A core component of contact center AI is not just the tech stack to improve the day-to-day work of the contact center. It’s giving contact center managers effective tools to lead their teams through education and coaching. One contact center has been able to use Level AI’s Agent Assist™ to see where they have been diverting from chat protocols and adjust their processes accordingly — all autonomously and continuously.
Contact center agents require so much more than onboarding training. The modern consumer landscape is ever-evolving, and agents need personalized coaching to adapt.
Let’s explore what we really mean by “customer service coaching” and its role in your successful CX strategy.
What Is Customer Service Coaching?
Customer service coaching is a type of quality management that emphasizes coaching for call center agents. The goal is to help agents grow within their roles and help the company achieve greater customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Coaching customer service is an ongoing process. It is a give-and-take, using all the tools at your disposal to analyze your team’s progress and give agents actionable feedback on their performance.
In customer service coaching, mentoring not only benefits the agent or the customer — it improves the experience for everyone.
- Agent benefit: provide personal, prompt, precise, and proactive feedback
- Customer benefit: nurture customers from one-time purchasers to loyal customers to brand advocates
Customer Service Coaching vs. Training
Coaching and training in customer service are terms often used synonymously. But there are some crucial differences between the two.
Customer service training is one-time, one-size-fits-all training, including:
- Onboarding training
- One-time upskilling on a specific topic
- A checklist
Customer service coaching is ongoing and part of company culture. It often incorporates personalized feedback and training, a skill gap unique to the individual. This includes:
- Customer interaction reviews
- 1:1s between agents and managers
- Scheduled performance evaluations based on collected and analyzed data
Why Is Customer Service Coaching Important?
Many companies and their call centers solely perform one-time onboarding training and call it a day. How can ongoing customer service coaching make a difference for today’s customers and your agents?
The modern customer
Eighty-eight percent of high-performing customer service leaders are making significant investments in agent training, compared to only 57 percent of underperformers.
Creating a good experience for customers is no longer enough to create brand loyalty. Companies need brand advocates who yell your brand’s name from the rooftops to achieve sustainable growth in today’s market. And the only agents who can do that are those that grow in a culture of coaching.
Between fewer call center agents and more customer questions, agents feel overwhelmed. In fact, 93 percent of customer service teams believe that customer expectations are higher than ever before. But with contact center teams shrinking every day, how can call center agents meet growing customer expectations?
By coaching your agents, managers can improve contact center productivity without sacrificing quality.
According to a recent Gallup survey, only 36 percent of employees feel engaged in their work. But that’s not without motivation to be engaged. Employees want to learn new skills and receive training to reach new heights in their work. In fact, 74% of workers are willing to learn new skills or re-train to remain employable.
Coaching employees helps them feel that they have more value and opportunity in their careers than picking up the phone.
Establish a culture that understands the value of the customer, as well as the value of each individual team member and their place at the company. This helps agents have greater customer empathy and feel valued within the organization.
5 Elements of an Effective Customer Service Coaching Session
Contact center managers will want to adjust their approach to customer service coaching to meet each agent’s unique needs. Here are some tips for providing effective coaching sessions with actionable tasks for improving performance.
- Set a hard date. Naturally, customer interactions come first in a contact center, which means time for customer service coaching with your agents inevitably falls to the bottom of the list. But your agents deserve the time and attention to learn how to improve. Set a firm date and time for your coaching session — and stick to it.
- Establish an agenda. Every agent, and person, suffers from the fear of a mysterious meeting. Create and share a clear agenda with your agent to eliminate any anxiety in advance of the customer service coaching session. This also helps them prepare with questions and comments.
- Come with data. It’s not enough to only tell your agents what they need to do; you need to be able to explain to them why. Being prepared with data to support their successes and failures helps them understand not only the “what” but the “why.” For example, you might tell an agent to be more positive when talking to customers. Instead, provide them with data proving the success rates of calls with more positive affirmations.
