CSR Coaching Best Practices for Improving CX
Author: Mike Desmarais, Founder & CEO, SQM Group
Many call centers claim that their supervisors spend approximately 50% or more of their time coaching CSRs to improve the customer’s contact center experience, but SQM is of the opinion that this is inaccurate. In most cases, four to five calls per CSR, per month are evaluated and CSRs are coached once a month for less than one hour. That means that, typically, a CSR only receives 1.5 days total coaching time on an annual basis and, in most cases, the coaching information is based on a traditional QA process. Also, across most of SQM’s client base, the vast majority of supervisors are promoted from a CSR level. Coaching can be challenging for supervisors who are promoted from the CSR level and not properly trained to coach CSRs. Coaching is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced.
Many CSRs are uneasy about receiving call coaching from their supervisor because their coaching style tends to focus on the negative side of the call. Although there are always areas that a CSR can improve on for call handling, they should not be the sole focus for a coaching session. The most common feedback SQM receives from CSRs about coaching is that their supervisor is not skilled at coaching them on how to improve their call resolution and Csat performance. It stands to reason that if the traditional QA process is not effective for helping improve CSR call resolution and Csat, then how can a supervisor be successful at coaching to improve CSR performance when they are using the traditional QA process? SQM agrees with the vast majority of contact center professionals’ opinion that coaching CSRs is critical. The opportunity through CSR coaching is to improve its effectiveness for helping CSRs resolve calls, and improve Csat and Esat. Given the great opportunity to improve CSR call resolution and Csat coaching, all supervisors should be required to be trained on how to effectively coach CSRs to improve their VoC performance.
The figure below shows an ongoing four-step VoC CSR coaching model for helping CSRs improve call resolution and Csat performance.
VoC CSR Coaching Model
Customer Survey Methods Used for CoachingUsing customer survey data and feedback is a best practice for coaching CSRs to improve FCR/call resolution performance. The vast majority of world class FCR performing contact centers use customer survey data and feedback for CSR coaching and accountability. Post-call surveys are external FCR/call resolution methods with the outcome being determined by the customer.
Targeted Coaching Using Non-FCR Calls
Given that the average CSR receives only 6 to 12 hours a year in coaching, it is essential to make the best use of those coaching hours. It is a best practice to target CSR coaching using non-FCR calls. SQM recommends 10 surveys per CSR, per month, which represents a total of 120 surveys annually. Again, SQM research shows that for the average contact center, FCR is 70%, call resolution is 88% and CSR source of error (SoE) is 38%. Therefore, for a CSR who receives 120 completed customer surveys a year, only 6 of those surveys would be CSR SoE (e.g., 120 surveys x 12% unresolved calls x 38% CSR SoE = 6). Thus, there are limited coaching opportunities to improve CSR call resolution based on unresolved calls that can be attributed to a CSR SoE. Using non-FCR calls to target CSR coaching allows for more opportunities to coach compared to using unresolved calls. Many contact center managers struggle with the frequency in which they should deliver customer survey results and reports to their CSRs. At a minimum, World Class Call surveys and unresolved call surveys should be shared with CSRs within one business day of the survey being completed. CSR trending reports for Csat and call resolution performance on how well the team and contact center are performing should be shared weekly. CSR coaching reports on what they are doing well and what they should improve should be shared on a monthly basis. In world class contact centers, supervisors commit 30 minutes to 90 minutes per CSR, per month to delivering the KPI reports. As a result, CSRs are able to maintain or exceed world class KPI targets.
More details can be found in SQM’s book:
The purpose of this book, One Contact Resolution 2nd Edition, is to help contact center managers use best practices for improving customer experience.