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How Performance Coaching Can Benefit Contact Centers

brick backgroundIf you ever thought that having a contact center quality assurance program alone can fix all your customer service problems, think again. While having an effective quality assurance program is paramount to ensure agents are hitting key deliverables, and a great way to evaluate performance, they are not always sufficient in driving sustainable improvements in agent performance.

According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a coaching culture is proven to be one of the most effective ways to increase employee engagement, enhance collaboration, achieve change management success, and improve both employee and team performance.

If you think about it, there is a strong possibility that your worst customer service rep will speak to your best customers more frequently than your CEO. Why then, should you leave coaching these team members to chance?

Performance coaching is a process that helps agents identify their strengths and weaknesses, set achievable goals, and receive guidance and feedback on their performance. It is an essential element of an effective quality assurance program because it provides a more comprehensive approach to agent development than traditional quality monitoring alone.

Before we look at some of the benefits of coaching, let’s look at a few facts about coaching:

  • Coaching is not a regular conversation.
  • Coaching not telling the associate what they need to do.
  • Coaching is not just for people who are struggling.
  • Coaching is not expensive. A lack of coaching is.
  • Coaching is an intentional, structured dialog between the coach (manager) and person being coached (associate), with a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed (SMART) action plan.

Here are a few reasons why it may be to the advantage of contact centers to add performance coaching to their quality assurance programs:

It can improve agent performance.

Performance coaching helps agents to identify areas for improvement and develop the skills necessary to provide better customer service. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction, reduced call handling time, and increased first-call resolution rates.

It can increase agent engagement and retention.

Performance coaching helps agents feel valued and supported, which can increase their engagement and job satisfaction. As a result, they are more likely to stay with the organization for longer periods, reducing turnover and the cost of hiring and training new agents.

It can provide data-driven insights.

Performance coaching provides valuable data on agent performance, allowing contact center managers to identify trends, make informed decisions, and adjust training programs to meet the evolving needs of the organization.

It can enhance the customer experience.

Performance coaching helps agents develop the skills and confidence necessary to provide excellent customer service, resulting in a better customer experience, higher customer satisfaction, and increased loyalty.

If you are new to coaching, you might find the idea complicated. How do you start? What do you say? What if the associate gets defensive? While these are legitimate concerns, there are a number of coaching models out there that can help simplify the process.

By investing in your agents’ development, you can create a culture of continuous improvement and drive sustainable results for your organization. As Seattle Seahawks football coach Pete Carroll once said, each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.

What role does coaching play in your organization? What do you do to enforce it?