Why Agent Coaching is the Key to Customer Loyalty

Agent-Coaching-Depositphotos_44165767_sMichael Jordan had Phil Jackson. Walter Payton had Mike Ditka.  Look at any great athlete, and you probably see a great coach.  But it’s not just athletes.

Former CEO Brad Anderson used multiple coaches as he drove Best Buy to new heights. According to a 2013 study by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Standford Graduate School for Business, over half of corporate senior executives are receiving some form of coaching.  Yet, it’s unfortunately all too rare for the people who directly impact your customer loyalty – your call center agents.

Now, of course managers will “coach” their teams on how to improve. But all too often these managers were taking calls themselves not that long ago.  And nobody really taught them how to be a coach.  For some organizations, it’s easier to create a training program than to try to turn their managers into coaches.

Unfortunately, this ends up hurting the organization. While training feels good, and rationally it should make a difference, the CEB found otherwise (notes from CEB study).

Interventions have the most impact when they’re immediate, which is why coaching works so well.  Large-group training by definition happens at regular interviews – not necessarily when the rep needs it most.  But effective coaching reinforces behavior on a regular basis, offering course corrections in near-real time.

But not all coaches are created equally, and it comes more naturally to some than others. Rather than leaving it to chance, you need to develop a method to evaluate and coach your coaches to determine how they’re doing today, and how they can best improve.

That’s why I was glad to be given a copy of Intradiem’s “A Checklist for Evaluating Your Coaches” (link).  It offers a great tool to help determine whether your coaches are following best practices, rather than simply acting intuitively. Take the time to observe a coaching session, and see whether your coaches are following best practices.

And if they aren’t?  Then it’s probably time to coach your coaches.

This post was originally published by Intradiem

1 reply
  1. Rob jackson
    Rob jackson says:

    Great blog post Jim. When done right, just about everyone is open to coaching assuming one of their goals is to improve their personal performance. Here’s a coaching tip for supervisors of contact center agents. Include a recording of an interview with the customer (telephone survey) within an hour or two of the original call when the agent will still remember the call. Combine this with a recording of the inbound call and a QA review and you have a true 360 degree understanding of what happen on the call.


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