Contact Center

Call Center Coaching Techniques That Harm Your Customer Service

Labeeb Ajmal T
September 29, 2023
 mins read

Last modified on

“83% of high-performing service agents say they get the training they need to do their job well compared to only 52% of underperformers.” - Salesforce

Agent training has become a critical part of ensuring that customers receive well-curated experiences. Many call centers increased their investments in coaching to ensure that every agent is able to bring out their best foot forward.

The increasing focus on agent coaching has made it difficult for call center managers to differentiate between beneficial and harmful coaching techniques.

Everyone is aware of call center coaching programs. But did you know that certain coaching practices can hurt your customer service drastically?

Let’s learn about these harmful coaching practices and how they disrupt customer service.

Improve cusomer service delivery by talking to an expert.

Can Call Center Coaching Harm Your Customer Service?

Call center coaching aims at enabling agents to work on their performance and deliver better customer experience.

When a call center coaching program puts unrealistic pressure on agents to increase their key performance indicators (KPIs) like; 

  • Average handle time (AHT) 
  • Or first call resolution (FCR), 

it can backfire.

Agents should be provided with a supportive environment that supports them with the right resources to grow. In cases where the support is replaced by excessive pressure, it can affect your customer interactions.

And what’s the result of a poor customer interaction?

Customers end up dealing with a short-tempered, irritated, and desperate agent. In some cases, episodes of mis-selling and compliance violations surge, eventually lowering customer satisfaction and losing good customers. 

Implement a healthy agent coaching program today!

Now that we’ve understood the effect of certain harmful coaching practices, let’s look at what these practices are and how to resolve them.

Harmful Coaching Techniques

It is understood that certain coaching practices can affect customer service in a disastrous manner. But what are these harmful techniques?

Let’s find out.

1. Running a common coaching schedule

When contact centers implement the same coaching schedule for all their agents, it isn’t as effective as managers expect it to be.

A coaching schedule should be personalized and cater to an agent’s individual strengths and weaknesses.

As Harry Potter fans would remember, Professor Lupin’s boggart lesson is one of the best practical lessons in the entire story.

Instead of just teaching the students what spell to use while fighting a boggart, he brings a boggart to the class so everyone learns to face their fears, making it an unforgettable lesson.

How is it harmful?

When every agent receives the same coaching session, it becomes difficult for them to know what it is that they need to improve. When agents don’t know what it is that they lack, they repeat the same mistakes in their customer interactions.

Apart from an impact on agent performance, this also impacts customer service when it is continuously repeated.

How to fix this problem?

Call centers should implement a coaching session that considers each agent’s strengths and weaknesses. When agents receive these personalized sessions, it helps them identify their areas of concern and begin working on them.

Personalized coaching practices help agents to work on their weaknesses and improve their customer service delivery
Evaluate teams and agents based on areas of improvement

In these personalized coaching sessions, agents are told how to improve their experience delivery in a way that caters to their individual performance. Managers can also view areas of concern in terms of collective teams as well as individual agents.

2. Chasing the wrong performance metrics

Several call centers focus on the wrong performance metrics when evaluating their agents.

For example, first call resolution (FCR) isn’t as meaningful in a sales team when compared to its relevance in a support team. Similarly, conversion rate is important in a sales team and not in support teams.

How is it harmful?

When agents are pushed to focus on the wrong performance metrics, it becomes difficult for them to deliver exceptional customer service.

For instance, there are customer satisfaction metrics like abandonment rate which are more prominent for agents that deal with appointment booking than sales agents. Similarly it isn’t as important for agents handling email queries to worry about ticket resolution time.

When such agents have to worry about ticket resolution time, they become sloppy as they try to respond to every email as soon as it arrives without trying to figure out what resolution works best for them.

When agents focus on replying to customers faster without addressing the query, it impacts customer satisfaction. Customers prefer having a smoother resolution for email tickets, even if it takes up to 48 hours.

How to fix this problem?

With detailed conversation analysis, call center software can help you identify key performance metrics for different teams.

Using this data, managers can chart strategies that don’t push agents to be concerned about irrelevant feedback.

Stop following harmful coaching practices!

