Best Coaching Strategy for Underperforming Agents in a Contact Center


Do you want your employees to outperform your competitors by 202%? Then all you need is a team of engaged employees. This is what a report by Gallup, an American research-based, global performance-management consulting company, said. In addition, research by Forrester shows that “only 31% of organizations closely monitor the quality of interactions with target customers.” However, if organizations focus on periodic training, first call resolution is expected to be 65% vs. 58% for organizations that don’t, says Parature. So, the top three drivers for investing in customer experience management are improved customer retention, enhanced customer satisfaction and increased cross-selling and up-selling.

Tips for Successful Performance Management

Speech Analytics can enhance the performance level of contact centers manifold. It allows you to identify calls that can be managed better, indicates the scope of First Contact Resolution and reduces customer churn, while enabling you to increase sales and collections by sharing best practices. Here’s a look at some other effective ways to managing the performance of your team:

Identify training needs:

List down all the parameters that impact the performance of  call centre agents or that enhance the customer service experience. Assess your agents based on these parameters. Decode the performance issue in terms of low call rate, inability to identify customer needs, failure to build rapport with the customer, inability to explain the benefits or reasons for recommendations, and not sharing key information with the team or clients. Based on the analysis, craft a training requirement sheet.

Optimize call routing:

With customer feedback surveys, you can identify the competency gap that affects the performance level. For instance, if lack of product knowledge is why the agent is unable to provide the required information to clients, the call duration will be high and the customer-satisfaction rate low. So, get a call routing facility in place that identifies the time gap and re-routes the query to an experienced agent. This way underperforming agents don’t hurt the customer experience, while getting their training needs highlighted.

Align incentives with the metric that matters:

Contact center agents, will focus on their key result areas (KRA), which justify their compensation. So, draft their KRA meticulously and review their average handle time, so that they work to get customers off the phone. The parameters on which they are judged will determine the customer experience level.

Create a Voice of Agents (VOA) box:

Allow agents to communicate their issues, both personal and professional, anonymously via this box. Let the issues reach the concerned department and get resolved as soon as possible.  The level of emotional fitness at the contact center also impacts the performance level.

Reward performance and effort:

Closely monitor the agent’s effort in terms of customer satisfaction and reward the performance. Make sure the rewards are not just monetary but social as well.

Listen to live calls, provide feedback and conduct mock sessions:

Make it a point to listen to random live calls of your call center agents and analyze their response vis-à-vis customer satisfaction. Provide your inputs and conduct mock sessions to check on improved efficiency levels.