Do these agent comments ring any bells for you?
- We never did it that way when I was on Steve’s team!
- Lori always lets us put the caller on hold without any deduction on our scores.
- I’ve never heard it explained that way and I don’t like getting marked down for something I’ve always done another way that no one told me was wrong!
Or how about these comments in a management meeting?
- I let my agents decide the best method for return shipments based on the customer’s attitude and the overall cost of the order.
- My agents know that it’s a standard to offer to pay the cost of returning merchandise no matter what the situation is with the customer.
- I’ve really never discussed how to handle return costs. I guess it’s never come up in any of our team meetings.
What good are standards if some see them as suggestions? Do you have Team standards or
This is a common scenario and the first realization to grasp is that your customer is not getting consistent service from your staff. Creating loyal customers is much more difficult when the customer doesn’t know what sort of service to expect on each call. Frustration builds quickly when they get different treatment and different answers on follow-up calls to the same company.
That’s why calibration is key to consistent performance in your
The simple answer is that a coaching team comes together and listens to actual calls to determine if the
Given that, calibration is worth every minute you spend on it. Since people aren’t machines you will never achieve a perfect calibration and yet the process will bring clarity and focus to you, your team and improve your
Let’s start simple. If you’re in a large center, start with a team of no more than ten coaches per calibration session. Schedule enough sessions to get every coach into a session. Bring actual taped calls from your center and the coaching form you use when coaching an agent with a live call. The leader of the session queues up a call and plays it to the group. It’s imperative that no one in the group comments verbally or non-verbally during the call. No groans, no rolling eyeballs, no smiles of pride – NOTHING! Every coach in the room uses a coaching form and marks on it just as if they were sitting next to the agent. When the call is over, the leader now starts a discussion of how the agent met, or did not meet, standards in the call. It’s best to start with the first item on your form and discuss one standard at a time. That usually means you’ll start with the Greeting. Does everyone agree the standard was met? If yes, explain how it was met. You might think this is needless, but it helps build clarity. If someone says the agent didn’t meet standard, ask them to report what they heard. It may require a rewind to confirm exactly what was said. You will often find you are surprised by someone’s keen listening. We will sometimes hear what we want to hear even when it’s not there!
This is a simple calibration session. It involves listening, non-judgmentally, and discussing the call based on the standards as they are set and reflected on your coaching form. There is an “advanced” calibration session that involves scoring to help coaches quickly gain clarity and proficiency in achieving standards. Two important pieces are required to run this session: A nuance list and a coaching form converted to a simple “scoring” model.
A Nuance List is the “cheat sheet” that coaches and agents alike use as the bible for what constitutes “meeting a standard” or falling outside of a standard. In Part Two of this series we discussed the creating of standards and used two, The Greeting and The Hold Technique, as examples. (Part Two provides a great review for this discussion, as it will help recall the conceptual and content-based definitions of standards.) You will now see how your early work provides the research and foundation for your Nuance List.
In Part Two, we expressed a standard for a Greeting as:
- Begin with a Salutation
- Identify your department or area
- Identify yourself using first name only
Now that we have the conceptual standard expressed above, we express the content selections that will constitute meeting a standard on the Nuance List. Remember, it’s up to your
- “Salutation” meets standard with “Good Morning, Good Afternoon or Good Evening”.
- “Identify your department or area” meets standard with “PHONE PRO”
- “Identify yourself using first name only” meets standard with “This is (first name).”
Other appropriate vocabulary selections: None
Your nuance list might allow other Salutations and would read like this:
- Other appropriate vocabulary selections:
- “Salutation” also meets standard with “Thank you for calling”.
A standard may have one, or many, alternative selections and in some cases, it simply isn’t possible to foresee or list all appropriate alternative phrasings. That’s where calibration sessions save the day! The more you calibrate, the more clarity you gain on the application and expansion of your nuance list and in the end, the more consistency you create in your
The second tool for the “advanced” session is the converted coaching form that takes your standards and assigns value to them based on whether or not the standard was met, not met or not applicable. If the standard has three parts, like the Greeting, each part performed receives a “point” when performed. If all three parts are completed, the “score” for that standard is 3 of 3 or 100%. If 2 of the 3 parts of the standard are completed, the “score” is 66%. The coaches compare the “scores” they gave on the Greeting and discuss discrepancies seeking consensus and understanding. This process, versus using only a discussion, helps the group more quickly pinpoint trouble spots and disagreements and move through a call faster.
So, in six articles you have a basic primer and many answers to the question, So Just What is Coachable? Now, go create standards, coach, calibrate and sit back and watch those great Customer Satisfaction scores roll in!
Keep your PRO StatusSign up to get the latest news and updates from PhonePRO and keep your PRO status....
Click here to signup now >>