Call centers have become an essential support system to telecom, e-commerce, banking, insurance and many other businesses. Many large multinationals are outsourcing call centre services to countries where there are abundant skilled resources ready to work for much lesser rates. While every business thrives towards cost-control in all aspects, quality is something none of them can compromise on. Since most of the call centers recruit fresher candidates, who are young and not quite qualified, the managers have to coach them properly to make them perform par excellence.
Here are a few useful tips that help mangers train agents effectively.
1.Set Smart and Practical Goals to Accomplish for Each Team
The very first step for coaching the call centre agents is to divide the agents into teams and set goals for each team. The team leader should be briefed about the goal and coached separately on how to lead the team and make them achieve the goal. Each member of the team must be given equal responsibility in achieving their individual milestones. They should also be coached on how to sync with other team members to achieve the team’s common goal. Draw up the plan breaking the target into smaller milestones considering the risks involved. The milestones should be practical and not too lenient. An unrealistic milestone will de-motivate them and a too easy milestone will not help them improve.
2.Consult with Managers and Peers
It is important to consult with the higher level managers as to understand what their goals and expectations are. The team of agents needs to be coached accordingly. The higher managers and peers may be in a better position to share their goals and strategies based on which the coaching manager can set the goals. The strategies can also be shared with the team and their managers. This is the most interesting part because, the approach to coaching has to be formulated based on proven and practical methods. The peers and managers can provide further insights into better coaching strategies from their experiences.
3.Listen to the Executives and Lighten the Atmosphere
Only a good listener will survive as a Call Centre Agent. So you as the coach should also be ready to listen to what the customers and the agents have to ask or say. A good sense of humor will definitely lighten the atmosphere and help build a trust among the fresh agents who may be already stressed out from learning new things and the tight schedule usually followed in the call centers. Moreover, they are dealing directly with the customers and need to be relaxed to be able to answer them politely.
4.Listen Together and Understand the Perspectives
Listen to the customer along with the agent to understand how they deal with different customers. This will let you know where the agents need to improve and also to share the positive aspects of handling the clients showcased by the agent. It will surely motivate them towards better productivity.
It is important to communicate the rules, regulations, tips, goals and feedbacks in a clear and simple language that can be understood by the young call centre agents. You can avoid jargons and complex terms which can make things ambiguous to the agents. Communicating via emails or letters will make sure that the agents receive them and also can refer them whenever needed.
6.Provide Honest Feedback to the Team Members
While positive feedback is always appreciated, there’s no point in providing one where there’s a lot of scope for improvement. At the same time, excellent performances need to be publically appreciated which will motivate them to stay on the right track and be more productive. So be honest when you provide feedback to the young agents. Be constructive if not always positive. Point out the faults and guide them to correct instead of harassing them over silly issues.
7.Review the Performance
Performance review is critical to understanding how well the coaching has been effective. During and after the coaching period, the manager must provide review assignments or attend to customers calls along with the agents to understand how well they have benefitted from the coaching schedule. You can follow up with these agents or their supervisors after the coaching is completed and they are placed in different departments of the call centre.
8.Follow up Closely
Coaching gets complete only when you follow up.As a coach and mentor, you have to follow up on each batch of call centre agents that you have coached even after they complete the coaching and start their actual job. It strengthens their trust on their coach and they will get back with doubts on solving some difficult customer problems. You can use this information to rework on your coaching sessions to improve them.
9.Provide Coaching when Required
As you follow up and review the performance of call centre agents or as new technologies are released, you can call for a coaching session to upgrade and enrich your agents which will motivate them and also make them equipped to use better technologies to become more productive. Through regular follow ups, the manager can decide on the coaching requirements and arrange them periodically for the call centre agents.
10.Keep Yourself Updated
If you have to coach the new agents, you have to be well-equipped with the latest technologies as they launch in the market. The managers have to keep their eyes open for emerging trends and technologies in the call centers and get upgraded periodically so that they can coach their agents efficiently.
The coaching manager has to keep in mind these aspects. An experienced manager will be prepared with these points. Listening and an aptitude to handle issues are what matters the most in call centers. It is more important to mentor and monitor them initially so that they can be confident and careful in dealing with the customers.