The Blue-Print to Success with Agile

If you ever dabbled in sports, then you probably are accustomed to the following phrase, or at least some version of it:

“It’s all about fundamentals!”

The same rule applies when attempting to embrace Agile software development; success is achieved by constant and efficient re-application of core methodology fundamentals, thus never losing track of principles which lie at the core.

The Agile Manifesto is compromised of 12 principles which along with its four core values form the foundation of Agile software development as we know it today.

Agile can work for a team of any size, and if you’re struggling after making the switch to Agile from waterfall-based methodologies, then it just means that you need to go back to the basics  – work on those fundamentals!

We went over each of the 12 principles and what they mean to our software development division:

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software

Software is not developed for the sake of it being developed. We develop it so that it can aid and assist end-users; to perform tasks which would be otherwise impossible, to solve problems, to enhance the end user’s abilities or allow for tasks to be completed in a more efficient manner. Unfortunately, the pivotal aspect as to why we develop software is often lost amongst the dev-cycle noise, almost forgotten.

How can you re-align your software team with this principle?

Plan for less change (at a time), thus shortening requirement and feedback gathering processes. Which will enable you to take full control of the software development process, and steer it in the right direction  – one suitable for the client.

Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

Changes can be applied at any time, at the start of the process or quite late into the development process and even NOW – don’t be afraid to make changes, especially, if the change implements an essential feature-set.

Don’t wait for the next system iteration or build update.

Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Waterfall development methods are plagued by several issues and often times products will ship with an overabundance of documentation; under the guise of completing 100% of the requirements required. Unfortunately, once the development cycle has ended and the software has already shipped, all you had was a lot of documentation with little else to show for it – apart from owning the software in question.

Agile project management excels at shortening the process, mainly its planning and delivery phases by focusing on developing software instead of just planning for it or around its feature-set.

Thus allowing your software development team, and clients by proxy, to improve effectiveness and efficiency with virtually no downside.

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

Despite being obvious and essential to developing successful software, this principle doesn’t receive the recognition it should. Agile methodology’s pivotal point is centred around improving co-operation between business people and software developer;  co-location is the best approach as it helps both sides to better understand one another (as well as which challenges each party faces), thus leading to more productive work.

Remote workers can use communication tools to get around limitations and essentially “be there” with the core team, thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Micromanagement has no place in Agile based project management as a team needs to be self-reliant and self-directed by design. Ensure that your software development team will be able to deliver on schedule whilst also having completed all project objectives.

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Co-location and remote work are the cornerstones of Agile project management.

However, instant communication is essential to your success, as it shortens the time between a question and its answer.

Teams need to be a part of the same environment, as it makes communication easier; most notably making suggestions, asking questions and looking for guidance.

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

The only metric an Agile software development team should be judged by is pretty simple – is it working as intended?

If a particular piece of software doesn’t work as intended, then it doesn’t matter how many lines of code it contains, nor how many bugs QA has found and fixed and let’s not to mention how many work-hours have been clocked – for the sake of all parties involved.

Software needs to work, plain and simple, everything else is quite frankly irrelevant. To spot a quality software development team just apply this simple rule – are they capable of continually delivering working software?

Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Unfortunately, burn out is a common problem among software development teams, mostly due to industry specifics but crunch time also plays a part in this rather unwanted phenomenon.

Prevent this (or limit its impact) by limiting excessive overtime, it can’t continue infinitely without having a negative effect on quality – focus your efforts on bursts of productivity instead.

Adjust the pace your Agile team operates at by maintaining a balance between tiredness and satisfaction.

Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Code needs to be better with each iteration, therefore, cleaning up redundant or confusing code is a software developer’s most important responsibility.

Teams should focus on reviewing code whilst working on a project, rather than cleaning it up at a later time. It’s more efficient, plus “later” in this regards is also synonymous with “never”.

Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.

The KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) design principle, which has been first introduced by the US NAVY, can also be applied here. It shortens the time between comprehension and completion.

Avoid focusing on tasks which do not add value to your processes and are unsubstantial in the long run; “busy work” corporate culture adds no value and will only complicate things as far as goal completion is concerned.

Keep track of your software development team (and their work hours) by using project management tools like Jira and VSO.

The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

Agile software development teams are your tech equivalents of specialized task-force units; self-sufficient and require next to no hand-holding. Challenges are dealt with by applying proper tools and coming up with ingenious tactics even against overwhelming odds.

