Are you in charge of a call center? If you are, you’re probably constantly on the lookout for information that will teach you how to improve call quality in your call center. One of the best ways you can improve call quality is by learning to provide effective, meaningful feedback to your call center agents.
Too often, feedback isn’t fun to receive — or deliver. Providing feedback doesn’t have to be something you or your agents dread, however. Instead, giving and getting feedback should be something you and your agents look forward to because it will drive all of you toward common goals: improved call quality and better overall and individual performance.
Some call center coaching styles make it difficult for managers to deliver effective feedback that will create lasting changes in an employee’s behavior. If your style is to give feedback in the form of a compliment that’s followed by a criticism and then another compliment, for instance, it may make it easier for you to deliver your message, but your style may dilute or even negate your message entirely.
If your coaching style isn’t inspiring your agents to make the changes they need to make to improve their performance, there are some call center agent coaching techniques you can employ to make your feedback more meaningful. To provide effective feedback for your call center agents, consider incorporating the following techniques into your coaching style:
If you use our call center software, you’ll be able to monitor your agents’ calls in real-time. When you hear an agent make a misstep during a call, you should offer advice about how your employee could have handled the call differently as soon as possible to increase the odds that a similar mistake won’t happen in a subsequent call. Similarly, if you overhear an agent do something exceptional during a call, you should provide immediate feedback even if it’s in the form of a thumbs up to reinforce the behavior. Don’t limit giving feedback to an occasional event such as an annual performance review. Instead, make it a daily practice you use to motivate your agents to improve every day.
While negative feedback should almost always be shared in private, you can still give feedback in an environment that’s comfortable for your agents. The right setting can put your employees at ease and make them more receptive to what you have to say. Rather than calling an agent into your office, why don’t you share your feedback as you accompany the individual to the break room?
Be specific when you’re giving feedback regardless of whether it’s positive or negative. Instead of telling your agents they need to bring their calls to a quicker resolution, tell them that they need to finish their calls within a specific number of minutes on average.
Our call center software makes plenty of qualitative and quantitative data available to you. Use the metrics, customer feedback and call recordings our software provides as the source of your feedback and share them when you’re coaching your agents.
Coaching should be a two-way street, meaning it should be an ongoing conversation between you and your agents. When you’re giving feedback, listen to your agents. There may be a reason they do things a certain way even though it violates your company’s policy — a reason you need to know about so you can address it. Once you’ve discussed the behaviors you want an agent to change, work with them to create an action plan to bring about the desired changes. Be sure the plan has start and end dates and quantifiable goals you and your agent agree on.
Whether you’ve shared a few comments with an agent en route to the water cooler or you’ve had a sit-down meeting behind closed doors, be sure you follow up with the person after you’ve shared your feedback. This will not only give you the chance to see if the person is making the changes necessary to improve their performance, but it will also demonstrate you care about how they’re progressing toward their goals. It will give you the opportunity to continue the conversation that needs to be ongoing between a coach and their team as well, and that truly makes feedback effective.
One easy, effective and comprehensive way to ensure that all of your call center agents are evaluated fairly is to score them based on a set rubric. When all your agents know what they’re being assessed on, expectations are clear, which improves morale and provides a clear path for improvement.
Your rubric should cover every aspect of the call. Let’s take a look at some of the points you may want your evaluation rubric to cover.
When you provide constructive feedback to your call center agents on a regular basis, you’ll see improved call quality, better lead conversions and increased customer satisfaction. In turn, this will lead to increased employee morale and retention, meaning your call center agents will stay on the job longer and have more experience answering calls and assisting customers. That’s a win-win-win situation — for you, your agents and your customers.
To learn about the features of our call center solutions and how the data they provide can help you deliver more effective feedback for your call center agents, contact EVS7 today.