Friday, July 1, 2016

1 Simple Step to Improve Call Coaching

Recently I’ve been looking for a way to shake things up in regards to call coaching. I think listening to calls can be such a great way to learn and improve! Unfortunately, not everyone on my team has the same level of excitement about evaluating their calls for learning opportunities.  

I needed to find a way to better engage them in dialogue. I want to know their honest thoughts on a call rather than just having them agree with whatever I have to say about it. I want to generate ideas to use for future calls based on what went well and what could improve. As I pondered my situation an idea hit me!  

Here is the simple solution to improve Call Coaching Sessions:

Listen to a Leader’s customer calls during the coaching session

How many of your Agents dislike the sound of their voice on a recording or insist you’re only finding the “bad” calls?

Benefits of Listening to a Leader’s Calls
If you listen to a Leader’s (Team Lead/QA/Supervisor) calls with your Agents you will remove those distractions and gain these added benefits:
·         Lead by example
·         Build credibility, rapport, and trust  
·         Give the Agent a break from critique
·         Show vs. Tell 

Lead by Example
What a great opportunity to model the behavior you want to see from your team! As a Leader in your center I imagine you have great technical knowledge and outstanding soft skills. This is a great opportunity for them to hear firsthand the way you carry yourself and that you are willing to talk the talk.

The only catch – you’d better do the things you ask them to do. Whatever standards they are held to on a call you should be attempting to achieve as well. If there are requirements you are struggling to adhere to it may be time to reevaluate those items.

Build Credibility, Rapport, and Trust
This exercise shows the team that not only are you willing to roll up your sleeves and take calls alongside them but you are open to their feedback as well. You are putting yourself in their shoes and to some level showing that you understand the challenges of their job. Hopefully, having these open conversations about your calls will open them to feedback about their own.

Give the Agent a Break from Critique
As you know, working in a contact center can be difficult. The Agents are held to high standards on dozens of metrics and often feel like they only hear negative feedback. Give them a break from this pressure and let them provide you with feedback.

My guess is that they will get a kick out of reversing the roles! Several of my team members had mischievous looking smiles on their face as they pulled out their notepad to discuss my calls! But, it also gives you an opportunity to openly discuss a call without defensiveness, and in the end may give you an opportunity to tie the topics back to their own performance. Win-win!

Show vs. Tell
One of my team members struggles to empathize. It just doesn’t come naturally to them. As we listened to some of my calls this person made a point I hadn’t considered:

Wow, great point! If you find yourself telling someone the same thing over and over, you may need to show them an example of how they should do it. They can pick up some useful phrases to use rather than just hearing how not to do it on their own calls.

I’m excited to continue using my calls during coaching sessions to generate discussions. If you are already doing this or decide to try it I would love to hear from you!

Jeremy Hyde has over 10 years experience working in both inbound and outbound contact centers. He currently manages a 24/7 customer service and billing team for InstyMeds Corporation and serves on the Board of Directors for the Midwest Contact Center Association. Jeremy is passionately focused on employee development, team culture and customer experience.

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