Call Center Training Solutions

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Posts Tagged ‘coaching effectiveness’

Improve Your Coaching by Asking ¬What Do You Think?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

In our Call Center Floor Management workshop, we define two major types of coaches; Direct and Interactive.  This tip is for the Direct coaches.  Direct coaches tend to do most of the talking during coaching.  While this style can net great sales results, a better approach is to involve the agent.  Interactive discussions, those that get the agent to speak more, will net even better results.  We see amazing results with this strategy when strong, Directive coaches soften up just enough to get the agent involved.  They never lose their authority because Directive coaches will always have that air about them.  But they will start developing better, more effective agents.

A simple way to get started in this new, discussion-oriented world, is to start when an agent asks you a question or solicits any type of help from you.  If you believe the agent is capable of answering the question, STOP.  Do not answer the question for them.  Instead, thank them for the question, maybe acknowledge the question­s importance, and then probe.   Let me ask you, what do you think you might try in this situation?   What do you think the solution is?   What are some steps you can take to handle this customer if it happens again in the future?

By Probing for the solution instead of providing it directly, two great results will occur.  First, your agents will become more self-analytical.  They will improve their independent thought and their problem-solving skills, making them more independent thinkers.  Second, you will have more time away from all the questions.  Everybody wins.  It merely takes the coach­s willingness to ask, rather than tell.

Your agents may not be ready for this type of probing at first and may even respond,  I don­t know.  That­s why I asked you.  With a little reframing of the question (supportively – no intimidation)  they will give it a try.  When they get the right answer, give them a big praise and thank you.  The next time they run into trouble, they will be much more prepared.  All you had to do was not answer their question to accomplish this.  Now that was easy.