When Call Coaching – “Listen First”

Listen I spent the day call coaching CSRs. This was their first exposure to call coaching and my first exposure to working with them one-on-one. I began each session with some small talk, asking them about what they thought of their jobs. I then followed up with this question:

"If you were to give me your own self-assessment, what would you say you do really well on the phone with customers? What would you say are your weaknesses serving customers on the phone?"

I learn a lot from listening to their answers.

Most often, you find that people have a very accurate understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. When this happens, it makes your job easier as a coach. They’ve already said it. Now you can pick up on what they’ve already admitted. I can confirm their strengths ("You’re right. You do a nice job with your greeting!"). I can also spring board off of their admitted struggles ("You said you struggle with apologizing. I can hear that in your calls. Let’s talk about that. I’d like to help you.")

When people have misperceptions ("I’m perfect. I have no weaknesses." – don’t laugh – I’ve heard it many times), you at least go into the coaching session understanding that they exist. It then allows you to enter the coaching part of the session knowing the CSR’s mind and you can shift your delivery to address the CSR’s attitude.

When it comes to call coaching, I’m constantly reminded of the wisdom of St. James who wrote, "Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger."

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Niclindh

  3 comments for “When Call Coaching – “Listen First”

  1. November 15, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Tom – Great insight Tom. It’s so important to make coaching a two-way activity and to find ways to inspire people to “own” their performance. This is a simple, yet really effective way to do it.
    P.S. – I just did a 5 part series on coaching this week on my blog. What a coincidence!

  2. November 16, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Do your Call Center Consultants Hear Themselves?

    When preparing to train and coach existing employees, it is vital that they hear themselves.  Many people have never heard themselves recorded at work.  If you already record employees, pull up 3 of their last calls and let them listen.  Chances are…

  3. November 20, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Be Honest and Listen First

    Call Center Quick Tip: Be HonestIt is hard to deliver the news of an area where a representative may

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