Coaching employees is an essential managerial task that is crucial to cultivating effective teams. Optimizing your company’s coaching efforts requires dedicated managerial support, consistency, and the right knowledge.
Use these eight steps to coach your employees and ensure your team is delivering the best service possible to your customers.
1. Preparing for coaching sessions
- Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound).
- Developing a solid coaching framework.
- Collaborating your approach to coaching with other managers or internal Rock Stars.
- Including the owner in understanding your strategy.
- Informing employees about what they can expect and how they can prepare for coaching sessions.
2. Identifying performance trends based on call type
Knowing your employee’s performance is “average at best” is not as helpful as knowing that they excel with customer returns and struggle with more technologically advanced customer service questions.
Breaking down employee performance based on:
- Call type (eg. customer service, outbound sales, inbound sales, returns, refunds, etc.)
- Disposition (eg. bugs, lost shipments, warranties, order inquiries, billing errors, etc)
Analyzing this information will provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of performance trends so that you can provide a more targeted coaching experience to your employees.
3. Detect performance issues based on live observations and monitoring
There’s no better way to identify strengths and weaknesses than to observe employees interact with customers. Listen In on live calls to identify any performance issues (such as subpar communication skills, difficulty adhering to company policies, failure to adhere to required greetings, procedure problems, or problems processing specific transactions, etc.)
Leverage Clarity’s® phone features that allow you to Listen In on live calls without the employee or caller knowing so that you can assess the employee’s performance without his or her anxiety getting the best of them.
You should also observe employees at their desk so that you can identify when work habits or time management issues are contributing decreasing performance.
Using the qualitative data that you compiled from these observations, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of performance strengths and weaknesses and enrich the feedback you provide to employees.
4. Evaluate a few calls to obtain more reliable data
When evaluating recorded and live calls, it is ideal to analyze a few calls rather than just digging deep into one call. This will ensure that you are analyzing a more representative sample of an employee’s performance and are thus able to offer more reliable feedback.
Evaluating a few calls will allow you to identify trends across calls, pinpoint consistent issues and discover huge red flags. This will also allow you to be confident that your counsel is focused on true performance issues and armed with ‘real examples’ you witness, or listened to, so you can provide informed advice to your employees.
5. Allow your customers to do the coaching
Sometimes there’s nothing more impactful than providing feedback from a customer’s perspective. During your coaching session provide data compiled from post-call surveys from your customer satisfaction surveys, customer emails or call recordings.
Make sure you indicate positive feedback, as well as constructive present criticism. Doing so will allow your employee to learn from the people that matter most: your customers.
6. Provide effective feedback
As a coach, providing effective feedback is of utmost importance. Make sure you provide feedback that is:
- Specific – tie your feedback to a specific performance issue.
- Data driven – make sure your feedback is based on qualitative numbers metrics.
- Qualitative – such as notes from call recordings, customer feedback etc.
- Timely – provide feedback as close to the event you are referencing as possible.
- Tied to an action plan – make sure your employee knows exactly how to improve their performance.
Providing effective feedback will go a long way to ensuring that the employee understands what is expected from them and is motivated to increase their performance.
7. Develop targeted action plans
After providing feedback, collaborate with the employee to develop an action plan. This may include requiring the employee receive more intensive coaching, complete e-learning modules, retraining of specific materials, working with a peer mentor, reviewing additional call recordings to pinpoint areas for improvement, and/or revisiting the issue during the next coaching session.
In order to be effective, action plans should include the following:
- Specific measurable goal: “complete e-learning module on call etiquette.”
- Specific time frame: ”beginning tomorrow and completed before the end of the workday on [Date].”
- Distinct duration: “two hours to complete the module.”
- Work hours allotment: “between four and five hours each day.”
- Support resource: “shadow a customer support agent.”
- Resolution liaison: identify any anticipated roadblocks to achieving their goals and engage in preemptive troubleshooting by identifying who they should go to.
Ensuring that your employees have a comprehensive understanding of how they should improve is essential to enhancing their performance.
8. Follow up with the employee before the due date of the action plan
Before employees are scheduled to complete the suggested changes, monitor their performance and check in with them. During this check-in session, make sure they are on the right track and ask if they have any questions. This will enhance the likelihood that they will successfully make the suggested changes in the allotted time frame
Providing your employees with great coaching is an important step in providing your customers with superior customer support.
The first step is giving your employees an easy to use communication platform to engage customers. Find out why employees love using Clarity’s® cloud-based VoIP phone system.
Clarity® has the unique ability to help you monitor and motivate employees while you multiply your company’s profitability. Hear first-hand why managers and employees alike love using Clarity Voice®