Customer Service

Why customer service coaching matters

Good customer service coaching drives rep performance and retention.

Delivering good customer service has never been more difficult as customers are savvier than ever and their expectations are a constantly moving target.

Meanwhile, customer service teams have to handle ever more complex customer interactions, higher expectations, and often complex interactions. They are expected to perform exceptionally under this constant pressure.

Good coaching drives performance

What most organizations don’t realize is that customer service rep performance depends on how well they are coached. Good coaching is critical: it’s the top driver of rep performance and a leading driver of rep retention.

Bad coaching can degrade performance nearly twice as much as good customer service coaching helps. And unfortunately, only 21% of supervisors are effective at coaching.

This is a problem because organizations continue to promote their top-performing customer service reps into leadership roles. Those top performers are woefully underprepared and poorly qualified to lead because they are provided little to no targeted professional development to improve their skills.

That’s where Challenger comes in.

Customer service coaching for supervisors

Customer service interactions are 4X more likely to lead to disloyalty than loyalty. But the right training can transform coaching for customer service in your organization by:

  • Enhancing individual rep performance
  • Improving staff retention and engagement
  • Creating a low-effort customer experience

Our Coaching Capabilities Builder (CCB) framework transforms your customer service organization through hands-on change management support and direct training for your supervisors. Specifically, your supervisors will learn the skills and framework needed to deliver consistent, effective coaching of customer service skills.

Our program follows best practices and includes:

A trainer certification program to promote continuous learning

Reinforcement of skills through online and offline learning opportunities

Toolkits that incorporate expert advice and education to keep learners engaged

A before and after survey that assesses coaching effectiveness through the lens of the supervisor’s direct reports

Virtual instructor-led workshops that introduce world-class customer service coaching behaviors

Why coaching for customer service skills is better than training

Customer service reps may learn in the classroom, but it’s hard for them to apply the skills they’ve learned if no one helps them apply those skills on the job. Customer service reps need to be held accountable.

Coaching differs from training in several key respects:

It’s experiential and closer to actual performance, while training is disjointed from everyday activities.

It can be personalized to staff development areas and learning preferences, compared to training’s standard, less customizable approach. Tailoring the conversation to the individual’s performance leads to bigger performance gains and higher employee engagement.

It enables staff self-discovery, while training tends to be one-way information delivery.

How organizations get customer service coaching wrong

If only 20% of supervisors are getting customer service coaching right, that means 80% are doing it wrong. And if they aren’t coaching well, they’re doing more harm than good. Research shows that it’s better to not coach at all than to coach poorly.

Unless supervisors learn what good coaching looks like, most organizations are at risk of a very inconsistent approach to coaching, with very inconsistent customer service results to show for it.

Here’s what good coaching for customer service looks like:

It’s scheduled + integrated coaching.

The best approach to customer service coaching includes scheduled and integrated coaching. Scheduled coaching discusses development needs and sets goals. Integrated coaching is informal, is built into customer interactions, and occurs regularly. It’s different from in-the-moment feedback, which is focused on correction.

It’s about quality, not quantity.

No set amount of time yields better coaching results. Data show the best approach is 75% integrated coaching and 25% scheduled coaching. Supervisors driving the largest performance gains from their teams spend most of their time coaching in real-time scenarios on the fly and less time in scheduled coaching sessions.

It’s about behaviors, not numbers.

Many coaches focus on whether reps hit their QA target or the average handle time goal. But coaching to a scorecard doesn’t course-correct and puts reps on the defensive. Supervisors must look past the numbers and find meaningful opportunities to improve the behaviors that influence the desired customer outcomes.

What customers say about Challenger customer service coaching:

“This investment in coaching, and the overall development of our people, has changed the culture of our call center. You can see it in the data and out on the floor every day in how we help customers.”

Jim LeMere, Director, Northwestern Mutual

If you’re ready to take your customer service to the next level, get in touch.

Get expert help with your customer service coaching.

Book a meeting now