Some approaches to call center coaching are more effective than others. Here are 12 you should know about.
If you’re new to running a call center, coaching may seem easy enough. You just tell people what to do, give them a script, and keep your ears open for anyone having trouble. But there’s much more to effective call center coaching than just telling people what to do.
Think about a professional athlete. No doubt they know how to play tennis, or basketball, or pole vault, or run the 100-meter dash. Yet, they all have coaches. And the best coaches help their athletes win championships.
True, working in a call center may not be an Olympic sport, but good coaching can help your team get better. However, not all coaching is effective. Poor coaching can even make things worse. So here are some proven call center coaching techniques to try out or revisit if you’ve used them before.
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12 Approaches to call center coaching that work
1. Normalize coaching. Make coaching a regular part of your routine. If you’re only coaching members of your team on occasion, then it feels more like getting called out for doing something wrong. Remember, coaching is about helping your team improve, not punishing them for mistakes.
2. Have clear expectations. This is self-explanatory. Your team can’t meet your expectations or goals if they don’t know what they’re striving for.
3. Listen in on calls. The best way to understand how a call center agent is performing is to listen to them while they’re on a few calls. Break it up around different days and different times of the day, too. Listening to four back-to-back calls may give you a good snapshot, but listening to a dozen calls spread out over a few days will provide you with a more holistic view of how your agents are performing.
4. Prepare ahead of time. For call center coaching to be impactful, you have to be prepared. That means gathering any paperwork or setting up any recordings you plan to review. Know what you’re going to talk about.
5. Keep it positive. Coaching is about helping people move up and get better. It’s about helping people reach and conquer new goals. That means looking at and applauding strengths. It also means looking into challenges and finding ways to overcome those challenges.
6. Set specific goals. If you want your call center coaching to get results, you need to be precise. This is similar to having clear expectations, but in this case, you’re adding numbers or data. For example, encouraging someone to get better customer service ratings isn’t as helpful as encouraging someone to improve their customer service ratings by 5% this month.
7. Offer resources and a plan. Even when you’re specific and clear with expectations and goals, you still need to guide your team. Give them the resources to improve and give them a plan. Don’t just set goals and leave them to figure it out on their own. That’s sure to lead to failure.
8. Coach in private. Keep your coaching sessions one-on-one so no one feels embarrassed. Alternatively, if you notice a widespread challenge, you can offer team coaching, but don’t point anyone out. Instead, make your coaching general to the team.
9. Be human. Especially if you’re coaching someone who has declining numbers, ask them questions. Ask if things are going on outside of work that you can help them with. Don’t push it. If they don’t want to tell you, that’s their choice. But sometimes, it’s nice to know someone notices us.
10. Collaborate. Any action plan is stronger when it’s a team effort rather than something a manager hands down.
11. Follow up. Whenever you have an action plan or new goals for your team, check in a week or two later to see how things are working. Any plan might seem good in a coaching session, but not play out so well in reality. Don’t be afraid to abandon something that isn’t getting the job done.
12. Coach everyone. Call center coaching isn’t just about agents who have room to improve. Your best agents can use coaching, too. Plus, it’s an excellent way to boost morale overall.
What about the coach? How can you do all of this? Use the tools in your call center software to help you succeed. Obviously, we hope that’s us, but any software you use should offer you the ability to record calls, run reports, and conduct whisper coaching to help you agents.
Call Logic’s auto-dialer and call management software offers dozens of helpful tools to increase your success and simplify your daily tasks. Call for your free consultation today to learn more!