VoC Agent Coaching Model
At SQM Group, we believe that call center senior management needs to ensure that supervisors are coached on improving customer satisfaction (Csat). SQM research shows that only 21% of agents are very satisfied (top box rating) that their supervisor has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to coach them to improve their Csat performance.
Figure 1 shows SQM’s research that is based on our benchmarking of over 500 leading North American call centers for agent Csat for resolving an inquiry or problem, agents Csat performance breakdown for world-class is 25%, high 35%, average 25%, and low is 10%. As a result, supervisors tend to spend more time coaching agents that are average or below Csat performance to help improve the call center’s overall Csat.
However, given that most call center Csat improvement comes from agents with high Csat performance versus agents with average or below Csat performance level, it is worth asking, “what is the right supervisor coaching time allocation for agent customer service improvement”?
SQM’s VoC agent coaching model in figure 1 shows that supervisors coaching time agent Csat performance breakdown for world-class is 10%, high 50%, average 30%, and low is 10%. The key message is that in most cases, supervisors need to spend more coaching time with high-performing agents versus average or below Csat agent performers to help improve the call center’s overall Csat.
Supervisors are hired from the agent position in most call centers and receive minimal training to help agents improve Csat. Therefore, one of the best investments that call center management can make is to train supervisors on how to coach their agents for call resolution and Csat.
An agent Csat coaching tip is to utilize supervisors who have been certified as world-class Csat performers as the trainer for training other supervisors on how to coach their agents to improve call resolution and Csat.
Supervisors should be trained on a voice of the customer (VoC) agent coaching model similar to that shown in Figure 1. Specifically, supervisors should be trained on how to coach their agents based on their Csat performance level.
For example, the coaching approach for a world-class agent Csat performer is different than for a low Csat performing agent. Moreover, Supervisors should also understand how much time they should spend with each of the different agent Csat performance levels.
Supervisors should also clearly understand how to recognize world-class Csat performers, encourage agents to improve, and, most importantly, properly coach agents to improve their call resolution and Csat performance.
In addition, supervisors should be able to identify whether or not low-performing Csat agents have a skill or a will issue and what type of action needs to be taken with the low-performing Csat agents.
A skill issue is where more training will address a gap in knowledge and process and remedy the agent’s performance (e.g., use of a job aid, authority limits). Conversely, a will issue where the agent has all the knowledge required to do the job but lacks the attitude and willingness to deliver world-class customer service. In many instances, personal issues influence this attitude; supervisors need to be given support on how to help with these issues and exactly how much tolerance the organization has when it starts to impact the customer’s experience.
Figure 1. VoC Agent Coaching Model