Allocating Time and Resources in Call Coaching

A client called me yesterday to discuss some of the internal call coaching they are starting in their call center. The supervisor has limited time for coaching and has chosen to focus the coaching on just the Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) who are below goal.

Given the circumstances, I understand the focus on those who need a little extra motivation to improve their service delivery. If you're not careful, however, you'll end up with some of your best performers alienated and feeling left out. Everyone needs feedback. Everyone needs encouragement. Whenever you focus all of your time on one group of agents at the exclusion of another, there are all sorts of unintended messages sent and received. Some CSRs feel excluded while others feel that they are being singled out.

To minimize the damage, I suggest a few things:

  • Make sure everyone receives coaching and feedback, even if happens at different levels of intensity. You should still coach your best performers. They need to hear how they are doing. They need the affirmation and some one-on-one time. It will help them maintain, or even improve, on their already strong performance. You might coach your best performers once for every three or four sessions you have with your poor performers, but they still need to know you care.
  • Make call coaching a thread in the fabric of daily life in your contact center. Instead of doing ten sessions on one day every month, do one session a day for ten days. CSRs tend to feel a greater sense of anxiety when getting pulled off the floor for coaching is a "once in a while" event. If coaching is something that happens day-in and day-out, the opportunity for disproportionate fear and anxiety is lessened.
  • Communicate your plan of action to the entire team. Speculation is the root of all kinds of misunderstanding. In a team meeting, explain the plan so that everyone knows what is happening.

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