A Coaching Framework to Sail Through the Holidays

Let’s face it: the holiday season is stressful. All that cheer and joy comes jam-packed with lofty time management expectations and an added dose of expenses. Everyone has too little time and too many priorities. I blinked and we’re half-way through December.

But in the midst of scrambling to check off your extra to-dos, (don’t forget to pick up that Harry Potter LEGO set), you still have to lead a team.

Consistency is essential to your leadership. So even when your mind is on your list of gifts and the dish you’re making for your holiday party, don’t let your agents fall off your radar. Really, coaching when things are hectic can be even more valuable. You keep your agents on track and save metrics from sliding down a snowy hill. And, you serve as the resilient rock and ultimate resource your team needs.

As time speeds up and the holidays close in, keep coaching top-of-mind. Done well, your team will pull through the seasonal rush without a hitch and still have time to rejuvenate. To check one item off your to-do list, here’s a holiday coaching framework to power your next few weeks.

Determine your coaching cadence and manage your priorities.

Here comes one of the most difficult aspects of your job: time management. You have roughly three hours a week to coach your team. If you don’t think up a plan to use this time, those three hours will likely be sucked up by other tasks. Or, they’ll be shifted down on your priority list, only to be pushed to the next week. Then the next. Map out your weekly tasks and block out time on your calendar to review interactions and have 1-on-1s. Understandably, your responsibilities won’t be identical week-by-week. But, if you get your regular action-items on the books you can more adequately predict the time you’ll have to coach.

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Make your coaching short and sweet.

Once you have coaching pasted into your work schedule, make the most of the little time you do have available. Even reviewing interactions for 30-minutes of daily coaching positively impacts your agents. Then throw in some team meetings and 1-on-1 conversations, and you’ll be set. Squeeze more hours out of your week by delivering coaching moments to your agents’ queues. Use A.I.-powered software to flag interactions, and to send micro-learning lessons that coach agents on those flagged interactions. Leave comments alongside your agents’ call, chat, or video transcriptions. And, consistently deliver feedback that helps agents improve, or that helps them repeat contagiously-positive moments.

Want to make the most of the time you spend coaching? Pop over to Your How-To Guide to Coaching More Efficiently & Effectively!

Sprinkle in some extra positivity.

Just like you, your agents’ minds are probably zooming around a dozen priorities. Now’s the perfect time to toss in a few more compliments and keep your feedback on the lighter side. That way agent morale stays high and your agents can shift focus back to their jobs. As you dish out feedback and coaching moments, emphasize the 5-to-1 positive-to-negative ratio.

Particularly during stressful seasons, negative comments can heighten your agents’ stress and make it that much harder to keep their minds on work. Constructive feedback is crucial to coaching, of course, but be mindful of your word choice and how you frame feedback. It’s better to be a source of encouragement rather than adding another worry to your agent’s plate.

Pro tip: As you share feedback, ask your agents to reciprocate. Solicit genuine feedback consistently, and you’ll build trust and rapport that gives you credibility as a leader. That credibility paves the way for you to coach meaningfully and set a certain level of comfort with your agents. Then, they come to you during times of stress rather than tucking it away.

Don’t take the easy route.

While handing out the answers like candy canes might be the easiest (and quickest) way to help your agents solve tricky customer problems, it doesn’t help them grow. Plus, it’s bad for agent empowerment. Strike a balance between giving valuable feedback and handing your agents the answers. You want to develop your team, but sometimes that means acting as a resource when they seek help, not offering it up right off the bat. Trust your team to problem-solve on their own upfront. Then, they’ll be empowered to pursue answers before coming to you.

Keep tabs on your agent experience.

Check in with your agents and see how they’re managing the holiday frenzy. Keep pace with your team’s needs. See where you need to step in, so you can help them excel at work and still make the rounds to see the holiday light displays. Create dashboards and reports that dig into your agents’ efficiency, effectiveness, and empowerment metrics. That way you sum up their full experience at work with a single agent experience score. Delivering powerful insights into agent performance and total well-being. When you see certain metrics tracking low, you’ll know where to step in to help. And when you see scores jumping off the charts, you’ll know you have an agent who needs some praise. Giving them the motivation to replicate those chart-topping moments.

Now you’re ready to jump into the holidays in full-swing! Remember, even at your busiest, coaching your agents is always a priority.

Want to see the impact of neglecting coaching opportunities in your contact center? Head over to our blog on the missed opportunities of not coaching your agents.