SymTrain Shorts — A Case for Coaching First

Why Start with Coaching? 

There are SO many places that can use your attention to improve results in your call center that picking a place to start can be daunting, and certainly comes with an opportunity cost if you get it wrong. At SymTrain, we strongly believe that starting with coaching your existing agents is the best place to start, and I want to quickly give you a three reasons that you should agree that coaching is the best place to start: 

  1. Your largest agent population is already on the floor – and they aren’t perfect. Your tenured agents create all of your results. Your high points and your low points. Your on-the-floor agents are your results. Changing even just a few B players into A players, shaving a few seconds off of handle time, or creating competency on that new skill will move the needle A LOT. Coaching plans, geared at improving one or two of these metrics, can take a small change and apply it to your entire agent base. That’s a great, scalable ROI. 
  1. Retaining your best agents matters! The longer your agents are on the floor, the more likely it is they are getting generic feedback. Some barely get any feedback at all. This lack of feedback creates stagnation, boredom, and increases their odds of attrition. These tenured agents, the ones that have stuck with you, the ones still delivering results… require, and frankly deserve, targeted interaction coaching to keep them sharp and growing. You’ve invested a lot in them already. Help secure that investment by demonstrating that they are still important and worth your time and resources to continue growing. 
  1. You already have data to create the best plan. Your calls, along with QA and performance data, tell the full story of what is actually working or not working in your contact center. Using the behaviors of your most successful agents to inform struggling agents, provides the “flailers” real life examples of what works. Contrast this with most training materials, that can only give an idea of what happens; nothing works better to create a practice session than replicating real events and modeling after proven effective behaviors. That’s why SymTrain encourages you to use this data to build coaching simulations. 

Another benefit of starting your automated role-play journey with coaching interactions is that it can inform your onboarding as well. Once you can help existing agents with kick butt on their interactions, you will have the proven data to model on-boarding activities after; so you begin to train on what works from the very beginning. While we all know that agents change and adapt as they get more comfortable on the job, providing tips and best practices from the beginning can help them get there faster, improving your speed to proficiency by as much as 50%.  

Remember, continually updating your coaching interactions based on live data feeds the entire agent lifecycle, giving you a program that is always up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices, and protects your training team from the struggle of helping agent perform their best.  

So, in short, start with coaching, use gathered insights to inform training, and turn your B players into the A’s you need.

About SymTrain Shorts

SymTrain Shorts is a quick-hitting blog series by Liz Powel, VP of Customer Success at SymTrain where she shares best practices and insights derived from her conversations with actual SymTrain customers and her decades long experience in the contact center industry.

We can’t wait to see what knowledge bombs she drops next.

Learn more about Liz on our about page or follow her on LinkedIn
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