Impact Learning Systems


Call Center Coaching — How Far Do Responsibilities Go?

call center certification 2 Call Center Coaching   How Far Do Responsibilities Go?Some­one asked the other day if we thought they should hold their call cen­ter super­vi­sors account­able for the per­for­mance of their teams. This is a com­pli­cated ques­tion. Poor team per­for­mance can be due to a num­ber of issues:

  1. The agents don't have the knowl­edge or skills required to per­form the job.
  2. The agents can per­form the job, but choose not to.
  3. The super­vi­sors don't have the skills required to moti­vate and inspire their team to top per­for­mance and they don't have the author­ity to take cor­rec­tive action.
  4. The super­vi­sors do have the skills and author­ity but don't use them.

When agents and super­vi­sors don't have the proper skills, train­ing is usu­ally the answer, although poor hir­ing may also be a fac­tor. Call cen­ter super­vi­sors are often pro­moted from the agent ranks and unless they've had train­ing or had a great men­tor, my obser­va­tion is that they tend to super­vise as they were par­ented. As you can imag­ine, this doesn't always work well when man­ag­ing adults!

So if you want to hold your super­vi­sors account­able for results, you need to give them a trained team that is will­ing to do the job, equip them with the skills to lead and moti­vate their teams, and give them the author­ity to take cor­rec­tive action if required. If you want a top per­form­ing call cen­ter, how­ever, we sug­gest you take this a step further.

Just like you have a super­vi­sor to help an agent who is not per­form­ing up to stan­dard, you should have a per­son (or team of peo­ple) to help super­vi­sors who are not per­form­ing up to stan­dard. Whether you call these peo­ple mas­ter coaches, per­for­mance sup­port spe­cial­ists, or the help squad, they func­tion the same. When a team is not meet­ing stan­dard in terms of call qual­ity or met­rics such as call res­o­lu­tion, talk time, etc., a mas­ter coach works with the super­vi­sor to iden­tify where the prob­lem is, put together a plan to cor­rect it, and coach the super­vi­sor as he or she

imple­ments the plan.

We've helped a num­ber of orga­ni­za­tions cre­ate sim­i­lar pro­grams. At IEHP, the teams of super­vi­sors who received this type of coach­ing scored 37.5% higher on over­all mon­i­tor­ing scores than the con­trol group. One Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plan imple­mented a sim­i­lar pro­gram through­out their call cen­ter and moved their accu­racy scores from 25th place among all plans to 12th.

Would this coach-the-coach con­cept work in your call center?

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  • Smith

    I am a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor of your blog and I like read­ing call cen­ter arti­cle at your blog. Do you know that a call cen­tre pro­vid­ing the Government's National Flu Pan­demic Ser­vice for Eng­land has breached guid­ance for employ­ing under-18s by allow­ing 16-year-olds to work past 10pm, it has emerged.

  • Mads Singers

    Very good arti­cle, I really agree with what you high­light and hav­ing worked in the call cen­ter envi­ron­ment for more then 7 years I see more and more lead­ers that really lack the lead­er­ship skills needed to do the job and even large company's doesn't seem to invest in the proper train­ing and men­tor­ing for these.

  • Call Cen­ter Philippines

    Really nice post. Very good points. I hope plenty of peo­ple see it. Coach­ing has emerged as a new self-help ori­ented pro­fes­sion aimed at encour­ag­ing peo­ple to set goals and find ways to reach them. Coaches are a blend of advi­sor, friend, ther­a­pist, busi­ness con­sul­tant and career counselor.


  • Eva

    Yes true, I agree that we need more supervisors/mangers not to only coach their team but for the agent/associate to see their man­ager along side to see to it that the train­ing skills that are being taught to the mem­bers of her/his team are the strat­a­gies that he or she wants enforced or taught. Not only does that reflect to the agent/associate a true mean­ing that this is for real, it also has an impact of sup­port assur­ance that their man­ager for the depart­ment is not too busy to be part of what they are learn­ing. I myself have worked for com­pa­nies that give these Team Lead­ers' the right to train you, when they have no busi­ness char­ac­ter about them­selves; from their attire, their unpro­fes­sion in lan­guage, their atti­tude towards the busi­ness or other employ­ees, then there's the time when you sug­gest a new idea, and they look at you, like your totally out of your league. I for one can not stand to be taught by some­one who is not pro­fes­sional in their own way for the com­pa­nies sake at least, and then for that per­son to teach me the ropes, it's tuff enough to train, then com­ing from some­one who does not take it seri­ously is very bad. What gets to me the most is these Team Lead­ers are very intel­li­gent peo­ple, but they don't stand behind what they preach…

  • out­sourc­ing providers Philippines

    Great post. I agree that call cen­ter coaches often have to take on tasks that are beyond the job descrip­tion of a coach. How­ever, I believe that it is nec­es­sary to be a coach AND a friend AND a con­fi­dante in order to gain an agent's trust and help them reach their full potential.

  • Peggy Car­law

    Inter­est­ing com­ment, Julia. Cer­tainly hav­ing a good rap­port with your direct reports is impor­tant in gain­ing their trust. Being open and friendly, sin­cerely car­ing for your employ­ees' wel­fare, set­ting clear per­for­mance stan­dards, prais­ing as much as pos­si­ble, and treat­ing all agents fairly helps. How­ever, I find it to be a tricky bal­ance between coach and friend/confidante. Some agents enjoy build­ing per­sonal rela­tion­ships at work, while oth­ers pre­fer to just do their job and keep work and friend­ships sep­a­rate. If coaches are too friendly with some agents, the oth­ers inter­pret that as favoritism. How do you man­age that balance?

  • Chang Goebel

    Trust­ing some­one with your IT sup­port can be a mine­filed, make sure you check them out before going with them as it has got to be the most impor­tant ele­ment of any busi­ness today.

  • Vir­tual Agent

    It sounds like a pretty effi­cient method. Though I do feel like call cen­ters hire peo­ple way too fast. I don't mind that it's a great source for peo­ple to eas­ily get a job, but I'm just say­ing that maybe they should screen them longer and fas­cil­i­tate bet­ter tests to get bet­ter employ­ees as well.

  • Peggy Car­law

    I agree totally. And I see a move from com­pa­nies with in-house cen­ters to do more screen­ing and test­ing because they real­ize the cost of turnover. How­ever, it's hard for out­sourcers to do that, espe­cially business-to-consumer cen­ters. They oper­ate on pretty slim mar­gins and seem to feel that the the nat­ural turnover in an out­sourced cen­ter doesn't jus­tify the upfront cost to screen and test agents.

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