As a service agent for any business, you’re responsible for keeping customers happy. That might be harder in some cases than others (such as when policies prevent you giving someone exactly what they’re looking for) but, generally, you should always be looking to leave consumers with a positive image of your employers’ brand.
If don’t do that, around half of customers may take their money elsewhere and recommend others do the same.
Fortunately, coaching allows companies to help agents deliver the highest standard of customer service they can, helping you unlock your full potential and maximize satisfaction.
But your coach can only do so much — you have to make an effort to learn and improve yourself too. So, what can you do to make the most out of your coaching sessions?
Avoid Taking Criticisms Personally
Feedback is a natural part of an effective coaching strategy. Your coach will share data based on your performance with you during sessions, highlighting where you worked well and … well, not so well.
It’s easy to take criticisms as a personal insult and become disheartened. It may even be easy to get angry if you have a short temper or the coach is lacking in the tact department. But even if this latter issue applies to your sessions, count to ten and take a breath. Getting into a full-blown screaming match with your coach won’t get you anywhere.
Remember to view feedback and critiques as a means to an end — a better experience for the customer. And the happier they are, the more likely they are to stay loyal. Which, in turn, could lead to more recognition of your skills, possible commission / pay rises or potential advancement in the future.
Stay professional and think about what you can learn from negative feedback. Any good coach will keep all criticisms constructive anyway, so if you feel they’re being a little personal or inappropriate, speak to a team leader, manager or HR.
Be Honest and Open with Your Coach (And Yourself)
Following on from the topic of feedback and criticisms, you have to build a relationship with your coach based on honesty.
Don’t lie about your reasons for poor performance or act like you understand certain aspects of your job when you don’t. Be willing to speak up when you’re confused, upset or feeling unmotivated: this is the only way you can expect to see the most effective improvements.
Yourself and your coach should be able to discuss issues in a frank manner, without fear of being disciplined or being laughed at. Ask questions when you don’t know what’s expected of you and address any concerns you may have regarding objectives.
You should feel comfortable and confident after coaching sessions: a key aim is to empower customer service agents with the skills, motivation and support you need to grow. If you don’t, take action to fix the situation.
Embrace Positive Change, Even When It’s Daunting
Some elements of your coaching sessions will be welcome. Others won’t. That’s typically the way it works.
But you should be willing to embrace changes that promise to improve your performance and make you a more valuable asset to the business. They can be daunting, especially if they involve changing the way you’ve worked for years or adapting to a new system, but your coach should help you adjust smoothly.
For example, if you consider yourself a naturally shy person, you may need to work harder to engage customers. Breaking down barriers and injecting more of your own personality into interactions could be necessary, even if the prospect unnerves you.
But taking your coach’s advice and feeding off their encouragement may actually help you come out of your shell. Your personal and professional life could undergo a positive change at the same time, with future sessions only adding fuel to the fire.
If you’re closed off and even antagonistic with your coach, you’ll both find it much harder to achieve real results.
Focus on the End Goals
The coaching process takes time and effort. If you keep struggling to hit targets created by your coach, you might start to feel discouraged and want to give up on chasing results altogether.
But don’t let yourself quit. Focus on the end goals lying in wait at the end of your next coaching session.
Perhaps you want to raise your Customer Satisfaction Scores by one point within the next month. Maybe you’re aiming to reduce the length of time customers are left waiting to talk to you by 30 seconds. Whatever your goal, remember how good you’ll feel when you achieve it.
One effective way to help yourself hit targets is to write them down. A survey of Harvard graduates revealed those who created clear, written goals for themselves went on to far more successful, lucrative futures than those who didn’t.
Take Advantage of Incentives
Your employers may offer incentives for customer service agents. A points system, for example, is ideal for tracking performance and rewarding you when you meet coaching targets.
Receiving points for a job well done can help keep you motivated to work hard and push yourself. Rewards (gift cards, sports tickets etc.) can be offered in exchange for your points, to inspire you further.
Take advantage of any incentives that come your way and use them as a tangible target to aim for. If these aren’t available, talk to your coach about the benefits a reward system could deliver for yourself and colleagues.
You’re a customer service agent. Your employers depend on you to represent their business in a professional, courteous way. Your customers, meanwhile, expect to get the help and answers they need when they need it.
That’s a lot of pressure, but effective coaching can make it all a lot easier to handle. Follow the tips above to get the most out of your coaching sessions and achieve real improvements over time. Not only will your customers be happier, but you’ll show your employers just how valuable you are to the business — and who knows where that might lead?
Do you have any other tips to help customer service agents get more out of coaching sessions? Let us know!