Today I’d like to share with you a guest blog post from Melissa Kovacevic, President and Founder of CommPlan Consulting. Melissa consults with Contact Center and Customer Service management on ways to improve People, Process and Technology and specializes in Coaching with Coaches
A Quality Assurance Manager I once worked with had a great explanation for what was happening with some of the Coaching going on in their Call Center. He said there was a lot of focus on Coaching “activity” and not on Coaching “results”. He was right.
Some of the Supervisors and Quality Assurance folks were waiting until the end of month and then doing a mad dash to get the number of required calls monitored. They also rushed through coaching sessions, just to check off as completed. One even did long distance coaching where they simply placed the monitoring information in the Agent’s desk file and said “Let me know if you have any questions”. The assumption of that Supervisor was that the long time Agent didn’t really need any coaching but could figure it out themselves!
Many were simply giving Agents feedback on what they needed to improve in, but not spending the time to actually analyze with the Agent why the skill was a problem, discuss how they could fix it and then practice the skill with them. And for some, follow-up was non-existent…until the next month’s coaching activity was due. Agents making improvement were receiving no encouragement in between formal coaching sessions.
Coaching should be a priority. But unfortunately for many, it’s seen as a drudge. Something that needs to be done to meet a goal set by upper Management. Supervisors often tell me how tired they are of coaching the same things over and over only to have the Agent show no improvement. When I question further, I usually find it’s because the Coach knows how to do the Coaching activity, but not the kind of Coaching needed for results.
So how can you help your Supervisors and QA have the “right” Coaching attitude and get results. Just as they need to analyze why an Agent skill is an issue, you need to do some digging too:
- How are your Supervisors spending their day? Do some basic time/task observation and recording to find out what is really going on with their daily activities.
- What are you doing as a Manager to free Supervisors from activities that aren’t productive or aren’t related to Customer Experience quality & Employee Development? Can you help them find more time to coach?
- Are you leading by example? How are you Coaching them on their own Customer Service skills and Leadership skills? Are you the best Coach that you can be?
- What type of training have your Supervisors been given in how to effectively monitor calls and coach for “results”?
- Observe the Coaching sessions they conduct. Are they lecture or interactive? Does the Agent appear to understand the missed opportunities in the call? Does the Supervisor know how to deal with defensive Agents or those who make excuses. Or are they avoiding conflict? Is there enthusiasm for Coaching?
- What expectations have you set for the Supervisor to work with the Agent after the Coaching session in order to help the Agent improve? Have they committed to do side-by-side calls, call demos, role play or other “homework” to help the Agent.
- What kind of Monitoring and Coaching reporting do you have in place? How often are you meeting with each Supervisor to review calls, Agent progress, help them with challenging Coaching situations?
- How are your Supervisors rewarded and motivated for the success they have in Coaching? What kind of feedback are they getting from you regarding their Coaching skills? How enthusiastic are you about Coaching?
I truly believe that as skill Coaches we need to Discuss with Them, Show Them (demo), Observe Them, and then Reward Them for any progress made. As their Manager, you need to practice the same great Coaching skills with them.