practical exercise.

    On top of that, you should have your coaches and agents switch roles as well. That way, agents can see both sides of the interaction and gain a deeper understanding of how to navigate these tough situations.

    6. Roleplay common scenarios An effective contact center coaching technique is simply acting out interactions with your agents to help guide them. Pra

    #7. Shut up and listen (sometimes)

    While we have a ton of data to help improve our call center coaching techniques, it doesn’t tell the full story. When conducting training sessions and coaching, let your agents tell you their side of the story.

    It’s easy to point at a dashboard and tell someone they need to improve a number, but it doesn’t tell you why they need to improve. Your agents may have their struggles or issues that they need help with to overcome that hurdle, and that help won’t come from pure criticism.

    A great way to get your agents to offer better feedback is to allow them to perform a self-assessment, which you can use to improve future coaching sessions. This will enable you to learn more about your agents and personalize those sessions—and it can even help you and other coaches improve your own soft skills.

    #8. Set SMART goals together

    One way you can help foster collaboration between your coaches and agents is by having them create their goals together. Getting them involved keeps your agents engaged and committed to reaching the goals they set with a better understanding than an abstract number or target to accomplish.

    If your agents know exactly what they need to work on and can craft a plan that works for them and their coaches, they’re far more likely to reach those goals. This helps build trust, too, and not just engagement. You can create goals using the SMART method to help keep them clearly defined and constructed in a way that makes them reachable.

    One way you can help foster collaboration between your coaches and agents is by having them create their goals together

    #9. Turn your customers into coaches

    Finally, who else has more say in these conversations than the customers themselves? They’re the most important part of your business and can be used as a tool to improve your agents beyond just a single interaction.

    You can collect feedback from your users too, via call recordings, surveys, reviews, social media, and more.

    These sources can all paint a picture of how interactions went and what can be improved upon. Just like regular feedback, you’ll want to “sandwich” this in with some positive feedback, which can also be collected from customers who want to point out when agents perform well.

    How to use AI and other technology for better coaching

    Leverage AI and automation

    Using automation alongside AI tools can dramatically impact how your coaches gather and analyze data for training sessions. Automation can save massive amounts of time from data collection and analysis alone and generate highly detailed reports on agents, as well as summaries of common trends and patterns.

    And with the hours freed up by these tools, you can spend more time improving your contact center coaching techniques. They enable you to spend less time on preparing and more time with the agent to find out the best ways to help them improve, all backed with real data rather than a handful of calls.

    Identify performance trends and priorities

    Pairing AI with your QA tool’s reporting features unlocks a brand new way to identify trends and patterns within your call center, ranging from full teams to individual agents. This data can even be broken down to specific interaction types, such as returns, refunds, sales, and more, allowing you to prioritize the most pressing areas.

    This ability also helps your teams spot issues in your workflows, processes, and agent behavior before they impact CX and customer satisfaction. That way, you can be proactive and make adjustments to course-correct before things develop further.

    Build a coaching culture with the right tech stack

    Having the right tools for the job makes all the difference. Keeping things fresh and current can make a dramatic impact on your call center coaching techniques. Modern QA platforms like Scorebuddy offer integrated coaching solutions built into their software to help facilitate coaching, while also offering comprehensive reporting and dashboards.

    Choosing the right tools for your call center is equally important. Look for tools that can help your agents and coaches understand each other and improve performance. For example, personalized agent dashboards can help agents understand the areas they need to work on, and can shorten the feedback loop so they stay engaged and conscious.

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    Your contact center coaching template

    If you want to improve your call center coaching techniques, you need a plan. Formulating a strategy is key to helping you outline and reach your goals, showing you what needs to be worked on and what success looks like.

    Once you have your coaching plan, it’s time to put it into action. Frame your coaching sessions within your QA infrastructure, so you have the data to make informed decisions and identify coaching opportunities. Offer your agents personalized feedback—using individual agent dashboards—to guide them and highlight what they’re excelling at and what needs work.

    After things have been put into motion, it’s time to monitor and continuously improve. You’ll be able to reflect on the data you’ve gathered to help improve and adjust processes and training sessions as needed, helping you reach and set new goals in the future.

    Conclusion

    Delivering high-quality customer service is vital to the success of your contact center, but it’s no easy task. Customers want a seamless, positive experience. Your agents want to deliver that, but it isn’t as simple as it sounds.

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    By revolutionizing your contact center coaching techniques with data from your QA solution, celebrating positive results, and listening to both your agents and customers, you can make big improvements in your customer experience. Plus, you’ll help agents perform better and keep things running smoothly across your entire contact center operation.

    Interested in an integrated coaching solution that slots right into your existing QA infrastructure? Get a free 14-day trial of Scorebuddy Coaching today.

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      Contact Center Coaching FAQ

      FAQ

      How do you coach soft skills in a call center?

      Coaching soft skills in a call center involves targeted training, role-playing scenarios, and continuous feedback. Focus on key areas like empathy, communication, active listening, and problem-solving.
      Regular workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions help reinforce these skills, ensuring agents are equipped to provide exceptional customer service while handling a variety of customer interactions effectively.

      How do you coach confidence in a call center?

      Coaching confidence in a call center involves providing comprehensive training, positive reinforcement, and constructive feedback. Encourage agents to practice through role-playing, celebrate their successes, and address mistakes as learning opportunities.
      Building a supportive environment where questions are encouraged and achievements are recognized helps boost self-esteem, empowering agents to handle calls with assurance and develop stronger communication and problem-solving skills.