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Using Call Coaching Training to Improve Call Center Operations

By: George Simons on March 14th, 2019

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Using Call Coaching Training to Improve Call Center Operations

Contact Center Management

Call coaching is one of the most powerful tools in your call center operations management toolkit. You can take all the performance measurements and analytics you want, but if you aren’t actively coaching your staff to be better, you can’t be surprised when they miss the mark. Your agents will be more engaged and more effective when you take the time to help them improve, instead of demanding results and not explaining how to get there.

However, not just any coaching or training will do.

While coaching alone is a great first step, it is not enough to identify a problem and explain how an agent can improve that shortcoming. Instead, try implementing these tips for using call coaching training to improve call center operations.

 

Coaching with Data

Start by coaching with data. When you fail to track employee performance, you do not have an objective record of their behavior and that opens the possibility for your employee to disagree with your assessment of their performance. Suddenly, the conversation shifts from what the agent could have done better to whether or not you observed their performance appropriately. It changes the conversation from what to improve and pushes it into the realm of “he said/she said” – and that doesn’t benefit anyone. It hurts employee morale and takes up valuable time with little hope of resolution. Using call recordings is a great way to overcome the defensiveness.

If instead, you are tackling everything that your agents do on a call, focus on key issues. For instance, comment on agent tone, attitude, word selection and knowledge used on the call. Performance wise, compare objective measures of employee performance, such as the number of calls taken per hour or the total amount of time in idle. These numbers can back up your claim that an employee spends too long on break, is taking longer than necessary to resolve customer issues, or is otherwise slow-handling the job.

In some instances, you may also find that demonstrating what your agent has done wrong, by letting them listen to a recording of themselves or comparing their production numbers to the average for the project, is sufficient to make them understand that a behavior change is necessary. Going forward, you can also use the data to see whether the worker is improving his or her behavior.

 


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Provide Regular Follow-up

The best call center coaching includes regular follow-up. This gives you an opportunity to regularly assess how well the employee is doing. You can use these follow-up times to offer guidance, provide encouragement, or congratulate on a job well done. Each action helps to reinforce agent behavior and improves the odds that the employee will sustain any modifications

Follow-up should happen at regular intervals as you continue to coach the agent, but that’s not your only option. Many of our clients employ technology to aid the coaching process. For instance, you could set regular follow-up notifications to let an employee know how his or her performance is measuring up to the rest of the project. Some monitoring programs make it easy to provide report cards or dashboards for each agent.

In addition, you could give employees access to a dashboard to check their performance. Some agents like to see how well they do relative to their peers and find that friendly competition is a powerful motivator.

Having an agent who is being coached for a specific behavior listen to one of their own calls and provide a self-assessment of their performance is a powerful tool. You can also tweak the call routing, challenging an employee to demonstrate what he or she learned in coaching by giving them a certain type of call as often as possible (e.g. routing more product information calls to someone who is studying the product catalog). Once they have mastered one area, give them the next one to master. Slowly they become an expert for the team.

Adapt to Technology

In order for your call center to become truly effective, adapting your coaching techniques to incorporate technology is a smart idea. Use cloud-based technologies to upgrade your quality assurance tools. For example, there are systems in place that use gamification to motivate call center workers to perform well. Agents become more engaged and productive. They enjoy seeing the elements of game design, like earning kudos for posting a short call time, getting a notification when a customer indicates he or she is satisfied with the service received, or seeing fireworks when a performance goal is reached. Plus, workers are being held accountable in a way that ensures performance is aligned with the overall business strategy of the project.

Technology also opens new avenues for online training, such as detailed scenario-based approaches. This type of holistic coaching can be more effective because it helps agents understand how to handle specific situations. In traditional systems, agents are taught one concept, procedure, or policy, and then they proceed on to the next. They don’t get a chance to integrate what they have learned into an actual course of action until far into the training program. However, if you employ technology in your coaching, it is easier to model the types of real-life scenarios your students can expect and explain how they should respond. It is a call center flight simulator!

Technology can help you make coaching fun too. Forget dry classroom-based instruction. You can use technology to deliver the information you want your agents to learn in a way that is fun and interactive, such as through games, role-playing, and stories. These playful methods tend to help workers focus more and retain more information as a result.

 

Reward Agents Who Do Well

If you want to keep your agents happy and motivated, make sure that you do something to reward agents who perform well. Taking time to highlight top performers and top improvers is a method that will help encourage good behavior and it may increase employee morale and motivation. You should never reward bad behavior, but you can make sure that the steps you take to make agents happy are bestowed only on the most productive of your employees.

While happiness as an end goal might sound a little too “qualitative” for your tastes, keep in mind that research shows happy employees are productive employees. They sell more, take more calls, sound more pleasant, and are more capable of resolving issues on the first call. Happy agents are also more likely to NOT look for another job, thereby reducing turnover or churn. In turn, you will save money on training and recruitment.

 

Conclusion

Using call coaching to improve call center operations is a multifaceted issue. It starts with tracking performance and using data to coach more effectively. From there, technology opens up a myriad of different opportunities for enhanced training and reward systems. The end result is happier and more productive employees.

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. If daily coaching or using technology to improve performance is new to you, give us a call. GCS knows how to lead and motivate call center workers to be their most effective. We have systems in place that you could leverage to help improve your call center operations. No guesswork required. Let us help you make your contact center the best it can be here.


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Everything You Need to Know about Improving Call Center Performance with Training

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