Coaching in the Call Center is WHAT’s MISSING!

I started training about 25 years ago and was too scared to say I wanted to coach every single person I trained.  I was new, I wanted to get jobs and not charge too much.  It was about 10 years before I built Call Center Coaching into the program where it always should have been anyway.  Every time I would teach an agent new ways, offer new solutions to old problems, they loved it when I demonstrated it in the classroom. But most of all they like to see me do it right on the telephone.  Most people felt that I made it look easy.  Maybe I did.  Let’s face it, I did this every day in a different place with a new product.  It was routine for me to teach and make up responses from customers.

Those responses became features and benefits and the way of handling objections became. Feel-Felt-Found.  My objective was to make learning simple.  What I discovered is that just because there is a simple plan does not mean everyone can execute the plan easily.

Now coaching is part of our training.  No one can deny that the results are much better when you first train and then coach.  It is the same in every endeavor that is skillful.  Sports are an illustration of that.  If you simply tell a person on a baseball team to swing the bat it doesn’t mean they will get a hit.  They may hit a foul ball and into the stands, they may hit it into the dirt or right at the pitcher.  What makes major league players first class is the coaching they receive.

Our call centers need big league coaching to match the first class training efforts.  This isn’t an option any more.  The people hired to do the job may not have experience or they may feel intimidated during training.  Certainly in some companies where the education of every representative is very time consuming and packed with computer  knowledge, product knowledge, sales training, customer service handling, call handling transfers and quality call requirements it is very difficult for the average person to absorb all of that before going on the telephone.

My advice these days is a little different from other trainers.  I think if I had all the time in the world, I would do the following. The best possible practice would be to teach and train your agents in this order.

  1. Teach About The Product, Services And Catalogues, Etc.
  2. Profile Your Customer And Teach About The Type Of Customer Who Buys Your Products Or Services.
  3. Demonstrate And Teach Computer Use And Technical Items
  4. After the Agent Has Been Working On Phones For About 3 Weeks
    • Sales Training – Soft Skills
  5. Coach Each Agent For An Hour A Week First 4 Weeks.
  6. Coach Each Agent 30 Minutes A Week Forever
  7. Monitor Three Calls A Month For Legal And Compliance Issues
  8. Meet On Quality Review Of Monitored Calls Once A Month
  9. Set Goals On Everything With A Timeline
  10. Review Goals And Set New Ones Each Coaching Session

Judy McKee