Contact Center

Call Center Coaching Guide: Challenges, Techniques, and Best Practices

Rimlee Patgiri
September 27, 2022
12
 mins read

Last modified on

September 27, 2022

Like it or not, in today’s time, customers hold power, not the sellers. A study reveals that US businesses lose about $75 billion/year due to poor customer service. 

Which means, maintaining a high level of customer service is vital to a company's growth. Agents are expected to deliver positive customer experience on every customer interaction.

A positive CX promotes brand loyalty, helps retain customers, and encourages brand advocacy. 

Thus, call center agents must always be well-equipped to cater to the customers' evolving needs. But how do you ensure that your agents are continuously upskilling themselves to provide better customer service?

This is where call center coaching can be of great assistance.

Call center software solution for better performance management

Both agents and team leaders can gain immensely from call center performance management tools. Companies, where team leaders spend more time training and coaching see team leads wasting very little time on admin work.

Similarly, frontline contact center agents witness a corresponding spike in conversions when there is an ongoing coaching program.  

Coaching agents and investing in their development is imperative to a contact center. The question is, are there any measurable benefits to this? Research says YES.

Contact center coaching is critical for improving agent performance and workforce management. Coaching agents empowers them to; 

  • Learn new skills, 
  • Hone the existing ones, 
  • Receive constructive feedback for improvement, 
  • And fix potential problems they experience during customer interactions.

However, coaching agents isn’t as simple as it sounds. Every manager has dealt with their share of call center coaching challenges.

This detailed guide will help you master the art of coaching in no time.

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How Does Call Center Coaching Impact Your Business?

With the advancement in technology, a call center is available 24/7. Your customers can call, email or text you anytime. The call center facilitates your services anytime your customers need assistance through workflow automation.

Contact center agent dashboard showing coaching sessions and performance issues.
Call center coaching dashboard presenting comparative analysis of agents performance and leaderboard.

Moreover, with various call center coaching tools at their disposal, leaders today can help provide better results while also developing the next generation of leaders within the organization.

Here's how call center coaching can help: 

1. Boost Employee Engagement

Consistent coaching sreflects managers care about agents progress as employees and individuals. As a result, they feel more included in the company, leading to increased engagement and productivity. This is even more valid for new agents.

2. Enhance Agent Efficiency

Call Center Coaching can reduce your agents' time to resolve customer queries (Average Handle Time/AHT). For a contact center, an optimized AHT leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty & retention.

3. Improve Brand Reputation

Most companies are competing on customer service. Thus, consistent, quick & proactive customer service can lead to higher customer satisfaction. Happy customers are more likely to make a purchase again & advocate for your company to others.

4. Attract Top Talent

Research reveals that 68% of employees consider coaching and development a critical workplace policy. Companies attract top talent by offering contact center training and development & gaining a competitive advantage.

A robust Call Center Coaching helps attract talented new hires and retain them.

5. More Confident Employees

A significant lack of confidence can be detrimental to employee satisfaction and, thus, high-quality customer service. If your agents are not confident enough, it can be quite challenging to boost customer confidence. 

However, the good news is that providing your call center agents with adequate coaching opportunities can increase their confidence and help them reach their full potential in their respective skillset.

6. Improve Key Performance Metrics

Call center coaching is one of the best ways to ensure excellent customer service. The key is to tailor-make your call center coaching programs to identify the areas and KPIs most important to your success, including;

  • NPS (Net Promoter Score)
  • CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score)
  • ART (Average Resolution Time) 
  • FCR (First Call Resolution)
  • AHT(Average Handle Time)

7. Higher Profits

Companies that invest in comprehensive training/coaching earn a 24% higher profit margin. Thus, one of the most significant benefits of contact center coaching is improving your bottom line. Learning and development are not just essential to meet your goals of providing excellent customer service, but it’s also a valid growth strategy.

Effective coaching of customer service teams turns into higher profit margin.

8. Greater Productivity

It’s no surprise that the more efficient your agents are, the lower your costs and the greater your profit. The key to achieving greater productivity through coaching is to track KPIs & then implement coaching programs focused on improved performance.

Challenges of Call Center Coaching

Call Center Coaching programs act as a one-stop support tool that makes knowledge readily available at the right time, facilitating smooth communications between customer service teams and customers. 

Even while harnessing the power of AI and machine learning, leaders can still run into several issues during call center coaching. Some of these include:

1. Effective coaching is time-consuming

An effective call center coaching session takes serious preparation. Being in a conference room/meeting with disengaged agents may not be an ideal way you imagine coaching, so preparation and planning are essential.

Call center coaching needs active listening, role playing and positive feedback.

But even armed with contact center coaching outlines, leaders must put in work before a session.

