I have been coaching all week in a client’s multiple contact centers. This is a client I have worked with for many years. I have coached most of their people since they first hit the floor. They are great teams, working for a great company, and they provide a high level of service on the phone.
Yesterday, I was taking a stroll down memory lane with a Supervisor. One particular Customer Service Representative (CSR) came to mind as we talked. This CSR was a hired a few years back, did an admirable job, but left the company shortly thereafter for multiple reasons. This was a wonderful person with a super personality who provided great service on the phone. But he hated to be coached.
According to his coworkers, when reminded that I was coming in for my quarterly call coaching visit, his entire demeanor would change. He became sullen and nervous. When our session would start I would customarily open the session with a little small talk. I really liked this person and, because his quality numbers were high, the session should have been positive and non-confrontational.
But the small talk was pained. He became non-responsive, face would flush, head bowed. No encouragement would assuage his insecurity. If he responded at all it was to get defensive about the one or two behaviors I mentioned which needed some improvement consistency-wise.
The CSR had a "personal firewall" as impregnable as the Great Wall of China. Nothing was going to penetrate it. It was a constant challenge and I admit that I never was able to breach his defenses. It saddens me to this day. He could not see the coaching experience as anything more than a personal threat or attack, when 95 percent of what I had to share with him was what a great job he was doing (complete with examples!).
We have a lot of QA specialists and Supervisors who coach CSRs reading this blog. Have you ever encountered a person like this? How have you been able to scale or breach "personal firewalls"?