Peter Laurie reports on 7 Quick Steps to agent coaching.With the best will in the world, agent coaching sometimes is neglected in the pursuit of answering ringing phones, achieving volume targets and many other tasks that agents are expected to do in a working day. For an outsider looking in it’s easy to think of Covey’s time management principles and various telephone coaching models that could improve what often can look like a disorganised stampede of call centre activity.
The fact is that if agents are not trained, mentored and coached effectively then lack of motivation, performance and quality generally result in a decrease in revenue-generating customers as they finally give up, tell all who will listen what a bad experience they have had and go to do battle elsewhere.
So how do you make a difference and build a team of motivated skilful agents in 15 mins flat?
Keep it simple yet effective with the 7 step coaching staircase:
1. Do your research
It makes sense that before you can attempt a useful coaching session with your agents you need to know where their strengths and potential areas of development are. Therefore I would suggest you listen to a selection of the calls of at least three of your agents before holding a coaching session.
2. Do not listen to calls in succession
Pick a few from different time slots to get a variety of calls across a week.
3. Consider business peaks and troughs and pick the best time to take 15 minutes with your agent.
Invite your agent into a quiet space, position the coaching process positively by explaining what the overall objectives are and discussing any incentives available. Then play back a call.
4. Ask your agent to take an objective view
Ask your agent to take an objective view and give feedback on the call, pointing out strengths and potential areas for development.
You will find that if you structure your sessions in this way your agent will be objectively critical towards their performance and bring up a number of areas that could be improved.
5. Build the agent’s ego
Build the agent’s ego a little by emphasising their strengths and then ask them to think of solutions they can implement to improve the area that needs attention. Use open questions and then silence to stimulate the agent’s creativity in thinking of potential solutions.
6. Question your agent through the pros and cons of each potential solution
Once all potential solutions are on the table question your agent through the pros and cons of each potential solution to establish the viability of each and agree the best one to move forward with. This must then be committed to an action plan.
7. Work on only one action during one coaching session
Work on only one action during one coaching session, putting multiple actions always dilutes a coaching session. Make it one action the agent can take quickly and commit strongly too. You can always come back and work on other areas later. A coaching plan without action is a cosy conversation; unfortunately cosy conversations, nice as they are, don’t help the bottom line.
Coaching is all about advancing step by step. Trying to jump to the top by putting all the steps into one coaching session will generally end in failure.
A small achievable step with high commitment ensures successes are regular and motivation high.
Peter Laurie, Power Partners Development