However, a clear sign that the team doesn’t operate at full capacity is when a project manager is required to step in and micromanage – it’s huge red flag and teams cohesion should be reviewed, scrutinized and resolved.

A successful Agile team uses their own ambition as a driver for success.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Agile project management’s biggest selling point is the aptitude to self-reflect, review and adapts as necessary.

A well documented and tested solution, one which has been used for a long time doesn’t necessarily have to be the best one to use now or in the future – code becomes redundant and so do features and tools.

Back to the basics

Agile software development methodology provides enterprises with solutions to project management woes, however, it does come with its own fair share of perils; even an experienced project manager will get lost in this fast-paced and ever-changing environment.

Which is why it’s essential to keep Agile fundamentals in sight, as these core principles shape the entire methodology and can be used a safety-net in dire times.

If your efforts fail, simply go back to the basics and work on those fundamentals.

All Aboard The Metric-train!

Obsessing over metrics is not necessarily a bad thing, especially in a dynamic and multi-lingual environment of a customer care centre.

However, if you use the wrong metrics, or use them in a wrong way, then the results will be skewed and not reflective of the truth.

 

Don’t be naive

Showing a lack of experience, understanding or at times idealism on the contact centre floor is the equivalent of prancing around with a “Kick Me!” sign.

As a manager or supervisor, you need to understand human nature. Don’t be naive.

Each time you implement a new metric, signal how important this is. Furthermore, attaching a target or an incentive to the metric will encourage the employees, and they will strive to improve their performance when it comes to that particular measure.

Just remember, in order to reap the benefits your contact centre agents will try to “bend the rules” in order to reap the benefits – the ends will justify the means. This has a tremendous impact on team morale.

It’s your job to pinpoint any problems these actions can cause and deal with them accordingly.

 

Can you measure greed?

It’s quite common for contact and customer care centre managers to implement more metrics then it’s actually needed. Going overboard with multiple measuring scales is what we at OpsTalent call Greed-metrics.

Why settle for a simple abandonment rate figure when you could also have:

  • the quality of service scale
  • average answer speed
  • and finally, the average time to abandon

And yes, you guessed it, each of these metrics comes with its own separate target.

This only shows the confusion among the management team, a complete lack of the ability to see the wood from the trees – one might say.

There always needs to be a clear reason for creating and using a specific metric. The agent team needs to know why metrics are implemented and how are they used to evaluate their work.

 

People will try to cheat

During the presidential election, we are bound to hear the common phrase “The polls were rigged”. The contact centre industry suffers from its own “outcome rigging” shenanigans.

In order to hit the desired targets and receive bonuses, contact centre agents and managers alike will provide falsified data.

Supervisors and managers will be more sophisticated about their “rigging” methods. Pay attention if one of the following occurs:

  • Altering the calculation methods used in order to show a “more accurate” result
  • Being particularly picky about “how” and “what” metrics are used
  • Simple stuff like removing outliers or changing graph scales in order to conceal upward or downward trends
  • Questioning the validity of the data

Rigging crucial metric data is an attempt to hide performance issues – keeping a “good score” should never take precedence over facts.

 

Measure, adjust and act

Contact centre performance isn’t something easily predictable. Sometimes your agent teams can perform as if the sky is their limit, and other times it will get much worse, even dreadful.

But it’s your duty as a manager to quickly catch on to those rapid changes in performance and distinguish if they are really important issues that should be deal with (through coaching, training sessions, knowledge base implementation etc.) or are they simply noise.

Do not, however, overreact as overreaction conjures up problems, ones which didn’t exist in the first place.

The Importance of Training Reinforcement

It’s a known fact that a well-trained employee makes a difference it the customer careindustry.

How your consultants resolve customer issues, deal with potentially volatile situations, and up-sell or cross-sell your products and services, makes or breaks your business.

It shouldn’t come as a mystery that when you invest in employee training programs, your agents come out motivated and equipped with a more versatile toolkit to use on customers.

However, as with all things, the enthusiasm starts to fade and the recently acquired skills deteriorate, which leaves you with mostly the same issues you dealt with prior to training.

Follow the steps below to amp-up your training sessions and make them stick.

 

How to make it stick?

The first step is up to you, don’t get frustrated with your employees “training amnesia,” instead evaluate your training service’s reinforcement methodology.

