First things first: Call-based coaching
It is undoubtedly (and unfortunately) a common story for call centers: In an effort to help their teams of phone reps improve performance, managers spend most of their time listening to call recordings.
Depending on the size of the team, managers may be able to spend an hour’s session each week with each rep to provide feedback and guidance. Before each one-on-one, they will listen to one of the rep’s calls, taking notes about various ways it could have gone better. The rep will try to incorporate that feedback into future calls, and their performance will improve.
At least, that’s the idea. Here’s the problem: reps make hundreds of calls a week. How can one recording provide a representative idea for managers of what’s actually happening, or how the rep really needs to improve? And how can the rep realistically trust the managers feedback based on such a small set of the overall data? (We’ll get into this particular issue of trust more in a later post in the series.)
Managers waste an inordinate amount of time to produce only marginal performance improvements (if any). Managers end up frustrated. Reps end up frustrated. Performance doesn’t improve, and business results don’t go up. This is the problem with call-based coaching.
A better approach: Behavior-based coaching
Behavior-based coaching is predicated on the idea that there are key behaviors reps should be doing on the phone that will improve their performance. Tough to argue with that. Whereas call-based coaching looks at many behaviors within only one call, behavior-based coaching focuses on one behavior and evaluates adherence to that behavior across many calls.
When a manager practices behavior-based coaching, reps receive many instances of feedback around a specific behavior, which reinforces the lesson, drives home the need for it, and provides multiple examples of opportunities to better implement the behavior within the rep’s own body of work.
Behavior-based coaching can theoretically be implemented by any manager on any team (although access to the data necessary to do it effectively can sometimes be a challenge. We will dig into this in a later post in the series.) With the consistency and precision provided by behavior-based coaching, managers spend less time to produce faster and better results, and reps gain the focus and energy they need to drive up performance and increase conversion rates.