Good customer service is fundamental to any successful business: if you can’t keep your buyers happy, you can’t expect them to keep coming back.
Most American consumers have avoided making repeat purchases with brands offering a sub-par experience, and 62 percent actually tell others about bad service. That means when you let just one of your customers down, you run the risk of losing them altogether — as well as anyone they choose to tell.
Do this too often, and your audience could shrink before you even realize.
Managing your customer service agents effectively and creating a steady coaching program is a massive part of keeping satisfaction rates high.
Let’s look at what that means and what’s involved in coaching for businesses.
The Aim of Coaching Your Customer Service Team
Using performance data
Effective coaching for businesses is based on the CS team’s performance in the past and looking at how they can improve in the future.
A quality assurance strategy makes this possible: conducting evaluations of your agents’ work during customer interactions across all available channels to spot good and bad examples of service. Your QA analysts should be measuring performance according to specific metrics (such as Customer Satisfaction Score, Average Handling Time etc.) before providing managers with key data.
This information shows you where your customer service team is succeeding and failing, and where there’s a need for coaching. For example, you may discover one agent is taking too long to handle interactions and, as a result, receiving poor Customer Satisfaction Scores following conversations.
Anyone dealing with this employee would likely feel frustrated at the duration of their interaction, especially if they’re in the middle of a busy day or have already received poor service from them. They would end the chat with a poor image of your business and (possibly) warn friends, relatives or colleagues to avoid your brand.
The importance of feedback
Feedback is integral to effective CS team management and learning. This should be based on each employee’s scores and overall performance, but it must be constructive. Your customer service team may feel resentful and unmotivated if you bombard them with blunt criticisms.
Make a point to focus on the positives of their work while still indicating where they need to improve and reassuring them you’ll help. Providing employees with access to audio and data as evidence of their strengths or weaknesses is incredibly helpful.
And be sure to make feedback a two-way conversation. Invite agents to share their own views on their performance and explain any errors they may have made.
Individualized feedback as part of coaching for businesses helps boost engagement too, rather than receiving it as a group. Addressing their strong points can be good for their self-esteem and sense of value to the company. Establishing a routine of regular feedback normalizes the process too — the need for coaching will no longer be something to fear.
Rewarding and recognizing good service
Another important element of feedback and coaching for businesses is praising your CS team. By recognizing hard work and showing appreciation, managers and team leaders can nurture a more quality-focused culture.
Assigning points and recognition badges to employees based on their performance is a simple way to issue praise. Our version of this revolves around Karma Points and the Karma Store: once a team-member has earned enough points, they can redeem them for a reward from the store.
As a result, they’ll feel a stronger sense of satisfaction after working hard and have clear targets to keep them motivated.
Coaching with Clear Goals and Directions
When creating coaching sessions for your customer service team, establish why there’s a need for coaching, clear goals and fair deadlines. Never use vague objectives like ‘get better’ or ‘be quicker’ — how valued and motivated are your employees supposed to be when they see these?
For example, let’s imagine one of your customer-service reps’ satisfaction score has dropped by 10 percent within a two-month period. Obviously, they’re doing something wrong when dealing with customers, and you should set reasonable targets to deal with it.
In this situation, focusing on raising the satisfaction score within a set timeframe (such as one month) would be a smart option. You could send your feedback and coaching directions with relevant data, providing them with evidence of their slip in quality.
Make it clear this is nothing to panic about, and offer practical guidance on how to improve. Include recordings of excellent customer interactions and highlight the key moments that led to a high satisfaction score. Discuss where opportunities to resolve the customer’s problem faster present themselves.
Managers and team leaders / supervisors should work to build a bond with employees. Create a sense of trust and mutual respect: make them feel part of a productive, valuable team rather than just another faceless drone. Refer back to previous coaching sessions and review progress, using performance results to track changes in their scores.
Driving Growth and Self-Improvement
Any business that fails to implement regular coaching for its CS team is taking a big risk. Yes, they may invest real time and effort into hiring the ideal agents with years of invaluable experience, but they’re reliant on said employees being at their very best consistently.
In a company like this, there may be no culture of self-improvement or an ongoing commitment to delivering the highest standard of customer experience. They may not even gather customer feedback or monitor performance, let alone take action to enhance both.
Your customer service team is responsible for representing your business, often when there’s a problem to be fixed. People may already be feeling frustrated or disappointed in your service when they reach out for assistance — and a failure to meet their expectations could push them over the edge, costing you their custom entirely.
Coaching must become an ongoing part of your customer service team’s work routine. It’s that simple.
Use the tips and techniques explored above to foster a better, more productive workforce. Make sure your feedback and coaching sessions are constructed to feel like a collaborative process, rather than a one-way onslaught of criticism. If you don’t engage your employees, they’re less likely to absorb advice and take the recommended actions seriously.
What steps have you taken to establish an effective coaching routine for your customer service team? What results have you seen so far? We love to know what you think of coaching for businesses, so share your stories below.