The secrets of high-performing call centre teams (Part 2)
To read the first part of this article, click here.
2) Learning-Style Coaching
Coaching members of staff can easily solve these problems. Learning-style coaching is an amazing way to tap into a person’s full potential. Your learning styles have more influence than you may realise. Your preferred style guides the way in which you learn and how effective this learning is. They also change the way you internalise information and represent experiences – the way you recall facts, and even the words you choose.
Research shows us that each different learning style engages a different part of the brain. By involving more of the brain during learning, we remember more. I was shocked to find, while coaching in numerous call centers that they were not aware of these methods of learning, or if they were, they didn’t understand the importance of them.
In one situation, I saw a coach who spent 60 hours with one single person, and was still left unable to understand why there was no increase in their performance. Just think of how much time and money that cost the business? (By the way he was paid £10 per hour = £600.)
However after conducting a learning styles preference questionnaire, the coach then understood straight away what techniques worked to improve performance, which resulted in an instant 10% increase in performance within one coaching session. That’s right, a 10% increase in performance. How much money do you think that instantly made the business?
The biggest learning point I have noticed is the majority of the coaches I have observed are great at telling the rep what to do and maybe show them how to do it. Where they could get even better results, is allowing the person to practice their learning in a safe environment such as a role-play. Can you imagine what confidence this would install in the delegate if they know they can do it well before they approached the customer?
Before you leave that person knowing that they have not demonstrated or practiced their understanding of your coaching, one question I would love you to ask yourself is: how do you know they understand how to perform their new learning?
Another classic that I have observed is coaches/managers do not follow up by monitoring progress. So what you are left with is the rep trying their best until something goes wrong which lowers their confidence in their own abilities and they cease trying. Although, I have also seen some managers only increase training when taking disciplinary action against a rep.
But how great would it be if the coach/manager actually monitored the rep’s progress and were there to provide support and help if they were needed? I mean, you wouldn’t teach a child how to walk, then leave him/her alone to just get on with things after they had only just taken their first few steps, would you?
Remember this little golden nugget, We learn 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we see and hear, 70% of what we discuss, 80% of what we experience and 95% of what we teach to others.
3) A Manager’s Mission
How super would it be if managers made it their mission to individually tailor their tactics to each member of their team? Working to develop team members by engaging them in how to further them and understand their own career paths, not the career path of the company.
Only 35% of businesses believe that their employees understand how they can influence their careers (www.towerwatson.com).
The majority of companies will train their staff to ensure they are capable of doing their primary duty. This is great and needs to continue so that they are in no way a risk to the business; however, once these workers reach a certain level of expertise within their current role, they are left to then complete their tasks and very little else.
By leaving them to get on with things, they may begin to stagnate, become bored and demotivated. How much would it cost the company then to revitalise them? But not to worry, there is a simple solution, which can greatly benefit everyone involved.
Just think about this: how great would it be if the rep identified what behaviour or skill they would love to develop further in order to enhance their worth to the business and then shared their learning with others?
I’m certain that’s a win-win for all concerned. The workers have a renewed sense of importance and feel more involved. It will also economically benefit the company – and remember the 95% learning rule.
4) 80/20 Coaching
Now I bet you’re wondering, how or why this principle applies to your coaching? Most of the time, managers and coaches spend 80% of their time talking to people about what is broken, what they are doing wrong and telling them to go fix it. I find that this approach does not work. More often it encourage self-doubt, low confidence which means this individual may struggle to make a decision. Think of it in terms of the laws of attraction; whatever you focus on is what you attract.
Eight per cent of your coaching time is to develop people strengths.
If you spend 80% of your time trying to fix something, that is time you are NOT spending on improving something else, something possible more useful. I have seen numerous times where companies lose their best employees because they have felt the companies time was invested in the low achievers rather than the top achievers. One question I would like to ask is which one would you like to keep in your company?
Think about this.
What you are good at doing? What if you could do MORE of what you are good at, more of what you LOVE to do, more of what ENERGISES you? How much more would you get done? How much more positive would you be every day at work? How much better would your life be?
Spend 80% of your time coaching people’s strengths and use the aforementioned coaching tools in order to reap results above and beyond what you have previously achieved.
Their peers, who know what it is like to work in that specific role, could now coach the people, who are genuinely struggling with their role. These guys can be your own team captains who would love responsibility. This frees up your time to help everyone else.
The other 20% of your coaching time could be spent helping to improve people’s goals. Where do they see themselves in three, six or even 12 months time? By doing this, the delegates’ confidence will increase; they will be more willing to try new things and to work out of their comfort zone. They will become happier and more secure in their job, all effectively boosting team morale.
Trust me, it works.
5) Team Dynamics
Even with everything mentioned in this article, it all really comes down to one key factor: the strength of team dynamics. We get from our workers what we give to them.
A symbiotic relationship between manager and team members is crucial to the team’s overall success and in turn the success of the business as a whole.
A strong team dynamic allows us to understand:
- How to get everyone to understand why people do what they do, and how to use this information to their advantage.
- How to use people’s strengths to ensure the team grows.
Each individual within the team is equally important. They need to be encouraged and supported.
Our brains control how we feel and how we react in different situation, they make us question things such as:
- Am I needed?
- Am I valued?
- How do I relate to and fit in with this team in order to survive?
- What is my status?
We must see these conflicting ideas as an opportunity, to reinforce how important each individual is to the business: give them a sense of fulfillment. When employees feel empowered and in control they perform to a higher standard.
Twenty-eight per cent of contact centre agents feel empowered enough to give £20 compensation to a customer without consulting a supervisor for approval and 63% feel comfortable enough to talk as long as they want.
Imagine what difference it would make if we coached the call center reps to make the right decision for business and customers.
The possibilities are endless!
About the Author
Paula Wingate is the founder of Influential Minds (www.influentialminds.co.uk). She is an energetic Performance Coach with 18 years’ experience of designing world-class Coaching and Learning programmes for Sales and Customer Service teams in the Financial Services sector. For First Direct and HSBC, Paula has personally coached, managed and developed over 75 Senior Managers and 40 Team Leaders enabling them to consistently exceed their KPIs transforming their personal performance and directly impacting the banks’ bottom lines.