- Discuss the good and bad. While your agents may have several areas for improvement, it’s also important to help them feel valued by discussing their successes. Start by emphasizing the agent’s strengths with customer interactions (again, utilizing collected data). Then ease into elements of their customer service techniques that need improvement.
- Provide clear action items. A customer service coaching session won’t have any value if your agents don’t know what to do or change upon exiting the session. You might tell your agent that they need to decrease their average handle time (AHT) by 3 minutes. Instead, explain how they can decrease their AHT by using internal databases to answer customer questions faster.
4 Steps to Implement a Customer Service Coaching Program
Every team is different, and therefore every customer service coaching program will look a little different. However, we’ve compiled four steps that are essential to get the most out of your customer service coaching program.
1. Coach the coaches
In order for coaches to connect with their agents, they need to have experienced the coaching program themselves. Once the coaching material has been designed, don’t deliver it straight to the agents. Train your coaches first so that they are able to learn the material and deliver it in a way that is most effective for a variety of learning styles.
2. Use dynamic resources
As technology around the world has upgraded, so have the ways people like to learn. For example, employees today are 95% more likely to recall knowledge delivered via video than text alone.
To deliver the most memorable coaching material, your employees need to learn in a dynamic, interactive format. Create each customer service coaching module in different styles to keep agents engaged by the delivery.
“Nowadays, just like you can audit calls, you can listen in on training sessions. And you can use tech to make training faster and more standardized to give new hires tips on how to handle calls.”— C-A De Magistris, VP of Operations, Lifeworks
3. Provide practice opportunities
A customer service coaching solution provides managers with a call center agent performance scorecard. Our call center quality management software offers “agent recording,” so call center leaders can see the specific ways in which agents need assistance.
With this data, managers can provide practice opportunities for agents:
- Customize your coaching to address the specific skills that need improvement
- Sit down with the agents and create fictional scenarios for them to practice working through those specific areas
- Help agents prepare for real-time customer interactions
4. Invest in the right contact center technology
Call center coaching technology creates the distinction between high-performers and underperformers. Take a look at the numbers:
- 69 percent of high-performing service agents are looking for opportunities to use AI
- 39 percent of underperformers are looking for opportunities to use AI
- 88 percent of high-performing service teams have all the tools and technology they need
- 52% of underperformers have the tools and technology they need
With AI as part of your customer service coaching technology, managers can see more and do more for their agents and their customers. The call center coaching software from Level AI offers:
Agent Coaching Module. With Level AI’s Agent Coaching module, contact center managers have all the data to organize an effective coaching plan. The module:
- Surfaces each scorecard area that needs improvement for an individual agent
- Identifies customer interactions to which those areas apply
- Allows managers to add those coachable opportunities to the agent’s coaching session
Agent Screen Recording. Agent screen recording helps managers identify improvement opportunities and monitor process adherence. Screen recordings are automatically attached to every resolved support ticket. QA teams can simultaneously see and hear agent interactions when reviewing individual cases.
Agent Assist™. Level AI’s Agent Assist™ program is packed with useful tools for coaching call center agents. Agents can:
- Review their scores
- Keep track of their most important metrics
- Learn how to improve performance without one-on-one human coaching
Your agents can also train Level AI by providing feedback. Our models learn and provide better results over time. If Agent Assist™ doesn’t help with a customer issue, agents can flag it.
Agent Performance Scorecard. Level AI scorecards allow you to create, review, score, and analyze agent performance with an integrated AI-driven QA flow. Level AI’s real-time analysis of your data takes quality monitoring and call center scorecards to the next level. Other contact center platforms will automatically grade customer agent conversations with pre-defined metrics. But Level AI allows you to use a fully customizable scorecard for unique agent grading
To learn more about how to take your customer service coaching to the next level in your contact center, request a demo from Level AI.
Get a free demo today!
Your customers will thank you for it!