Advancing quality in outsourcing call centers through coaching

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Coaching is a highly effective strategy used by outsourcing call centers in the Philippines and other parts of the world to improve agent performance.

Teaching agents how to respond more effectively to calls improves productivity in the workplace and reduces operating costs. As a result, it also leads to better-quality customer service and experience. Customer experience is strongly correlated with customer loyalty, as shown in a 2011 study by Avaya.

The most significant impact of coaching is visible in a large scale:
Customer satisfaction leads to higher company profits and builds a good reputation for the brand.

Effective coaching methodology

Coaching is about providing objective feedback to agents regarding their performance. It generally addresses a specific situation and is done on a personalized basis. It often follows a general structure: the supervisor identifies the performance issue, creates an action plan, communicates effectively with the agent, and then provides consistent and timely feedback.

Coaching is an on-going process, not merely a one-time event. There should be continuous monitoring using key performance indicators (KPIs) and reinforcement on what is being done correctly.

After laying out the structure of the winning program, the management lays out a combination of coaching techniques that may fit the situation. An example would be one-on-one coaching, where the supervisor sets a face-to-face review session with an agent, and on-the-spot coaching, where the supervisor live-monitors the workplace and provides immediate feedback. The chosen technique is measured for effectiveness, and the outsourcing call center then proceeds to create systems or applications that support coaching goals and promote standardization for all agents.

Applying coaching to achieve business goals

In essence, coaching is a practical solution to evaluate agents and address areas that need improvement. It is geared not toward a quick win, but a long-term commitment to high-quality performance. Once qualified agents are right at the door, coaching helps them be successful in conducting calls.

The impact of coaching is evident in all levels. Enhanced agent performance leads to good customer service and, therefore, better customer perception. It also promotes leadership skills and high morale among supervisors and agents alike. Finally, the business reaps its long-term impact in terms of increased revenue and customer retention.