- Contact center agents need coaching to reinforce their contact center training
- The right contact center software is the foundation of effective coaching
- Market-leading contact center software allows supervisors to monitor, analyze, and meet one-on-one to improve agent performance
In Shakespeare’s play “The Twelfth Night,” Malvolio says, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.” When it comes to contact center agents, some might have great customer service skills before they start working for you, but contact center agent coaching creates truly great agents.
RingCentral has identified the top tips for contact center agent coaching so your agents deliver high levels of customer service consistently.
What is contact center agent coaching?
Contact center agent coaching helps agents develop their personal capabilities, interpersonal skills, and capacity to understand and empathize with others to deliver better customer service.
What’s the difference between contact center agent training and contact center agent coaching?
Contact center agent training and contact center agent coaching aren’t diametrically opposing concepts; on the contrary, they’re complementary. Contact center agent training should come first. Training is about transferring knowledge. Coaching, on the other hand, is about reinforcing skills. It bolsters the skills the agent learned during training.
How can you improve contact center agent coaching?
Here are some way to ensure effective contact center agent coaching:
- Use the right technology for coaching
- Cover as much as possible in training, so coaching builds off skills rather than trying to teach new ones
- Empower agents with the right resources
- Schedule one-on-ones with employees at an interval that works best for everyone
- Set benchmarks with analytics
- Encourage agents to collaborate with their coworkers
Use the right technology for contact center agent coaching
In a traditional contact center, you could sit down with an agent face-to-face and offer them tips for improvement. That’s not necessarily possible today; because many contact center agents are working remotely, managers don’t have the opportunity to sit down with agents in person.
To coach agents working remotely, you need the right technology. Contact center software with unified communications functionality enables you to connect through telephony, chat, and video conference. You can easily schedule coaching sessions via one or more of these channels.
Additionally, market-leading contact center software features built-in supervisor tools to make it easier to coach, including:
- Agent monitoring
- Whisper coaching (the agent can hear you during a call, but the customer can’t)
- Barge-in functionality (the supervisor can join the call if necessary)
With these tools, supervisors gain a deeper understanding of how agents are performing so they can take steps to improve their customer service.
Make training more effective
Contact center agent training creates a foundation for agents. During training, agents learn the skills and knowledge they need to succeed on the job.
If there are gaps in training, supervisors might think they can coach their way out of the situation. However, if agents didn’t learn a skill during training, coaching won’t help.
Review your training practices to ensure they’re comprehensive and teach agents what they need to know so they can deliver the best possible customer service. Excellent training will lead to less coaching because agents will know what they need to do and how they need to do it.
Empower agents with the right resources
In addition to making training more effective, empowering agents with the right resources reduces the need for coaching.
There will be times when an agent doesn’t remember something from training, or they’re just not familiar with a procedure. A knowledge base in the cloud will be accessible for employees working remotely as well as those on-site.
Additionally, integrations with business applications help. For example, an agent that has access to the CRM will understand a customer’s history better than one who doesn’t have that information.
Schedule one-on-ones with all agents
There’s another difference between coaching and training: training can be delivered to a large group of new agents. Coaching, in contrast, is something that a supervisor should do with one agent at a time.
When you coach an agent, you’re discussing performance issues that should be private. You don’t want to bring up those issues in front of a large group. It would damage the agent’s confidence as well as cause that employee to lose trust in you.
The right contact center software lets you hold one-on-one video conferences with agents so you can create a positive coaching environment. Set up a coaching schedule with your agent so that you can track their performance and ensure improvement.
Set benchmarks with analytics
Analytics are a crucial feature in contact center software. They measure a number of vital metrics. Moreover, they also help supervisors set benchmarks for agents to achieve.
Let’s say your agent Ruby has a low first contact resolution rate. You want her to boost it to the level of her colleague Jim, who successfully resolves nine out of ten customer issues during the first interaction. By setting a benchmark, you give agents achievable goals toward which to work.
Encourage agents to collaborate with their coworkers
Coaching and training can sometimes be informal (although it shouldn’t replace training and coaching from a supervisor). More experienced agents can take newer agents under their wing and provide valuable advice.
In a remote contact center, this can be a bit challenging because an agent can’t sit down with their colleague over a break to discuss something. However, with the right tools, agents can collaborate with one another through video conferencing, telephony, and chat. They can share screens and files to ensure newer agents have the knowledge they need to do their jobs.
RingCentral’s contact center software makes contact center agent coaching easy and effective
RingCentral’s contact center software has the features and capabilities supervisors need to effectively coach their agents. Thanks to flexible communication channels and manager tools, supervisors can monitor, assess, and provide feedback to agents. To learn more, get a demo.
Originally published Dec 20, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022