2. Call center coaching is not scalable

Suppose a call center manager/leader accomplishes an excellent 30-min coaching session with an individual agent. If there are 100 agents in total, it would mean coaching them for more than two full days and well over a whole workweek.

Even if the call center manager may want to provide training to the rest of the agents, it is almost impossible to deploy at scale.

3. Coaching wreaks havoc on contact center bandwidth

While it’s easy for call center supervisors/leaders to initiate a live coaching session, it’s not as simple for agents to do so while handling a call.

During call center coaching sessions, call center agents must stop talking with customers or prospects, which is their primary job. With so many call centers already at capacity, that’s a big no-no.

4. Managers lack visibility into agent activities 

Call center managers to have a holistic view of their agents' actions at any given point (live calls, agent status, call center compliance violations, etc.)

However, this information is only helpful for real time agent coaching sessions if supervisors constantly check their live reporting for calls being handled by trainees. Otherwise, they will likely have no knowledge of such calls and subsequently miss critical coaching opportunities.

5. Minimal communication of manager and agents during live coaching 

When call whispering is used as the primary vehicle for live coaching, agents can’t communicate with managers during the phone call. This often results in a one-sided conversation where the manager can speak to the agent, but the agent cannot easily ask the manager for clarification or further help. 

Live coaching sessions can do more harm than good without the ability to close the feedback loop.

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Essential Coaching Techniques to Build Top Performers

Call centers to implement rigorous training programs as part of the onboarding process for newly hired agents. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective techniques for call center coaching:

  • Allowing agents to perform a self-assessment gives managers a platform to explore the weaknesses and strengths of agents more clearly and openly.
  • Constructive criticism and positive reinforcement keep agent morale high. Even with negative feedback, the agent must find a sense of reassurance that they have ample scope for improvement.
  • Managers or top-performing agents can role-play as customers and conduct all customer interactions during agent coaching to improve the agents’ skills.
  • Coaching sessions must be used for expectation management and goal setting as a collaborative effort between the manager and the agent.
Identify agents’ strengths and weaknesses
Agent assessment for evaluating readiness.

Also read: How call center coaching can help in debt collection?

4 Best Coaching Practices to Build Top Performers

In addition to the call center coaching techniques mentioned above, here’s a list of best practices to ensure all your coaching efforts are successful & yielding results:

1. Constructive Feedback Mechanism 

Recognizing the accomplishment of the agents and congratulating them is crucial for your employee morale. These genstures motivate them to perform well & boost the agent’s performance while creating a healthy competition between rest of the employees.

Call center coaching positive feedback
Call Center Feedback Mechanism - Text, Audio, and Video based

Moreover, knowing what your customers think of your product/service is imperative to meet customer expectations. Giving your customers the option to provide feedback for each customer service interaction is a great way to evaluate the scope for improvement.

This feedback can be collected through surveys at the end of the call or a separate email. Implementing the feedback gathered from your customers will make them feel assured, resulting in improved CX and better satisfaction scores.

Do you know what Edtech companies are prioritizing in 2023?

2. Personalized Plans of Action

Every agent is different and thus has unique requirements in terms of call center coaching programs. AI-based analytics must be considered in these programs to get away with manual human errors. 

While an ideal automated tool helps agents upskill themselves, administrators can also create customized programs to cater to the individual requirements in terms of the respective strengths and weaknesses of agents.

Personalized automated call center coaching tool
Personalized automated coaching recommendations for individual agents.

This helps agents with an intuitive knowledge base to hone their skills further & thus increase customer satisfaction.

3. Real-Time Analysis of Agents' Progress

Having enough data on the agents' performance & progress helps the managers understand the potential for growth each agent has.

On the other hand, if an agent outperforms others in a particular category, it should be highlighted, congratulated & incentivized. This is an ideal way to customize call center agent coaching to suit company needs.

4. Investing in Soft Skills Coaching

While it is essential to coach agents on the subject matter, it is equally important to coach them on soft skills.

Communication, emotional intelligence, active listening, initiative, teamwork, empathy & problem-solving are examples of soft skills that help an agent interact with the customer and thus provide a high call quality customer experience. 

5. Turn Agent Potential Into Performance

Call center agent coaching, as a process, is a continuous evolution. Thus, only when companies adopt these basic outlines that they can suit their agents' requirements, helping them excel compared to the competitors.

For a long time, call center coaches have viewed coaching as a necessary yet endlessly frustrating task. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

At Convin, we’re passionate about call center coaching. We understand call center conversations and help businesses experience accurate and unbiased auditing of customer calls using our call monitoring software.

With Convin’s omnichannel contact center, agents receive peer-to-peer micro coaching on every single conversation, thus transforming their performance. Hence, we aim at reducing the ramp-up time and increasing overall call center ROI using automated coaching.

But that’s not all; managers and leaders can track much more than that…Want to experience it by yourself? Sign up now to view the tracking dashboard!

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