Do you incorporate follow-up programs?

It’s been proven that over the course of six months, trainees will lose up to 75%  of knowledge gained through training if there are no reinforcement and follow-up solutions introduced. Similarly, less than a 50% of skills gained during training sessions will carry over to the job if there’s no failsafe in the form of training reinforcement implemented.

Customer care training is essential; empower your employees by providing them with the proper “tools of the trade” as well as incorporating a well functioning follow-up methodology.

 

Summarizing & handouts

Don’t count on your employees having a photographic memory, quite a lot of important information will slip by them over the course of training sessions.

Compile handouts (or create a handy PDF document) that will highlight key points raised during customer service training, use diagrams and images but keep it short – make sure that the handout is short as possible (no more than 2 pages) and lists only relevant critical information.

Encourage consultants to use these handouts as a miniature knowledge base.

 

The art of coaching

Good training sessions are a mix of theory, spliced with examples of a real-life application of our newly acquired skills and a dash of role-playing. Theory will most likely stick with your employees, it’s the real-life application part you need to reinforce:

  • observe
  • correct
  • demonstrate
  • reevaluate

Coaching sessions solidify newly acquired knowledge, especially if conducted right after customer service training. Demonstrating the correct approach is essential, reinforce their efforts through praise and feedback.

 

Debriefing

Tie-in reinforcement session during staff meetings, it’s a wonderful opportunity to review key concepts and training in general. Discuss how are they incorporating their new skill-set into their daily routine, how are they helping them and most importantly ask which skills seem to be the most problematic when applying to practical situations.  Periodical debriefing is a powerful reinforcement tool it allows your employees to work through any potential issues they might be having as they start “getting their hands dirty”.

 

Take it from the top

Leading by example has to be one of the best ways to reinforce training lessons, if you really think your employees don’t mimic your behaviour, think again. Monitor yourself, consistently apply training session knowledge in customer and coworker relations – bring those training lessons to life, prove that you “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”

 

It doesn’t end in the classroom

Customer service training doesn’t have to end the moment your employees get back to their workspace. Follow our tips and get the most out of your training investment, maximise gains by reinforcing and coaching your customer service agents.

You’re the deciding factor on what they retain from training sessions.

 

The #1 Job: Coaching

Once you embrace positive coaching, then employee morale will hit an all time high and you will be able to feel the positive energy “crackling” in the air.

contact centre agents are more engaged and show more enthusiasm and are more likely to succeed in their day to day tasks. Work becomes a great experience for your staff, you can literally feel the positive energy “crackling” in the air.

But if coaching sessions are negative or virtually non-existent, team morale will plummet.

Agents will become disconnected, absent minded and bored. This will result in lower quality of service as well as higher attrition rates.

 

Coach­ing is essential

High productivity and decent bottom-line results are not impossible in an environment where morale is low, but it is highly unlikely. As a coach, you need to remember that if you provide a better working experience for your contact centre agents, they will become more engaged and enthusiastic, and thus the customer experience will reflect that.

As a manager, you are responsible for your employees, you need to care for them – trust us, it’s the right thing to do. But if you believe that altruism has no place in the business world maybe those couple points will show you why coaching is so essential:

Positive coaching will lead to high morale among your contact centre agents, thus providing these long-term benefits:

  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Higher pro­duc­tiv­ity
  • Lower attrition rates
  • Higher cus­tomer satisfaction
  • Increased cus­tomer loyalty

 

Don’t fall into a trap

Don’t ever make the assumption that the correct path to high morale is providing contact centre agents with what they vocal majority of them want. Take a look back at your own career path and think back, what did you want as a “grunt” employee? Better pay, more “spare” time for non-work-related shenanigans and less work relates tasks – that sounds like the fastest path to minimalism.

If you want your employees to thrive, create a dynamic and positive environment, provide opportunities for self-development. Continuous learning will lead to constant improvements on multiple levels – knowledge is power, especially in the dynamic world of multi-lingual contact centres.

 

Make it happen

First and foremost, as the manager, you need to embrace the idea that coaching is the #1 job you are responsible for. Then, cultivate and spread the idea of positive coaching among your staff – all of them, no exception. Open communication and active participation should be encouraged, make agents aware that despite not being decision makers their input is highly valued and everyone can make a difference. Make them a part of “The Grand Plan”.

