Coaching to behavior not a number....

How many of you look at your teams performance and realize it has to improve? You immediately start taking action and telling your team, they must hit 90% Customer Satisfaction by end of week, or need to reduct AHT by 30 seconds by end of month. How effective has this approach been?

Some of the Supervisors immediately went into alert mode and driving performance through candy or incentives to motivate agents to hit your end of month targets, but then the end of the month comes and you still made no progress.

You find so often in call centers this type of atmosphere.

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 or behavior 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. Which is the direct result of the common phrase, "hey we need to reduce AHT by 30 seconds by end of month" vs. focusing on the behavior that is driving high AHT.

So how can you help your Supervisors 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. What type of training have your Supervisors been given in how to effectively monitor calls and coach for "results"?
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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?

The 8 steps listed above are critical, it must come from the top down. Set the example, and follow through with your committment in coaching your Supervisors.