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    October 19, 2023

    A Complete Guide to Improving Agent Performance with Call Center Coaching

    Call centers are only as good as the agents on the phone. You want them to be as efficient and well-trained as possible to deal with any eventuality.

    Coaching in a call center may seem like a daunting task, especially when you have hundreds of people with many different criteria you need to train for.

    However, the best way to achieve success is by taking the first step.

    This article is going to go through some of the best things that you can do to ensure that you are carrying out your coaching in the best way possible.

    How Do You Handle Call Center Agent Coaching?

    The key to successfully coaching in a call center is having an effective way to measure success. The most important thing is to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish with the coaching process.

    If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know if you’ve gotten there?

    Any approach to coaching listed here sets a base for your contact center:

    • Coaching as a tool to improve employee performance;
    • Coaching as a means to motivate employees;
    • Coaching as a method to develop new skills;
    • Coaching as a way to increase job satisfaction;
    • Coaching as a part of a training program.

    The coaching session should be structured so that it accomplishes one or more of these goals so your business reaches peak call center service.

    Establish a foundation for practical agent coaching techniques using the following tips:

    1. Coach all groups (Including Top Performers)

    Coaching should be for everyone, including top performers. Start by setting SMART goals with every agent on board, then narrow down your focus to the low performers. This approach will keep the top performers’ performance intact while helping you keep an eye on those who need more training. 

    1. Implement Micro-Coaching

    Micro-coaching allows supervisors to provide brief, targeted, and precise feedback or guidance to agents. It targets improving performance in small, incremental steps. This approach allows you to work on specific behaviors, skills, or tasks in a concise and timely manner.

    1. Stick to One Goal Per Coaching Session

    Coaching works best when there is clarity and focus. Focusing on too many objectives can be overwhelming and less effective. When you stick to one goal, it is easier to measure progress and track improvement. 

    1. Pass Judgment Positively

    How you relay your message to your agents determines how they will perform after coaching. Agents maintain better morale when feedback, even critical, is presented constructively. Positive judgment reinforces agents’ self-confidence and self-esteem, making them more open to accepting feedback and trying new approaches.

    1. Create an Actionable Plan

    You will need a roadmap to guide decision-making and ensure efforts are aligned with the desired outcomes. Have a detailed and structured outline that specifies the steps, tasks, and resources required to achieve your coaching goals.

    1. Use Data to Understand Performance

    Identify and track relevant performance metrics such as call handling time, first-call resolution, customer satisfaction scores, and conversion rates. These insights direct attention to agents and specific areas needing improvement, enabling targeted skill development.

    1. Conduct Role-Playing

    After completing the coaching sessions, ask your agents to role-play in the specific areas you were working on. This offers an immediate feedback loop as it gives you a broad view of how they will implement the new skills. Role-playing can involve multiple teams or individuals, depending on your coaching approach.

    Addressing Common Agent-Customer Interaction Mistakes

    A streamlined coaching approach should not only focus on skill development but also on rectifying behaviors that hinder effective communication. Here are common pitfalls:

    Inadequate Listening and Follow-Up

    Agents sometimes fail to fully engage in conversations, missing crucial information that could expedite resolution and enhance customer experience. Coaching needs to emphasize the importance of active listening skills.

    Not Seeking Clarification

    Ambiguities in customer statements can lead to inefficiencies. Encouraging agents to seek clarification politely can significantly improve their problem-solving capacity and customer interactions.

    Neglecting Customer Guidance

    Customers often need assistance in decision-making regarding services or products. Agents should be coached to competently guide customers through options, highlighting benefits and aligning with customer needs.

    Poor Communication Techniques

    Effective communication goes beyond scripted responses. Agents need coaching in adaptive communication and emotional intelligence to manage stress, demonstrate empathy, and respond appropriately to diverse customer emotions.

    How to Implement Behavioral Call Center Coaching

    Beyond identifying common mistakes, introducing a behavioral coaching program can instill a continuous improvement mindset. A behavioral coaching program can teach your agents to become more aware of their actions and behaviors and to change those behaviors accordingly.

    By teaching your agents to focus on the positive aspects of their behavior, you can create a culture of accountability within your organization.

    Agents who are coached regularly become more productive and efficient than those who are not.

    Also, during a call, these agents can rely on real-time coaching, which provides instant feedback and insight into an agent’s performance, helping him or her improve their skills quickly and efficiently.

