Tyranny of the Urgent Destroys Coaching Efforts

Tyranny_of_the_urgentI’m doing some mentoring for a client’s supervisors/call coaches this week. I’m observing them in their call coaching and providing thoughts, feedback and suggestions.  As with most call centers, call coaching tends to become a task that is quickly pushed to the back burner. The important task is overshadowed by the tyranny of the urgent task.

Too often, coaching gets pushed back until it all has to get done to meet some sort of monthly or quarterly deadline. As a result:

  • Analysis of the calls are cursory and rushed (and often inaccurate)
  • Coaching tends to be done in a hurried manner with coaches delivering a bullet-point monologue rather than getting into a dialogue about improving the customer experience
  • Supervisors avoid coaching all together by analyzing a call, sending the form with some comments to the CSR along with a message to "Call me if you have questions."

It becomes a classic example of going through a process just to say you’ve done it. It becomes ineffective and a large waste of time. Here are couple of ideas for managers to make sure that the important task of call coaching does not fall slave to the tyranny of the urgent:

  • Rather than having a monthly or quarterly deadline, give your supervisors or call coaches a daily or weekly report form. Sometimes people have to be held accountable to break the cycle of procrastination.
  • Set aside time in the daily/weekly schedule for the supervisor to do call coaching as uninterrupted time. Have other sups cover the floor and give them space (like a coaching room) to get away from the distraction of the floor to get it done.
  • Don’t just track if they did it – track the quality with which they do it.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and sunnyUK

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