The call record method is, in my opinion, one of the best approaches to coaching agent phone calls and ensuring quality. Here’s a 9-step plan for effectively coaching call centre agent phone calls:
1. Randomly record 2 –3 telephone calls. The random recording is important. Do not record 3 calls back to back or on the same day, as your employee may be having a bad day and this may be reflected in all of one afternoon’s calls, but is not necessarily reflective of their typical performance.
2. Review the calls and note strengths and opportunities. Before meeting with your employee, listen to the calls and note what they did well and identify 1 –2 opportunities for performance improvement.
3. Play one tape and let your employee listen. During the playing of the tape, you do not need to respond.
4. Have your employee respond to the tape. After the tape is played, ask your employee to respond. Most employees will be overly self-critical. Your employee will likely note many opportunities for improvement and struggle to articulate what they’ve done well.
5. Coach the call. Use the “sandwich” approach. Tell your employee what s/he did well, followed by constructive feedback, and then end with positive feedback. When offering constructive feedback, share only one opportunity for improvement. The employee has likely observed and stated several improvement opportunities so there is no need to bring these up again Try to mention one thing the employee did not bring up and offer this as your constructive feedback.
6. Gain commitment for performance improvement. Ask the employee, “What specific steps will you take over the next 5 days to improve in this area?” Write down what the employee states and repeat it to her. Summarize the session by reiterating strengths and offering a vote of confidence that she can improve in the identified area.
7. Repeat steps 2 – 6 with a second and perhaps third tape if necessary. The point of numerous recordings is that an employee may respond defensively stating that was just a “bad” call. If that is the response, you may choose to review a second or third tape.
8. Follow-up before the next agent coaching session. Check with your employee in between coaching sessions to keep the commitment top of mind. You can touch base with your employee via email or a personal conversation.
9. Discuss improvement in the next coaching session. Before listening to calls in the next coaching session, ask your employee how she’s progressing toward the goal of the last session. Look for improvement on calls reviewed in this session.
This 9-step call centre agent coaching model is simple, clear and it both praises employees and offers support for improvement opportunities.
When you follow this process, you will set clear performance expectations, coach effectively and consistently and at the same time you will be motivating your employees.