We heard a great call center agent coaching story from one of our clients the other day. The manager, who was responsible for overseeing and training nearly 30 call center agents, had been reviewing performance reports with Enkata’s workforce management solution. She noticed that one of her better agents seemed to be having a problem. Although the agent was scoring above average on all her KPIs, one call type for this particular agent was really problematic. While most other agents had a transfer rate of less than 5% for the call type, this agent was above 40%. Seeing as this particular agent was one of her top performers across the board the discrepancy didn’t make any sense.
So, the manager picked up the phone and called the agent. But instead of the usual (and not very insightful) “how’s it going?” conversation, they took a very directed look at why the agent couldn’t handle that one particular kind of transaction. It turned out the agent hadn’t been well trained for that situation, and wasn’t comfortable during the interaction. This discomfort and uncertainness was leading to a much higher than average transfer rate.
With just a small amount of guided training the agent’s transfer rate was right in line with the others.
Unlike other customer service channels such as self-service portals, online FAQs or even social networking sites, the contact center is one of the few opportunities your brand gets to come face to face (or at least voice to voice) with your customers. Their experience with your contact center can dramatically impact your customer’s overall customer experience and their opinion of your brand at large—and much of that experience rests in the hands of your agents. A well-trained agent is going to have the knowledge and skills required to turn every interaction into a positive experience for your customers, as well as easily manage any unusual problems that are bound to occur from time to time an aren’t scripted. But, like our manager found out, sometimes even the top performers needs coaching help with very specific call types. In order to have great contact center agents that deliver great customer service each and every time your call center needs to invest in a good training program.
Part of the reason your customers reach out to your call center is because they want to interact with another person, otherwise they would have chosen a self-service channel. But no two people and no two contact center agents are the same. Each of your agents is going to have a different set of skills and will be better at one thing than another agent.
However, in order to ensure that the customer experience is perfect every time you have to make every agent a top performer because, let’s be honest, your top performers can’t answer every call. A contact center coaching program helps managers identify specific performance examples for each employee (even the top performers!) to discuss during their individual coaching sessions so each agent gets the guidance they need to improve. A better training program can also help pinpoint wide-spread skill or knowledge gaps that can then be addressed with group training. The better the coaching the better the agent the better the customer experience!