In the spirit of football season, it seems only natural to tie in an article by Bob Furniss titled “Coaching Champions.” This Contact Center Pipeline article discusses the four leading principles that will help your team succeed. Furniss writes, “I tell the managers who attend my seminars that coaching is the most important role you have as a leader. It is THE most important part of your day. If you don’t have time for it, then you have to find a way to change your priorities to make it happen – and happen consistently.” He outlines four basic principles that should be taught to managers daily:
1.) Create Clear Measurements of Success and Failure
“Consistent process equals consistent quality.” Bob knows that when he orders a Big Mac in Honduras or Ireland, it’s going to be comprised of the same shredded lettuce and toasted bun he’s accustomed to.
The same frame of mind should be used in your contact center to ensure that each agent is gauging good service on the same scale. Every day is a chance to tell agents exactly what they did well vs. what could have been improved upon.
2.) Create Metrics that Measure what is Important
Much like an offensive play, it’s all about strategy. You should spend one-on-one time each month with your agents to help them align performance with the quality of the organization. Strategize methods for improvement.
Ensuring the metrics are tied to quality performance can often be difficult. Furniss recommends considering these questions:
- Is the metric linked to specific company strategies or objectives?
- Does the metric tie to agent incentives?
- Does the metric vary among groups, call types and agent tenure?
- Is the metric easy to understand?
- Does the agent know exactly what they can do to move the dial?
3.) Personalize the Coaching Approach
“I think it’s important that you manage everyone completely differently. Of course, fairness is always important, but managing people based on their needs, values and personalities is the best way to see people succeed.”
In this section Bob discusses the use of personality tests and finding out the best coaching method based on each agent’s strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve made a point to watch and analyze the Patriots and Giants, you need to do the same for your own agents.
4.) Train your Coaches to Coach
Furniss notes that less than 64% of new managers receive any formal training before assuming the role. What a scary statistic! If your organization is one of the many that’s guilty of this, try to master your own coaching concept following Furniss’ YMCA approach:
- Your Thoughts. Open the coaching session by asking questions instead of delivering expectations.
- My Thoughts. This is the opportunity to talk about behavior from your perspective as the agent’s manager.
- Calibration. This is the time to calibrate the agent’s buy-in for change.
- Action. In the days after the coaching session, inspect what you expect – follow up to confirm that the agent is meeting the new expectations.