by Kaylene Eckels | published on 09-23-2016
We all know the importance of offering exceptional customer service and the countless benefits that result from doing that. Quality assurance is at the core of ensuring that your customers receive quality services. In order to fully equip customer-facing employees, coaching programs must be comprehensive. How you train your staff determines the effectiveness of the quality assurance program. The seamless integration of quality assurance and coaching processes is critical to producing sustainable success.
You need to define the exact coaching process that everyone can follow so that this process can be integrated uniformly. Depending on the particular quality assurance goal, determine how much time, on average, the coaching session should require, what points will be covered in each session, how you will monitor the progress of the agent after the coaching session, and what elements should be documented in the resulting action plan following the session.
Typically, front-line managers will initiate the coaching sessions, so consult with them on the best practices and methods in addition to your other subject matter experts. It is essential to have a mutual understanding of the process for consistency of the messages passed to the representatives. As you seek their input, you will also gain buy-in to the process, particularly if it is new or requires change. Document the process, you agree to follow for future referencing purposes.
In addition to involving them in the process definition, you must train the coaches in order to drive lasting performance improvement. A well-trained coach knows that the employee should be able to both identify their errors and offer possible solutions. The coaches’ role is to guide them to accurately assess the situation and articulate how they will address the area of opportunity.
The invaluable skills the coaches learn during their training will go a long way in ensuring that all employees receive consistent coaching. They will understand better how powerful teamwork is and instill the same spirit into the agents, without any bias during the evaluation and coaching stages. When the leaders are well-trained they will be positioned to develop consistent behaviors that promote quality interactions with the end customer.
The partnership means both parties own their roles and duties towards achieving the agreed goal. When the agents understand how they contribute to the success of the QA program they will be at the center of developing an improvement strategy. Leaders need to encourage agent participation in the evaluation process for an active partnership. For instance, seek their input as you draft the evaluation forms and involve them in calibration sessions.
A great leader inspires others to be the best they can. You will motivate your agents to deliver quality services by demonstrating the behaviors you wish for them to emulate so that they learn from you even when you are not actively coaching. Choose and use words that will impact their attitude. Listen carefully to them and they will listen to your advice and guidance. Create an environment conducive for effective coaching to occur.
Once you have looped in the managers and customer representatives, you need to prepare them mentally regarding the upcoming coaching sessions. Failure to do so will lead to one-way communication and mediocre results.
A coaching session will be most effective when the agent is free to provide input on delivering quality services, identify where they believe they went right or wrong, and possible solutions to remedy the prevailing issues. An Acknowledgment under your guidance will equip the agent to take responsibility for his or her actions and encourage effective two-way communication.
Technology is always your ally when it comes to integration. There are countless technology options that will make your work effortless and seamless. For example, you can develop scorecards and dashboards to reduce the time you would otherwise use for data analysis and free up time for coaching. Information can be aggregated to make it easy to understand and provide targeted direction for program remediation efforts.
Following these tips will enable you to integrate quality assurance with coaching: define the process, train the coaches, build partnerships with agents, prepare in advance and leverage technology. Your business will grow and thrive when every person actively participates in the Quality Assurance program.