Creating this kind of positive environment is no easy task, but it goes a long way.

 

…don’t get discouraged

Every company has some “just get by” people and nothing will change that, no matter what you as the manager do to inspire and motivate them. Morale of the whole contact centre can be in danger, so when the time to act comes be firm. Issue out warnings to those contact centre agents with attitude problems and if that doesn’t help it’s best to terminate “get by-ers” on the spot.

Put The Right People in The Right Job

Recruiting right people for the right job has never been more important.

Providing great customer experience is the quintessential for contact centres and the biggest hurdle in achieving this goal is employee attrition. But how should managers and supervisors filter out applicants?

Want to know if your future employee has what it takes to make it in the multilingual environment of a multichannel contact centre?

Use these pointers:

 

Watch out for these essential skills

  • Call control and the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • Communicating clearly and confidently, also grammar and spelling
  • Ability to follow through from the initial call to any follow-up correspondence
  • Ability to handle delicate situations and attention to detail

 

Ability to remain calm under pressure

It’s one of the key attributes you should look out for when recruiting contact centre agents. Clear communications skills, remaining calm under pressure, confidence and expert knowledge are essential.

 

Competence-based interview

Be sure to test skills and competencies of an agent with live role play action. Make the scenario as close to the actual contact centre environment as possible, it will contribute to the recruitment process tremendously and also make it as interactive as possible. Also, request for real-life examples when the candidate is speaking about previous experience, this will serve as great insight as to what should you look out for during the role play stage.

 

Recruit in numbers

Try to always recruit groups of five to eight future contact centre agents, and possibly avoid recruiting one agent at a time. Small groups will allow your future employees to learn from one another during the training process. This will also strengthen their self-esteem, especially in newbies that are entering the industry for the first time since they are not alone. Make sure that agents are aware that “there are no silly questions” during the training process, make them feel comfortable while asking even the most obvious ones.

 

Clear expectations

Be clear on what is expected of a particular project or a team. Be precise when explaining about company culture and policies. Honesty during the interview really helps, if an agent finds something uncomfortable after becoming an employee he’ll be more likely to quit, or won’t be as efficient as you expected him to be from the information gathered during the recruitment process. Be honest – it’s that simple.

 

Training

With attrition rates for contact and call centres, especially in the multilingual environment are on an all time high – the average turnover rates are higher than any other industry. You can tone those rates down easily, invest in training and coaching. Prepare your new agents, show them what to expect and playback some difficult calls that ended in a successful resolution. Five to three days of training is money well spent.

 

Be on the lookout for candidates that can work under pressure, can communicate clearly and at the same time can deal with a plethora of new and exciting situations. At the same time provide great training and self-development opportunities, those will ensure company loyalty.

In the long run, these basic pointers will be your “secret weapon” in the war on staff attrition.

Turn Your Hiring Program Into a Powerful Retention Tool

Multilingual contact centre managers realise the key to success is having skilled, engaged and fast thinking agents manning the front lines of each campaign.

This is where the hiring program methods distinguish the great contact centres from the decent ones. If you want to provide excellent customer experience with highly engaged agents you need to treat the recruiting process like an agent retention tool and not like the usual agent acquisition process.

The widespread myth of “high turnover rates” is to blame.

Take your time

Careful and precise selection of the most qualified and committed candidates is the best way to reduce attrition among contact centre agents.

Customer service requires a plethora of soft and hard skills and it would be highly unwise to rush the whole recruitment process. Trying to quickly meet the contact centres staffing requirements will only be a waste of time and precious resources.

Screening and filtering are essential steps – don’t skip them.

Overconfidence will get you nowhere

Many contact centre managers make this rookie mistake, overconfidence is your biggest enemy when it comes to turnover rates. Even if your contact centre has an empathetic corporate culture that attracts many candidates, so many that there is always a line of “soon-to-be” agents waiting just outside the door to fill in for your front line “grunts” – it’s not the time to boast.

Having a long line of applicants doesn’t mean they’re all highly qualified and engaged.

Use the numbers to your advantage

Simply “stack the deck” in your favour, a large pool of candidates provides no advantage unless you have tools in place which will help filter out the real talent from replicas.

