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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Contact Center Coaching

You know that endless to-do list you have? The one with everything written down – from hiring new agents, to handling mounds of paperwork, and buying eggs at the grocery store? That’s the list we’re talking about. Most days, it’s too long and unmanageable, so bottom-of-the-list priorities shift from one day to the next, to the next. Until eventually, you let something slip for weeks without even realizing it. We know the boat you’re in.

That’s the experience for too many managers when it comes to coaching in your contact center. Right now, contact center best practices don’t talk about the right way to coach. Coaching exists as a way to hit KPIs, cross your T’s and dot your I’s, but it’s not as people-focused as it should be. And it’s not your fault. You have a to-do list with dozens of priorities, and traditional coaching methods are painful and time-consuming. But agents need, and crave, more frequent coaching to succeed.

Coaching boosts employee engagement

In a recent report, Oracle looked at the factors affecting employee engagement, and many of the top factors are impacted by HOW you coach. Leadership, performance, and talent development snagged top spots on the list. Forty-six percent of people surveyed said the key to maintaining high performance is regular assessments of how they’re doing. So, agents who get feedback regularly will outperform those who don’t.

Similarly, 47 percent of people say they are most successful when their leaders are available and approachable. Being available and approachable means agents trust you, so coaching can be conversational. Sending agents one-time assessments and crunching numbers to determine performance isn’t the way to be a successful coach. To be a successful coach, agents need to feel empowered to talk to you about their role.

Agents need better coaching, and you need more time. We know. Contact center coaching isn’t always pretty. But it’s always needed. So, let’s take a good, hard look at what it’s like right now, and what we can do to fix it. We’re spilling on the good, the bad, and the ugly of contact center coaching. We’ll start with the bad and the ugly because we like to end on a good note.

The Bad

Coaching is broken. The bad thing is, there are no contact center best practices designed to fix it. In its current state, coaching boils down to a few piled-together lessons that represent months’ worth of data and interactions. You sit down with your agent Gina for her bi-annual performance review, and you bring up that time she misspoke and shared a little too much about her eventful morning during a customer interaction (she was just being personable like you always tell her to be), but she doesn’t know if you’re referring to a conversation from August or October.

Rigid, infrequent coaching conversations mean your agents don’t get actionable guidance. They learn a few key points here and there, sure, but they can’t connect these points to specific examples for meaningful feedback. Agents need frequent feedback and training to continuously improve. The more you coach your agents, the more knowledge they’ll have to solve customer problems. In fact, there’s a positive correlation between number of agent training hours and First Call Resolution.

MetricNet found that agents who get more than 50 hours of training each year have higher than average FCR, but 61 percent of contact centers say they only train agents for 0-50 hours per year. And a majority of that training isn’t even related to customers interactions, it’s technical computer training. Agents need better, more focused training to improve performance and support your customers.

The Ugly

You don’t have time to coach. Remember, you spend more than twice as much time driving to work than you do coaching your agents any given week. And, you can pop a bag of popcorn and watch a movie in the amount of time you have to coach ALL of your agents each week.

Sixty-one percent of companies agree that coaching is the number one way to empower agents, but that doesn’t create more hours in the day. Better training ranks number two on the list as well. If we dig into the list of priorities to improve agent empowerment, you’ll see that a majority of those at the top of the list relate to coaching in some way. From better call monitoring to more robust knowledge management and eLearning, proactive coaching methods support each of these initiatives.

contact center best practices

You want to coach, and you know the impact it will have on your agents, but you don’t know how to make it happen with only three hours per week.

The Good

There’s a way to fix it. You CAN coach daily. In-line training and microlearning exercises become a part of your daily workflow, making it possible for you to share coaching moments with agents every single day. And, this type of training is even more impactful for your agents compared to traditional methods of reviewing stock-piled interactions and months of metrics. In-line lessons point out specific parts of an interaction where an agent needs to improve, or where they went above-and-beyond to help a customer. Feedback is immediate and actionable. In-line coaching rids you of your feedback Excel spreadsheets with timestamps and comments for agents to decipher.

See it in action.

The bottom line: coaching is broken, but you can fix it. Optimize your efforts and make coaching work for you, so you can take back your time and empower your agents.

See how you can use a magic mouse click to coach agents in is as little as one click!