We share ten tips for better using call centre coaching, which have been shared with us by industry experts.
Our Call Centre Coaching Video
The first five tips on call centre coaching are shared with us by our experts in the video below.
If you would prefer to simply scan the tips, they are also written out underneath the video.
1. Coach to Drive Behaviours
The number one problem that I hear when I speak to coaches is that they feel like they are not driving long-term performance.
These coaches feel like what they have coached on has been lost or forgotten by the time of their next one-to-one session or interaction.
When I look into that, so often I find that the root cause is coaching to a score and not driving a behaviour.
Look at quality programmes. Many quality conversations will analyse whether the advisor was within an acceptable “range” or whether they were hitting a score of 85% or above, for example.
Yet, the score is completely irrelevant if we don’t focus on the behaviours that are driving that score.
So, focus on coaching in one or two behaviours at a time and not the achievement of a score.
Thanks to Justin Robbins at CX Effect
2. Coach Your Coaches
Train your coaches to be better than your teams who are talking to customers.
You don’t want your coaches sitting there having general conversations that are all about asking questions like: “What do you think would be the best way of doing it?”
Instead, you should actually be showing people how.
While it’s is sometimes good to ask open questions like the above, it is important that your coaches know the answers.
I’m meeting lots of coaches who are coaching qualified but, when it comes to having great, purposeful and deliverable conversations with customers, there’s a job to be done.
Thanks to Natalie Calvert at CX High Performance
3. Understand What Good Looks Like
When coaching, it is really important to understand what good looks like and be ready to demonstrate that.
There is a big difference between “Do as I tell you” and “Watch me have a go and then we will review it together”.
Then, as a very specific call centre tip that follows on from that, think about “shrinking the change”.
Rather than having a list of ten or fifteen things to go through, work out what small change will have the biggest difference, pick that one thing and focus on it because it will provide a better outcome than trying to do the ten at once.
Thanks to Rob Clarke at Elev-8 Performance
Listen to Rob talk more about coaching advisors in the following episode of The Contact Centre Podcast, where we and Rob’s colleague Lee Jones discuss how best to deal with challenging customers.
4. Focus on Strength Spotting
With all performance management, call centre coaching included, it too often focuses on people’s weaknesses and trying to fix areas where they are not strong.
This approach is sometimes the opposite of the approach that you should be taking.
Often, finding what people are really good at, homing in on that and focusing on how you can harness their strengths, not just improve a weakness, can be a really good idea.
In many cases, when someone has a weakness, it is very hard for them to develop that into a strength.
Instead, focus on how you can improve by making better use of your people’s strengths.
Thanks to Dan Moross at MOO
5. Guard Against Defensiveness
It is really important to ensure that coaching is something that is seen as being collaborative and really supportive.
Ensure that there is no defensiveness from your advisors at all and that they understand that coaching is there purely to support them and help them to develop.
When you have got really strong teams, where there is a lot of trust, another element that can help is adding some peer review and peer coaching.
Having this in place can be really empowering and impactful, where advisors can learn from colleagues and better identify their own strengths and weaknesses.
Thanks to Sarah Morgan at Luceat Coaching
Learn how to guard against defensiveness and give great performance feedback by reading our article: 25 Performance Review Phrases for Customer Service
Our Second Call Centre Coaching Video
Here is a second set of tips for better using call centre coaching, which is ready to be shared with you.
These are once again written out below, for all of you who would like to further dissect each tip.
6. Be Wary of Personal Opinions
Be very careful of your personal opinion. I find that a lot of coaches bring in their personal opinions, telling advisors, “I think you should do this/that…”
This approach is a little risky because you are representing an organization and its brand, so I say to coaches that they have to leave their personal opinions at the door.
After all, personal opinions can confuse people.
The biggest gift that you can give to the team that you can coach is clarity.
Thanks to Daniel Ord at OmniTouch International
7. Create Acronyms
Task your advisors with coming up with an acronym for customer service. They will then go away and really break down:
- What is “great customer service”?
- What do I want our customers to say about our customer service?
- How do I want our customers to feel?
This is a really great activity to do in a Zoom or a Microsoft Teams meeting.
Send your advisors off into break rooms, come back and ask them: what have you come up with?
Thanks to Kim Ellis at Go Ginger
This fun coaching exercise is one of many that is included in our article: 9 Fun Customer Service Training Exercises
8. Plot Out a Reward Scheme
Learning isn’t easy, but having a tangible incentive for the advisor to strive towards will increase their desire to learn.
Now, I don’t think that many people will be surprised to learn that the reward that advisors would most like to have is time off the phone, but you can build a wider structure to say that if advisors hit certain coaching targets, then they will get a reward from it.
It’s all about creating a coaching programme that is personalized to individual advisors and also adding rewards for applying your key coaching principles.
Thanks to Jason Griffin at Five9
For more on creating a great contact centre reward scheme, read our article: How to Improve Your Employee Reward Schemes – With Examples
9. Invest in Your Coaches
I was on the board of a contact centre for about three years that had a true coaching culture. It was a really enlightening experience as to the value of having qualified coaches.
From team leaders up, everyone was coached from between Level 3 and Level 7 in contact centre coaching.
So, my top tip is to understand the value it would bring to your organization to invest in having some qualified coaches, if you haven’t already.
Thanks to Nerys Corfield at Injection Consulting
10. Coach in a Customer Focus
Ensuring that the wider customer experience is always part of the conversation, at every level, is important when having coaching conversations.
Support your leaders to drive customer-centricity and coach contact centre staff to embody a true customer focus.
Using customer-focused, interdepartmental key performance indicators (KPIs) will support operational performance in a wealth of ways.
Thanks to Katie Stabler at CULTIVATE Customer Experience by Design
For lots more advice from our ten experts, check out the following video articles: