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5 steps to supercharge your agent coaching culture

Terry-Ann Simpson, Senior Customer Experience Manager at itelbpo, walks through her proven strategy for driving adoption and proving results in an agent-driven coaching culture.

At itelbpo, we’ve invested heavily in building an agent-first coaching culture that’s elevated for the entire life cycle of the agent: right from sourcing, screening, hiring to onboarding and finally, offboarding.

In this blog post, I'll look at three things:

  • How we’ve structured our agent coaching process and programs
  • How our CX coaches translate value to customers
  • An awesome success story at itelbpo

Let’s get right into it.

How do we design (and constantly improve) our coaching culture at itelbpo?

At itelbpo, we laid out a 5-step process to build a successful coaching culture.

Step 1: Identify Coaching Style

We use a Predictive Index tool to understand each individual agent’s behaviors. 

The Predictive Index tool measures behavioral drives and soft skills: dominance, extraversion, patience, and formality as well as cognitive ability of individual agents. Our PI tool generates a series of questions to optimize an individual's talent and identify what drives their behaviors.

These individual traits helps us in identifying coaching styles. A dominant agent might respond better to autocratic coaching— asking them on how to best solve the issue, or an agent with patience needs more vision-based coaching to understand their long-term impact.

Step 2: Assign Coaches

Armed with the information derived in Step 1, we assign the most optimal coach who can work with the agent to grow and develop throughout their life cycle with us.

Step 3: Equip Agents 

Now that we’ve paired our agents with coaches, it’s time to implement our workflows. This is where we rely on Observe.AI Agent Performance and Coaching workflows. This empowers our coaches to make informed, confident decisions, backed by data.

  • Real-Time Agent Performance Dashboard: The coaches can automatically identify top and bottom-performing agents across teams. They’ll then prioritize coaching for agents that need help the fastest and celebrates top performers.

  • Missed Opportunities: They’re able to identify the skills that the agent needs to improve on with the Missed Opportunities panel. They’ll automatically understand areas of improvement and accordingly customize coaching programs. Every coaching session is recorded to track progress over time.

  • Action Plans & Centralized Documentation: Our coaches make a plan with the agent and document all commitments. They’ll then automatically schedule follow-up notes, reminders and schedule the next session to keep agents motivated and on track.

With these automated workflows, we’ve upped our training sessions and workshops using Observe.AI. We now conduct these sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, based on data and needs of the agent and not ad-hoc. Not to mention, our team loves the automation - lots of those tedious tasks that fall through the cracks are automatically handled.

These sessions are highly focused and targeted towards agents to drive agent performance and equip them with knowledge and skills to better navigate customers interactions on the forefront.

Step 4: Reminders on Key Information

We also load key information required for the business— from client specific notes, vision, targets, to granular levels like agent performance, for everyone to review and cascade to the entire company body. The transparency in communication is quite important for us.

  • Coaching Tags & Reports: We automatically track the success of coaching programs and connect coaching conversations to operational KPIs. The supervisor and team lead feedback is also consistent and measurable. 

    We can identify which coaches are driving the biggest improvements in performance, who’s leading the most engaged teams and business ROI of the overall activity.
  • Coaching Forms: The forms bring consistency to the way our coaches deliver and document feedback.

  • Centralized Documentation: Centralized documentation is a unique way of tracking the development journey of each agent, team and business unit. Showcasing this evidence helps peer-learning among the coaches and agents.

Step 5: Building internal succession programs 

A quality analyst becoming a customer experience (CX) coach is a unique distinction that really elevates just the power that that role has. 

For example, we’ve built a Junior QA Program, where we select candidates to shadow senior CX coaches day-to-day. This isn’t limited to auditing interactions and handling QA agent evaluations, but also compiling reports and delivering CX recommendations to leadership. 

So why is it important to build a strong coaching culture? Why do you need to spend all that time coaching your agents?

How can CX coaches deliver value to your clients?

Coaches have complete access and a bird’s eye view of what's happening with our clients. They’re constantly auditing calls and text interactions, analyzing insights, and mapping it to agent behavior. It paints a clear picture of how agent actions directly impact customer experience.

As a result, these insights from your CX coaches can be passed onto your clients, providing them new data sets to drive business decisions. Here’s how.

3 proven ways your coaches can offer value to your clients

Data-driven business insights

Coaches are tasked with analyzing data and taking action - that’s a given. They’re trained to not just look at the alpha patterns of an agent, but also patterns in overall team performance. This is where trends are unearthed, and causation is uncovered.

Is a particular product causing customer frustration? Is it an issue with the product itself, or is there a knowledge gap between the customer and the product for getting the most out of it? That answer lies in the interactions taking place around that product.

Compliance

Sensitive customer data flows in and out of contact centers on a daily basis. Protecting it end-to-end is critical - and failure to do can result in stiff penalties and damaged reputation. 

So if you’re specifically handling compliance-based accounts, your coaches become a big asset - identifying and correcting any potential situations that could lead to potential lawsuits.

For example, we reported over 100 compliance issues in the last seven months for one of our collections clients. Of course, we were able to achieve this with the assistance of Observe.AI with our coaches analyzing and providing insights on what they observed.

Agent development

With coaches responsible for preparing and improving agent performance on the front line, agent development has an obvious direct impact on customer experience. 

Observe.AI likes to say that an agent is a brand’s best representative.

Coaches are responsible for preparing agents at the forefront. They're the ones interfacing with customers daily, and a happy customer brings in customer loyalty and potentially new customers because good service is often shared via word of mouth.

These three key components are a gift that keeps on giving to ensure customer happiness.


So, how do you structure a strong value from CX coaches and build business value?

I’d like to share a success story at itelbpo.

Early last year, we found ourselves falling below the desired target CSAT average in a specific area of our business.

The answer to fixing that is our coaches.

We had our coaches, in tandem with our analysts, dive deep into the speech analytics and interaction analytics and identify the true drivers of this drop. 

As a result, they were able to utilize transcripts of 100% of interactions to:

  • Review interactions and dig deeper into root causes of CSAT-impacting Moments like supervisor escalations, dead air, and hold time violations.
  • Use Tonality-based Sentiment Analysis to understand and see what type of keywords and phrases were leading to negative (and positive) customer experiences.

The coaches then shared their insights with us, which we relayed back to our clients. This not only provided our clients valuable business insights, but also gave them more clear visibility into the agents representing their brand.

Impact

  1. An exponential improvement in our CSAT— high 90s overall. 
  2. A reduction in our average handle time (AHT) for that business unit. 

Driving engagement remotely with your QAs and CX coaches isn’t easy. How do you stay connected? How do you drive behavioral changes? 

As a leader, your job is to empower, enable and equip your team with the right tools. It is an investment like no other.

The old ways of working might have been effective. But with remote work, these tools also ensure client data privacy, fraud prevention, compliance breach, process adherence and so many other benefits.

Contact Center AI, in our case Observe.AI, has brought in crisper, faster, AI-driven, automated workflows and all our teams in one place.


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