These tools include:

  • a focused recruiting process
  • screening and assessment techniques and technologies that pinpoint which candidate possess qualities to succeed in the dynamic multilingual contact centre environment
  • realistic job previews, be clear on what is required from potential candidates

Having overbearing numbers of job applicants isn’t anything to brag about, especially in this economy. If you believe that long lines of candidates outside the office are a valid metric of how special your company is we’ve got bad news for you – it’s time to get off your high horse.

If agents are quitting despite the situation of the current job market it might be a sign of poor management

In order to form teams of highly engaged agents and forming a customer-centric climate, you need to view your hiring program as a powerful retention tool.

Reducing Costs While Maintaining Efficiency & Versatility

When operating a multilingual contact centre, customer service costs can add up fast, and over a short period of time they will quickly add up to A LOT.

If you are looking to improve your business’s bottom line, or provide better customer service, you need to implement these methods to reduce customer service costs without sacrificing the support part, and still providing exceptional customer experience.

Equipment

Re-evaluate your equip­ment, it could be cost­ing you more money than you think.  For example, automat­ing your contact centre’s tele­phone sys­tem for the less used cus­tomer ser­vice func­tions could potentially save time and reduce cost on pay­roll and train­ing. Cloud-based technology can also centralise your whole contact centre into one consolidated customer service centre.

  • Phone Sys­tem: Find an appropriate calling system that will streamline the process. An automated attendant or system that reroutes calls to correct contact centre agents quickly can be a life saver, especially during customer service peaks
  • Soft­ware: Is your CRM software integrated with your calling and scheduling systems? If not, make it your top priority.
  • Stor­age: Most on-site systems can be moved to the cloud, especially if they take up valuable space and resources. Evaluate if doing so will help you save on utility costs.

Multi-Channel

Embracing the multi-channel approach, implementing it and then aligning all your communication channels is what all contact centres should aim to achieve in 2015.

It’s not only about the technology, it’s about the people. Your contact centre is as strong as its core employees – the front line grunts, contact centre agents.

Make sure that your teams can handle multiple communication channels, be it email, phone call, live web chat or social media. Assigning two people per campaign to each communication channel might seem a reasonable choice, but in the end, it might cost you more.

Remember about attrition and turnover rates, which despite the efforts of contact centre managers still plague the industry to this day. Train each representative, they need to provide exceptional customer service on each communication channel – versatility is essential.

Also in the case of returning customers, if the same agent handles the quarry throughout all communication channels, it adds a new depth of personalisation thus creating a compelling experience for the customer resulting in increased customer satisfaction.

Cutting customer service costs is not about blindly “swingin’ the ole axe”  and reducing budgets, it’s about making your business more efficient.

Upgrading software, as well as hardware, will lead to increase in employee efficiency while embracing the multi-channel approach and centralising all communication channels will lead to increase in customer satisfaction, both of which will in the long-term lead to better customer retention.

Evaluate budgets, look for ways to increase efficiency, and only then cut costs.

 

The Real Value of First Contact Resolution

The more satisfied customers are, the more loyal they’ll become – embrace customer centricity.

It’s not a mystery that first contact resolution is one of the main drivers for customer satisfaction.

Even the smallest improvements to first contact resolution (FCR) have an impact on increasing customer satisfaction, at an astonishing rate of 1:1, which quite frankly is huge.

 

Cost Effective

First Contact resolution not only increases customer satisfaction but improving FCR in your contact centre should be the top priority, simply because it greatly reduces costs.

So there is without a shadow of a doubt a business case for improving first contact resolution, as a result, many companies are investing heavily in customer service training and analytics tools, to measure and improve this voluble metric.

But is focusing mainly on FCR sufficient in order to maintain customer loyalty?
Most certainly not.

 

Keep It Balanced

There are many vital aspects that correspond and impact customer satisfaction thus shaping customer loyalty, these “what-if’s” are:

  • What if; you encountered a poorly trained contact centre agent?
  • What if; the representative didn’t have sufficient product knowledge?
  • What if; you had to be kept on hold for 20 minutes while listening to some ungodly music track?
  • What if; the issue was resolved but the agent was rude and interrupted the conversation numerous times?

