One of the important tasks of contact center team leaders is to coach agents. While this indeed helps guide agents in their progress as effective customer support providers, some are simply uncomfortable with it. They immediately associate it with being reprimanded for their subpar performance.
This, however, doesn’t have to be the case. Call center training sessions are meant to help agents realize both their strengths and weaknesses as customer service reps, allowing them to improve their performance. They also give employees the opportunity to voice out their concerns to leaders.
Here are five tips for effective and constructive coaching sessions.
1. Adopt a warm and approachable stance.
When dealing with agents, make a conscious effort to appear warm and comfortable. Show a genuine eagerness to listen to what agents have to say, so that they’d feel comfortable in sharing their ideas and concerns with you.
On the other hand, an intimidating aura will do no good. It will just create a gap between you and your agents, preventing them from communicating openly with you.
2. Keep the conversation confidential.
Coaching sessions must be done in private, and everything you’ll discuss must remain only between you and the agent concerned. This way, both of you can focus on the important topics you need to talk about. Plus, should you need to point out some performance lapses, private coaching sessions can save the agent from embarrassment or negative judgment from others.
In the same breath, all matters raised by the agent during your one-on-one session should be confidential, especially if sharing it with other agents can affect the team dynamics.
3. Make observations in an unbiased manner.
When making observations, be as objective as you can be. If you’re going to comment about an agent’s performance, it’s better if you can show them the actual numbers or ratings. So when talking about productivity, show the agents their scorecard and specify how they’re faring based on the metrics that your contact center uses. This way, they won’t hold the negative remarks against you and you’ll be able to maintain a good working relationship with one another.
4. Let the agent talk about his own performance.
A one-on-one call center training session with your agents also gives you a chance to gather insights from them. To encourage them to share their personal realizations about the work they do, ask them to talk about their own performance and what they think they need to improve on.
As you discuss these, make sure to pay attention to what the agents are saying and how they’re saying it. By doing so, you’ll be able to observe their general attitudes toward work, which would help you create better employee engagement strategies.
5. Think of ways to improve performance.
Before the coaching session ends, you and your customer service reps must look for ways to improve performance. With two heads working on this, you’ll be able to come up with effective ways to enhance the quality of your work. Plus, rather than prescribing a set of instructions your agents must follow, such brainstorming sessions show agents that you trust their abilities.
Coaching sessions are not meant to discourage agents but rather to motivate them to keep improving. If carried out well, they can help you boost employee engagement while driving up productivity.