3. Lengthy feedback loops

In a manual quality assurance framework, it takes a lot of time for agents to receive feedback from auditors.

The feedback is relayed to team leads, who then inform the agent. This roundabout feedback method is inefficient and makes it difficult for agents to improve their performance.

How is it harmful?

When agents receive feedback on a customer interaction that happened at least a couple of days earlier, it’s difficult to fix them. Agents can’t remember these interactions and without understanding their mistakes, it is possible to fix them.

Delayed feedback often leads to such problems being repeated, with agents not understanding their mistakes.

How to fix this problem?

Prompt agent feedback helps an agent rectify their mistakes immediately
Agents receive feedback specific to each of their customer conversations

In an ideal world, agents should receive prompt feedback after each call or at the end of each day. It becomes difficult for agents to perform consistently when they receive feedback after each call.

With call center software that can audit 100% conversation audits, agents receive feedback at the end of each day. This daily feedback allows agents to understand their mistakes.

Check out Auto QA's call center auditing.

4. Insufficient follow-throughs

It isn’t enough to assign coaching sessions to agents. Team leaders should follow up and ensure that these sessions are being completed by agents.

How is it harmful?

When follow-ups don’t happen, there are chances of these coaching sessions being left incomplete by agents.

Coaching is done to improve customer service and agent performance. When these sessions aren’t completed, the aim of coaching goes unfulfilled.

Customer service is continuously impacted when coaching sessions are left incomplete.

How to fix this problem?

Coaching assessments help agents in keeping in touch with their coaching sessions
Agent coaching assessments

Automated agent coaching software can be used to evaluate whether agents are completing their coaching sessions in the form of assessments. These assessments are part of the learning management system (LMS) and can be created by team leaders for an efficient coaching program.

5. Biased agent evaluation

“You could have an associate that is doing great 75% of the time, but we just happen to grab the 25% where they may have underperformed, which leaves them feeling unfairly judged” - Ken Fausel, Director of Customer Experience, Figo

In a manual quality management framework, a limited amount of agent-customer interactions are monitored. All feedback is made on the basis of these interactions.

These interactions show only a small portion of an agent’s performance. When coaching sessions are assigned on the basis of a small sample size, it can lead to them taking up more or fewer coaching sessions than required.

How is it harmful?

Let’s examine two examples of evaluating coaching sessions based on a small sample size.

There are 2 agents, A & B.

A is a top-performing agent, but the auditor looked 5-10 conversations over the span of a month where A was underperforming. This leads to A being assigned with unnecessarily extra coaching sessions.

On the other hand, B is an agent whose performance is subpar. The auditor evaluated 5-6 conversations of B, were they performed really well.

In this case, B is assigned fewer coaching sessions than they actually require.

When agents are evaluated on the basis of a small sample size, they aren’t always assigned the right coaching sessions. This can impact their performance as well as their customer experience delivery.

How to fix this problem?

Automated call monitoring software has the solution for this. This software evaluates every agent-customer interaction, which allows coaching to be assigned as required.

Agents won’t be assigned coaching sessions on the basis of a small sample size anymore. Their overall performance is considered before assigning any coaching session.

Now that we’ve seen various coaching practices that can be harmful, let’s look at some call center coaching tips as well.

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A Consistent Approach to Agent Coaching

Call center coaching is critical to any contact center’s performance. Depending on the quality of the coaching framework, it can make or break overall contact center performance.

Using automated call center software for coaching can help you with the following:

  • Personalized agent coaching sessions
  • Follow-up assessments to ensure sessions are being completed
  • Targeted coaching on the basis of performance
  • Creating agent performance plans with the right insights
  • Prompt feedback so agents can focus on rectifying their mistakes immediately

Finding the right software for your call center can be a difficult task, but taking a demo can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Call Center Coaching?

Call center coaching is part of quality management in a call center. It aims to improve agent performance and customer experience by training agents adequately.

2. How to do Proper Coaching in a Call Center?

There are many methods to improve call center coaching. Some of them include the usage of customer feedback, 1:1 coaching sessions, and identifying performance trends.

3. How to Make Call Center Coaching Effective?

The first step for effective call center coaching is providing timely feedback. Other steps include providing support, encouraging agents, and sharing the desired goals.

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