Is your customer service team representing your business to a high standard? Are your agents leaving consumers satisfied enough to stay loyal and recommend your products / services?
As a manager or team leader responsible for overseeing a customer service (CS) department, you should have an answer for each question. And if that’ a ‘no’, you need to take action — right now.
Even the strongest CS team may make small errors that affect customer satisfaction, but that’s riskier than you might realize when just one negative experience is enough to chase 33 percent of consumers away to a competitor.
Coaching sessions are fundamental to building the best customer service team you possibly can. But how do you know which coaching keypoints to actually focus on?
The Importance of Evaluating Interactions and Results
A quality assurance program is a must for every business’s customer service team. Monitoring and evaluating customer interactions gives you a direct insight into the type of experience your agents deliver.
By measuring employee performance based on specific metrics, you’ll see just where your company’s letting customers down — and what you can do to change that and boost management awareness.
Identifying coaching keypoints and taking action
Certain reps in your CS team will achieve better results than others, but their performance might lack in different ways. For example, they could be a little less productive than their colleagues or be less engaged by their work.
Whatever the issue, your coaching sessions should be tailored to each employee’s individual performance. You can incorporate their results into sessions along with audio and visuals, highlighting areas demanding attention.
Let’s say one agent has a habit of typing too quickly during live chats and leaving customers struggling to understand their hastily-composed messages. Adding a copy of a live chat transcript to a coaching session makes addressing this problem quicker and easier than trying to explain it without evidence.
There could be a number of factors behind the rep’s lack of care when interacting with customers. Maybe they feel under too much pressure to maintain a high rate of productivity or worry they’ll face disciplinary action if they’re too slow to resolve interactions.
Either way, this reflects poorly on your (and others’) approach to management and draws attention to what could be an overlooked issue. Coaching keypoints would touch on the employee’s concerns and encourage them to focus on clarity and engagement, rather than sacrificing the customer’s experience to maintain their productivity.
In this instance, the manager’s and team leader’s view of their methods would be enhanced — making the coaching sessions just as beneficial for them as for the agent. Good performance-measurement and effective data-analysis can lead to breakthroughs like these, but coaching sessions can’t be a one-and-done solution: they must be an ongoing process.
Why Consistency Matters in Coaching Sessions
67 percent of customers say their standards for good service have grown higher than ever, while more than half claim the majority of companies fall short of their expectations.
This means taking a complacent approach to managing your customer service team and management awareness is a big mistake: just because the business seems to maintain a loyal audience now doesn’t mean that’s going to stay the same for years to come.
Without regular performance measurement, coaching and management awareness, your agents’ standard of work could slip without you even realizing.
Coaching sessions have to be consistent and ongoing for maximum effectiveness. Keeping track of workers’ results over weeks and months makes it easier to determine relevant coaching keypoints from a manager or team leader’s view.
While you may help one customer service agent overcome a challenge (such as failing to seize upsell opportunities), this might not be a permanent change.
If they start to fall into the same trap again, you would have to take action to correct the problem a second time. You would be able to refer back to previous coaching sessions and discuss them with the agent, touching on possible reasons for their drop in performance before trying to move forward.
Hopefully, your shared experience of dealing with the issue before would help to make this process simpler, especially when first addressing coaching keypoints. But you would still need to be careful when providing feedback from a manager’s or team leader’s view: this is a crucial part of coaching sessions, and if you do it wrong you could cause further problems.
Feedback and setting goals
Present the customer service rep with data and evidence showing where they’re going wrong. But it must be constructive and focus on how you’ll help them get better results — if you take a harsh stance when delivering feedback, you could inspire resentment and a refusal to actually take advice on board.
When creating coaching sessions, management awareness of the employee’s capabilities is vital: think carefully about the targets you want the employee to hit and how long they should have to do so. You need to be fair when establishing deadlines — allow workers time to grow and adapt to new techniques.
Providing clear objectives and deadlines helps motivate agents to improve, instilling the drive they need to perform better. Measuring the rate at which employees manage to improve their performance makes setting goals and deadlines easier, so always track progress.
Assessing performance across all aspects of employees’ daily work (their response rates, average length of interactions, the Customer Satisfaction Scores they earn etc.) ensures you stay connected to the standard of CX they provide over time.
Gathering data related to performance makes it easy to build tailored coaching sessions for each agent. With a manager or team leader’s view, you’ll be able to take a more individualized approach to improving your customers’ experience.
With enough time, effort and commitment, your coaching sessions can lead to ongoing improvements across your entire customer service team. Follow the tips explored above to build a coaching process that achieves the results your business needs to keep its audience satisfied.
What’s your experience of creating coaching sessions for your customer service team and how do you identify what to focus on? Let us know!