How to Achieve Excellent Customer Service Through Coaching

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We uncover how you can coach your contact centre team to deliver excellent customer service.

Understand What Your Customers Want

Understanding what your customers want is easier said than done, but there are a few models out there – developed through practice – that will help you on your way.

One such example is Nick Drake-Knight’s customer experience model, which is conveniently entitled “What Customers Want“. This model follows the simple equation that is shown below.

A picture of the "what customers want" equation

You can apply this logic across your customer experience, but you can also strip it back and use it to define performance standards and build quality assurance (QA) scorecards. You can than ensure your coaching programme matches up to scorecard.

If you can do this, you can start to build a customer service proposition that reflects “what customers want”.

For more on the topic of creating contact centre quality scorecards, read our article: How to Create a Contact Centre Quality Monitoring Scorecard – With a Template Example 

Define Your Performance Standards

To achieve excellent customer service, it can be best practice to create a set of explicit standards for advisors to follow and self-evaluate, through coaching – as highlighted in the previous point.

These standards can be split into five key areas, as highlighted below:

  1. Environment – How do we expect advisors to prepare and maintain their workspace?
  2. Process – What kind of processes do we expect the team to follow?
  3. Knowledge – What kind of knowledge do we expect advisors to have about products and processes?
  4. Behaviour – What do we expect from in terms of behaviour – both verbal and non-verbal? The latter is also important, as posture can play a key role in how messages are relayed to customers.
  5. Values – Do we have any organizational values or cultural expectations that need to be put into place?

By making these standards explicit, describing them in the form of training, we achieve the first step in achieving our vision of excellent customer service.

Unfortunately, having a set of standards on their own is of limited value. Unless they are delivered, then they are just words. We need to make sure that the standards are not only in place, but they happen and are delivered consistently across the contact centre.

To achieve this we need a combination of hands-on leadership and training. But, according to Nick, the problem with training is that it has a short “half-life”.

Training, on its own, has limited long-term impact. The key is to achieve sustainability within the delivery of those explicit standards…

“When it comes to training, especially soft-skills training, it is like wet mud on a wall – it slides off immediately. Training, on its own, has limited long-term impact. The key is to achieve sustainability within the delivery of those explicit standards,” says Nick.

To achieve sustainability in terms of advisors meeting your performance standards, we may need to rethink our whole approach to contact centre coaching.

Rethink Your Coaching Approach

When we coach advisors, we will ideally be reviewing and looking to improve their performance through three channels:

1. Recorded – Often referred to as “quality monitoring”, this involves listening through historical calls and assessing how advisors performed with respect to our performance standards.

2. Observed – This involves sitting next to an advisor as they take calls – observing their posture, how they navigate systems and perform in-the-moment.

3. Reflective – We can ask people, through formal and informal discussions, to reflect on their performance over recent days and weeks regarding key parts of our performance standards.

Across each of these channels, we want to coach our people in a way that builds up their egos and confidence, so they can celebrate the things that they have already done well. We want advisors to be enthusiastic about better meeting our performance standards.

We want to coach our people in a way that builds up their egos and confidence, so they can celebrate the things that they have already done well.

There are a number of contact centre coaching models out there that will help you to do this – but the one that we’re going to focus on here is Nick’s Continue and Begin Fast Coaching model.

This approach is focused on helping advisors build on the success that they have already achieved before we start talking about further improvement.

So you start by helping your advisors feel good by asking them to reflect on their successes and what they would like to continue to do well. This is before nicely bringing in a couple of elements that the advisor can begin to do – to even better meet performance standards. Make sure you explain that purpose.

Watch how you can use this approach in the following video:

Implementing a method like this can take you away from giving feedback and towards real coaching.

The model also allows us to share our thoughts in an “advisor-friendly” way, which is the first step in getting them to enjoy coaching, not to dread the sight of you and a quality scorecard.

Author: Robyn Coppell
Reviewed by: Megan Jones

Published On: 10th Jun 2020 - Last modified: 18th Mar 2024
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