Quality Assurance & Coaching for Success

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Quality monitoring programs often become fixated on QA forms; however, there are other necessary components that will assure you are getting the greatest value from your QA program, which is agent feedback and coaching. The coaching that happens in a call center is really what makes your Quality program effective. To create a truly effective Quality program, consider implementing some of the following ideas:
CallTalk Caramels

  1. Forms are fundamental, but coaching is critical. Both must be done really well.
  2. Prepare coaching sessions so that they encourage two-way communication. You need to allow agents to tell their side of the story and point to things they are proud of in their performance – – and identify areas they need to improve;
  3. Be sure your coaches are really well trained in their function. Consistency in the coaching function pays dividends.
  4. Partner with the agent, so that when areas of improvement are identified, they are accepted by the agent and an improvement strategy is developed.
  5. People who feel threatened, stop listening. Avoid “mind darts” in coaching sessions; be uplifting and use phrases that create a safe environment that will encourage true change in the agent.
  6. However, know when and how to say “That was not acceptable.”
  7. Understand your coaching process and its overall structure:
    • Know how much time it takes to go through each step of the process;
    • Follow up with active plans;
    • Be consistent so that every session covers the same, basic elements – this allows managers to develop metrics by which they can measure the success of coaching interactions;
  8. Leverage technology to develop dashboards and scorecards. Benefits include:
    • They reduce the time of preparation and the time needed for coaching;
    • They help deliver performance in an easy to understand format.
  9. Remember to manage your time: time is not adaptable, people are. Arrange the coaching process to optimize precious time.

Coaching and feedback are separate activities that are delivered together. Whereas feedback looks at what happened during a call, coaching deals with understanding behaviors, trends and setting action plans. Coaching also requires a strong relationship with the agent in order for it to be effective.

Most importantly, keep agents engaged. Agents who feel better about their work, work harder for their leadership and make the QA process a point of success for the center.

CallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore. “Caramels” distills “Aha!” moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.

This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kamál Webb. It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with Lisa Courteau entitled “Quality Assurance: Call Monitoring Your Agents Will Love”. To listen to the archived episode click on: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-newsresources/calltalk-online-radio-show/calltalk-archive/quality-assurance-coaching.

Those interested in Quality Assurance training may refer to The College of Call Center Excellence offerings found at: http://www.benchmarkportal.com/call-center-training

Tip of the Day: When providing Agents with feedback from a monitoring session, avoid criticizing. Partner with the Agent and ask for their help in trying to understand a better way to address the issue at hand.

Bruce Belfiore
Bruce Belfiore is Senior Research Executive and CEO of BenchmarkPortal, custodian of the world's largest database of contact center metrics. He hosts the monthly online radio show "CallTalk" and is chancellor of The College of Call Center Excellence. He has consulted for many Fortune 1000 companies, helping them to improve efficiency and effectiveness of their customer contact operations.

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