Great coaching is a must if you want your call center agents to perform well and provide excellent service to your customers. Coaching call center agents provides a way for them to learn new skills, get your feedback on the work they’re doing, and get to the heart of problems they’re experiencing during calls.
Anyone can hold a routine session and coach call center agents. What if you want your call center agents to become thriving top performers? That’s a completely different story! For that, you need effective strategies and techniques to propel your agents towards success.
1. Coach call center agents through role-play
You can use role-playing for any type of session for coaching call center agents, but it’s especially helpful during onboarding. New agents have learned how to conduct calls during their formal training. Now, they need to put all that knowledge into practice.
You can ease their transition from student to active call center agent with role-playing coaching sessions. Take one of their first practice solo calls and replay it with them. Have them play the role of the customer while you play the role of the agent. They’ll see how you manage the call and learn from your example.
Then, switch roles so that they’re playing the agent. Because they’re new at this, they may be hesitant or find themselves at a loss for words. Or, they may come right out with a statement that’s completely inappropriate or misleading. Yet, within the safety of the coaching session, you can help them find their way through a call which may have otherwise seemed intimidating.
Giving your call center agents tips as they practice, helps them learn how to think and respond like a top-performing call center agent.
2. Make feedback palatable
If you’re coaching call center agents after they’ve made a serious mistake or shown a decline in performance, they’re likely nervous about what will happen during the session. They may even fear that their job is in jeopardy.
While it’s important that they take the coaching seriously, fear can cause unnecessary roadblocks. You can relieve their fear by using the feedback sandwich.
Start by telling them something they recently did very well. Give them a specific example of what they did right and explain how it benefited the customer and the company.
Next, discuss the problem interaction or area of poor performance. Again, give concrete examples and explain why it matters.
Finally, do something helpful. Find out if there’s anything you can do to make their job easier or more understandable. Give them that support. Then, wrap up the session by letting them know that you value their efforts and are there for them as they work to improve their performance.
3. Use self-assessment to coach call center agents
You already know how you feel about your call center agents’ performance. However, you might be surprised to find out that they are just as aware of their shortcomings as you are. Thanks to live customer feedback, maybe they’ve even pinpointed areas for improvement that you hadn’t.
And, if they don’t recognize where they are underperforming, you need to be able to share the metrics that reveal the weak spots.
Create a safe space where your agents can trust that you are there to listen and help them succeed. Then, ask your agent how they’re doing. Ask them to share details about their difficulties and successes. You might learn something you didn’t know before, either about their performance, their attitude about it, or what they’ve already tried to improve it.
With this information, you’ll be ready to help them work on their problem areas and fine-tune their performance. At the same time, you make them feel that their opinions and observations matter.
4. Goal-setting as a motivating call center coaching tool
A successful system for coaching call center agents needs to motivate call center agents to move in the right direction. Goals are fundamental for providing that extra push.
During the coaching sessions, work with your call center agents to define actionable and doable goals that they can work towards. By establishing and agreeing on goals with your call center agents, you’ll help them shift their sights to goals that are attainable yet challenging.
In your next feedback session, use a smart reporting tool to track their performance metric progress and measure how much they’ve improved within the set period of time.
And of course, don’t forget to set new goals for the upcoming period.
5. Coach call center agents periodically
Periodic sessions for coaching call center agents are crucial to your call center agents’ success. Periodic coaching sessions also serve as feedback sessions and gives agents time to put into effect their new learnings and sets deadlines for their new goals.
It also lets them look back and reflect on how they’ve done since their last coaching session and see their growth over time.
As a call center manager, look at their yearly performance indicators and identify their greatest strengths. Find where they are continuously having problems. Then, find concrete examples of each.
During the coaching session, talk to them about ways to improve their weaknesses. They may have ideas on how to learn, but you also need to be ready to provide your own suggestions.
Don’t forget to recognize their achievements, too. Knowing where they’re being successful not only helps them feel appreciated; it also ensures that they stay on that positive path.
Top-performing agents aren’t born, they’re made. It takes a special commitment to your team to give them the coaching they need to learn, develop their skills, and correct any problems that are holding them back. You can provide them with what they need to thrive in your busy call center environment!