    Action plans are developed based on each agent’s individual needs. These plans include specific goals and objectives and also address areas where improvement is needed.

    Your team members take ownership of their plans and work hard to achieve success.

    If all agents learn from their mistakes quickly through feedback and action plans, then they will have fewer opportunities to repeat them, allowing improved behavioral outcomes and excellent customer service.

    A Better Approach: AI-Based Quality Assurance Software

    Swift and effective improvement can only be as good as the process designed for it. Agent coaching is one of the hardest things to get right, but Call Criteria front-loads that for you in a really easy fashion. Our intuitive dashboard is designed to rapidly identify problems, create a targeted plan and track the results. 

    In addition to enabling the rapid identification of those individuals and teams needing coaching and development, the Call Criteria solution includes the ability to assign performance improvement goals to individuals and teams and track progress against the goals. In addition to setting and tracking goals, the solution allows supervisors and managers to provide training materials, examples of correct procedure and feedback on goal achievement. Lastly, the platform inherently creates a documentation trail of the goals set, coaching provided and performance outcomes which  can be easily exported to a human resources platform for employee performance documentation.

    call center coaching dashboard by call criteria

    Setting standards

    There are probably a dozen things you’d want to change. But you should focus on those that will drive real ROI. Call Criteria uses custom scorecards to help you set expectations and individual goals and work toward achieving them.

    Isolating Behaviors

    Our coaching dashboard makes micro-coaching easier as it displays individual and overall scores. Individual scores allow coaches to tailor their training to specific agents based on their missed points, which in turn boosts the overall scores. 

    Showing Performance

    The only way to improve your agents’ scores is to know how they perform in different areas. Our dashboard gives you an overview of each agent’s performance. You can then get them into coaching sessions depending on their needs. 

    Continuous improvement 

    Unlike one-time coaching, continuous coaching allows you to focus on issues as they arise. With our dashboard, you can easily and continuously track agent performance to ensure continuous improvement. 

    Compliance – Following the Rules

    A good call center has trained staff who can answer questions and provide information about products or services.

    When coaching call center agents, you also need to make sure they understand the policies that govern their work. Make sure each agent knows all the rules and regulations that apply to his or her position.

    This includes knowing the company’s policy on answering calls, handling complaints, and dealing with special situations.

    Compliance training is important because it ensures that your employees follow the law and protect your business’ reputation.

    After every call, it’s important to maintain positive feedback and address any negative feedback that may arise from non-compliance. 

    If you don’t know what your company’s policies are, then you might as well have no policies at all!

    Customer satisfaction scores can be simply impacted by having agents who do not follow the rules.

    Your call center needs to be run according to a set of guidelines so that every employee understands what he or she is expected to do.

    The best way to ensure call center compliance is to integrate a dashboard that displays procedures and expectations for all active calls in your contact center.

    The Team Leads the Way

    Agent performance is the key to achieving high-quality customer service. When agents feel confident and motivated to meet customers’ needs, they are much more likely to exceed expectations- effective coaching in a call center.

    In addition, when agents are given the opportunity to ask questions, they tend to ask more questions.

    This helps them to gain knowledge and understanding of the product or service provided.

    This leads to better customer satisfaction and increased sales. Lacking dedication to their craft is the biggest challenge in the call center coaching industry today.

    Agents often get stuck in a rut and become complacent. It takes a lot of motivation to keep agents engaged and focused on the task at hand.

    To achieve this goal, it is important to give agents the ability to monitor their own performance using the coaching aid of the call center coaching dashboard.This will allow them to stay motivated and continue striving for excellence.

    Wrapping Up: The Best Way to Improve Agent Performance in a Call Center

    Your agents are only as competent as the training you provide them. There is no better way to equip your agents for better outcomes than having targeted coaching sessions. 

    One of the best ways to improve performance is with a comprehensive quality assurance program for your contact center. A well designed and executed quality assurance solution will capture the data needed to pinpoint the coaching and development needs of your agents rapidly. The best quality assurance solutions will incorporate artificial intelligence to support the evaluation of up to 100% of the interactions performed creating a large database to drive decisions about coaching teams in individuals.  The most successful companies invest in a third-party QA solution that provides the technology and insights into your performance. Schedule a demonstration of the Call Criteria QA solution today and see how your agents’ performance can be  improved.