 

Diversify

Overly focusing on one metric is a sign of bad management. Embrace the balanced scorecard tactic and evaluate your employees and customer service process’s using these criteria:

  • First Contact Resolution
  • Post contact IVR survey, ask the customer how would they rate the experience
  • Customer retention metric to evaluate the likelihood of a customer leaving within 4 weeks
  • Include Average Handle Time; despite all the hate it gets if you wish you could keep it hidden from the contact centre agents
  • Cross-selling abilities
  • Average time spent on hold; waiting on hold is despised by the customers
  • Number of appropriate escalations
  • Employee satisfaction; happy staff = happy customers

 

First contact resolution is a vital metric which greatly impacts customer satisfaction and helps reducing costs, but focusing on FCR alone is simply not enough.

Take all variables into consideration when trying to increase customer loyalty and act accordingly, ask the customers what parts of the customer experience you provide do they cherish and which ones do they despise, and get to work.

Management Change in 3 Steps

Middle managers are responsible for key operations at the core of your business.

They possess the knowledge of what works best for your company versus areas which need improvement.

Thanks to their deep understanding of operational requirements it’s crucial to include them in the decision-making process when considering outsourcing the part of the business they are responsible for.

 

Engage and reassure

Engaging middle managers in all the details of the outsourcing process will be beneficial in the long run. Remember, they are “the middle-man”, and communicate with agents and other front-line employees, so it’s crucial to keep them up to speed at all times. Such actions will reassure them of how much you value their work as well as build trust.

Let’s not forget about the vast operational knowledge middle management has, it’s about time to use it.

 

Trust the management team

Capable managers realise that thanks to the operational knowledge they possess and experience in the field they are irreplaceable and will take steps to protect their position in the company if they feel their job may be at risk.

When planning for outsourcing include as many levels of mid-tier management as you would normally include in strategic planning sessions.

 

Achieving success

To achieve lasting change, you need to understand the specific “political” situation of each and every business team and department. Managers with access to corporate intelligence will be hard to replace.

Ranging from department heads and senior managers to program leads on major projects, they will contribute to the management change effort in a constructive and positive way – all you have to do is keep them in the loop.

Coaching is an Art Form

Suffering from poor agent performance and not reaching targets is a common occurrence in the contact centre industry.

Managers facing such issues approach their staff and try to push them to work harder and just “be” more efficient as if that alone was enough to boost their productivity as well as solve underlying causes.

But as with all choices made under pressure, this one isn’t the optimal solution. Team leaders and supervisors often think they are coaching their contact centre agents but in reality, they are simply highlighting problems and ask to “magically improve performance”, without providing any coaching whatsoever.

Improving coaching skills should be a priority for each and every supervisor.

 

Support & challenge

Remember, your staff is already frustrated and demotivated after not being able to hit the predicted targets. Those relatively easy goals are becoming impossible – adding more pressure from their managers could be fatal to your business.

Support and nurture your agents, especially when morale is down. Provide challenges as well as goals to reach but at the same time establish clear and reachable goals.

 

The “I want to…” not “I have to” approach

Time should never be a reason for a poor coaching session or a complete lack of one. This is your job as the manager – don’t ever label coaching as “wasted time”.

Remember to engage the coachee in such a way, that he or she will leave the session with a sense of involvement in the coaching process, help them identify the problem themselves – this will strengthen their desire to improve their skills.

Highlight the good and the bad, give your agents “contrast”. Encourage self-development, it’s a great asset, especially in the outsourcing industry.

 

The coaching plan

Prepare a solid coaching structure, one that addresses each potential issue, remember about proper questioning techniques. The plan is vital, it will bring consistency to your sessions and will put the “value” back into coaching as an art form.

Just be sure to keep it simple, clear and involve agents as much as possible – interactive coaching is the best possible solution to performance issues.

 

The process

  • Introduce; make it clear from the get-go, what is expected from both parties involved and what should be the outcome.
  • Pinpoint;the problematic area by listening to recorded calls, reviewing data entry quality or missed sales opportunities. Finding and reviewing particular problems alongside the agent will provide tremendous insight when you compare both sets of information.
  • Summarise;make notes, ask simple open questions. Ask the agent, what they did well and what areas need to be improved upon? Let them explain “How” will they improve, offer tips and exercises.

 

The outcome

Through proper engagement during coaching sessions, you will create value for the activity – no longer, will it be considered a mere “time sink” by agents and managers alike.

The feeling of self-development is a tremendous morale booster and will benefit your staff as a whole.

Your business will thrive thanks to improvements in key areas such as; customer contacts, sales conversation, staff and customer retention.