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A great quality coaching team can be instrumental in increasing customer satisfaction and decreasing turnover rates among customer service representatives. Although supervisors and team leads often participate, a dedicated coaching staff is usually a better choice, because the role that quality-coaching plays in helping CSRs maximize their potential is much different from that of team leads and supervisors. A positive environment, regular feedback and ongoing training are essential for getting the buy-in from CSRs that is vital for success.
Goals and Roles
Quality coaches typically focus on improving CSR effectiveness and on meeting customer service goals. Accomplishing these goals often requires that coaches function in a variety of consultative roles, including monitoring, mentoring, training and ongoing career development. For businesses without a dedicated quality-control team, managers and CSR supervisors must be capable of transitioning from their traditional controlling and performance-management roles to the more consultative roles required for a coaching program.
The Importance of a Positive Work Environment
Coaches play a key role in creating a positive work environment. Instead of observing, criticizing and telling a CSR how to improve, quality coaches and employees work together as partners. Good coaching focuses on helping employees understand the mission and then set their own agenda for fulfilling long-term customer service objectives. Both initial and ongoing joint efforts often result in increased job satisfaction and more motivated employees, which typically translates to a more positive working environment.
A Cheerleading Role
According to Melissa Kovacevic, a professional customer service consultant, it’s also important for quality coaches to play the role of a cheerleader. In reality, it’s not the coach, but the CSR who’s doing most of the “work.” Quality coaches are only there to observe, give advice and guide each CSR in coming to her own realization and in making her own decisions about what needs to be achieved and how to achieve company goals. Recognizing and rewarding even small steps forward most often leads to a stronger partnership and happier employees.
Detective and Investigative Roles
CSRs often face pressures that employees in other departments may never face. For some, continually trying to balance the need to satisfy customers with the equally important need to meet performance goals leads to agent burnout. Other reps may find it difficult to engage and relate to customers both in-person and over the telephone. When issues such as these affect CSR performance, a quality coach must play the role of a detective to get to the root cause of an issue. Open-ended questions are vital to encourage an agent to open up and talk about the “what” and “why” of a problem.
- Melissa Kovacevic Consulting: Great Coaches Help Prevent Attrition
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Learning and Development - What is Coaching?
- Coaching For Change: Coaching Skills That Can Make a Difference in Your Practice
- Melissa Kovacevic Consulting: Uncovering the Real Reason Your Agent is Failing
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.