When it comes to call center leaders and their teams, is quality weaved throughout the relationship? Quality in a service or product isn’t what you put into it, but what a customer gets out of it. That being said, high standards are especially critical when it comes to the team who is having conversations with the customers on a regular basis—your call center agents.
Exceptional call center leaders use a coaching philosophy to manage their teams. This is especially critical when it comes to leading a team of reps who are based out of their homes. When coaching a remote team, leaders must learn to help their agents maximize their performance by giving them the skills they need to become stronger learners. Just because at-home agents lack opportunities for in-person feedback doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to efficient and effective coaching.
Assess performance with the very best tools
Selecting and evaluating interactions randomly means you aren’t able to coach your agents up to their full potential. This approach can cause you to miss out on interference tactics you can leverage for those high-effort or negative customer interactions. Using AI-enabled speech analytics tools like Tethr allows leaders to assess 100 percent of interactions and to focus on the behaviors that empower agents to be successful. Tethr helps businesses unlock the hidden insights sitting in your customer call data and to better coach agents on the skills critical to providing great customer service.
Businesses are now using a scoring algorithm called the Agent Impact Score (AIS) to isolate an agent’s impact on perceived customer effort, by focusing on potentially damaging effects the agent may have on customer loyalty. With AIS, call center leaders can coach their agents on skills that are proven to produce impactful and timely improvements. AIS can provide color around the entire context of conversations agents have with customers, rather than focusing on one or two missed items from a QA scorecard. This enables supervisors to more easily identify areas where good agent behavior, such as advocacy, might be overwhelmed by poor language techniques such as hiding behind company policy, resulting in an overall poor customer experience.
AIS also allows businesses to shine a light on exemplary behaviors and to provide objective assessments and reflections on what positive agent interactions look like. They can take these insights and teach other agents to replicate the behaviors that result in those outstanding customer interactions. AIS can teach managers how to assist their reps on how and when to apply selective guidance or to dig a little deeper on certain issues.
Better your coaching by sticking to best practices
An agent work-from-home model means the way you coach is that much more important. Consider how each rep learns best and tailor your coaching to the individual. Remember the three types of learning styles? Visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners require different coaching strategies to pick up new skills in an efficient manner. If you aren’t sure what kind of learners your agents are, just ask. If they aren’t sure, you can have them take this assessment.
Face-to-face time is still vital and it can be replaced with video coaching sessions. Don’t forget to provide agent dashboards and libraries of best practices. No one should have to wait until their annual performance review to know where they stand. Coaching should be a regularly scheduled activity that continuously keeps team members aware of how they are doing, what they can improve on and what they can expect.
Make next steps clear
After a coaching session, leaders should set out an action plan with attainable steps toward measurable improvements. Ask the agents to summarize next steps to verify they understand what needs to be done and that everyone is on the same page. Make sure there is a way to track and manage the improvements agents are (or aren’t) making. Be sure to regularly follow-up with your team on these new goals. Coaching should never be limited to scheduled sessions and it’s a manager’s duty to coach their team through any barriers standing between an agent and their goals.
Call centers can increase productivity as agents adapt to change more quickly, improve agent engagement and upgrade customer experience. With quality as the number one ingredient, your business makes an investment in its future.