Coaching Call Center Agents in Nine Easy Steps

Call recording is my favorite method for coaching agents and maintaining quality phone calls. Want to get started? Here is my nine-step guide.

1. At random, record two to three calls. Recording at random is crucial. It is important to not record three calls at once. Your employee might be having a bad day. This may reflect in the calls, but it does not necessarily indicate their usual performance.

2. Review the calls and take note of any weaknesses. Listen to your employees’ calls before you meet with them. Take note of their strengths as well as their weaknesses. You can identify one or two areas that need improvement.

3. Play one recording to your employee. This is the first step in communicating the quality of their call and changes that may be needed, so tread carefully.

4. Ask your employee to respond about the recording. Request a response from your employee after the recording has been played. Most employees are not too critical of their own performance. However, some employees are likely to find some areas to improve and may have difficulty articulating what they have achieved.

5. Facilitate the call. Use the sandwich strategy. Start by noting what your employee did well. Next, give constructive feedback and then provide positive feedback. Focus on one area of improvement when giving constructive feedback. The employee will most likely have identified several areas of improvement and provided constructive feedback. You don’t need to mention them again. You can try to bring up a point the employee has not mentioned and give constructive feedback.

6. Set up a performance improvement commitment. Ask the employee: “What concrete steps will you take in the next five days? To improve in this area?” Notes: Take down the conversation and repeat it to yourself. Take a summary of the session and reflect on her strengths.

7. Repeat steps 2-6 with another recording. Multiple recordings are used to enable employees to defend themselves and claim that the call was a bad one. You may want to look at a second or third recording if that is the case.

8. Before the next coaching session, conduct a follow up call. Check in with your employees between coaching sessions to make sure that they are still committed. Your employee can be reached by email or in person.

9. Discuss ways to improve during the next coaching session. Before you listen to the next coaching session, ask about the progress of your employee towards the goal. This session will help you to improve your calls.

This coaching model for call center agents is simple and straightforward. It praises employees while offering suggestions on improvement. This nine-step process will help you establish clear expectations for performance, coach effectively, and motivate your employees.

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