Good customer service is a cornerstone of successful businesses, so it makes sense that business leaders want their employees to deliver the best customer service possible. Many of the processes and tools supervisors use are outdated, which makes it difficult to scale customer service satisfaction beyond a fraction of interactions. Giving your employees the tools, resources, and inspiration to deliver exceptional service is a great strategy to keep your clients happy and loyal. In this article, we’ll explain how to increase customer satisfaction through CS (Customer Service) agent coaching.
Customer service is one of the greatest factors in customer acquisition and retention. Great customer service makes businesses stand out among competitors and inspires word-of-mouth brand equity. Businesses use a variety of metrics to evaluate their customer service, and regular training teaches CS agents how to provide great service. But training, while critical, tends to be one-size-fits-all, and metrics such as average handle time (AHT) don’t always address pain points that lead to frustrated customers. This is where good CS agent coaching comes in.
Building Tools for Success
In a world where personalization is expected, it’s not just customers who want personalized support. CS agents also need personalized feedback so they understand how to make customers happy. There are a few steps business leaders can take to make this happen.
First is collecting and analyzing the right data. This is best done using a coaching and quality assurance software such as MaestroQA, which brings all aspects of coaching into one platform. Using a cohesive platform gives agents personalized tools for success by allowing them to track their own analytics. It also allows business leaders to focus on the right metrics.
With the MaestroQA platform, collecting and analyzing data impacting customer happiness is key. For example, while a high first contact resolution rate (FCR) is typically good news, it may not matter as much for a company where customers value relationship-building. If your product boasts individualized customer support, multiple contacts — or follow-up emails saying “Thank you” — may throw off the data. Instead, quality assurance (QA) scorecards should be central to operations, in addition to company-specific metrics.
Once you know you have the data you need, creating a customized data dashboard gets everyone on the same page. It allows agents to practice self-accountability and empowers them to understand their own analytics, leading to a culture of meaningful improvement.
Additionally, automating repetitive aspects of QA scoring enables your team to score more interactions with more efficiency. This also increases the customer support team’s trust of QA data. More QA data points mean more insight on how to satisfy customers.
Ultimately, you want to find a QA program that aligns with your customer service philosophy and values.
Providing Resources Via Coaching
Next comes setting up 1:1 coaching sessions. These should be regularly scheduled to prevent agents from slipping through the cracks or feeling ambushed when things aren’t going well. Every agent needs to expect and receive coaching, however frequency of coaching depends on each agent. Early sessions should include a plan for how to process and implement coaching, taking into account each agents’ learning styles and strengths. Ongoing sessions should be tailored to both agent and customer needs.
To prepare for coaching sessions, QA analysis is helpful. This is because it refers back to actual data from customers. Screen recording also provides valuable insight into what CS agents need. This can reveal simple steps to improve response time and solve customer issues quickly. For example, customers directly benefit from an agent being able to quickly locate relevant internal articles. Discovering gaps in preparation for coaching means you’ll know how to best update your knowledge-base tool or learning management software (LMS), too.
A few times coaching is especially beneficial:
- When onboarding new employees
Training is critical for employee success. However, early coaching can provide scenario-based opportunities for agents to apply training in real-time. Early interventions can prevent bad habits and enhance agent job satisfaction. Early personalized feedback means customers are more likely to get a seasoned agent, thus improving overall statistics.
- When customer satisfaction is trending downward
Using a holistic analytics and coaching tool makes it easier to catch issues with customer satisfaction. The root cause of problems should guide coaching sessions and guide toward best practices. Resources can also be provided to individual agents to curb low CSAT scores.
- When implementing new systems
Providing coaching sessions when implementing new CS systems is crucial, especially as agent roles change to align with new digital solutions. Automation is the future, and agents need to understand how they fit into the customer experience. Customers may bring frustration if they’ve already interacted with a bot and received a bad answer. They may also bring more complex questions if the bot does its job of answering simple frontline questions. Coaching helps agents efficiently adjust to new technologies.
Inspiring CS Agent Success
The well-known StrengthsFinder assessment is based on the formula Talent x Investment = Strength. Taking this formula and applying it to coaching develops agents’ strengths that may have less obvious CS applications, but help in the long run. Finding out what makes employees tick, and what reward systems motivate them, can also inspire excellence.
Tracking individuals’ progress over time is the final step in coaching. If your company already has a smooth annual review system, it may be easiest to borrow elements of that system. If not, start by creating a file for each agent with ongoing coaching session notes, goals, and wins.
Allowing Coaching to Guide Culture
Coaching provides room for honest feedback from agents as well as coaches. It shows agents that supervisors aren’t out of touch with daily realities. Agents should be encouraged to bring concerns about workload, morale, and pain points to coaching sessions. When coaching leads to positive change in both customer happiness and organizational function, it inspires greater buy-in.
Coaching analytics, in turn, provide insight into low CSAT scores and help turn around uninspiring QA performance. Using coaching to improve customer experience leads to happier agents and, ultimately, customers. In the end, everyone wins.