Omni-Channel Customer Engagement Article

Why Coaching Has to be SMART

July 12, 2016

What does the role of coach mean in your omni-channel customer engagement environment? Is it the person who is brought in when things aren’t going well, or is it the individual who supports and motivates you along the way? Given the challenges that can often arise in the customer service industry, you’re likely more successful if the latter is the norm.

The problem is too many customer service organizations believe that once initial training is done, the agent should be able to hit the ground running and meet performance requirements. That may be true in the beginning, but the agent’s job is a tough one and it requires constant attention to be sure the targets are being met.

This does require a balance, of course, as not all agents want someone watching over their shoulders at all times. There is the expectation that quality monitoring puts in place that all interactions are being watched by someone. The key is that they aren’t being watched – they are part of a larger system that ensures quality deliverables in each and every interaction.

Coaching improves these interactions because it helps agents right at the point of frustration. The individual who has to deal with the challenging customer may find that it gets harder to deliver the optimal experience the more this happens. If he or she gets away from the primary messaging and steers away from what should be said to the customer or completed in a next step, this is a great opportunity to allow the coach to come alongside the agent to help them move away from a place of frustration and into one of productivity.

In a recent blog, omni-channel customer engagement solutions company, Aspect (News - Alert) provided great insight on the proper approach to coaching. When agents are going to be held to metrics and goals, there must be a process for reviewing feedback and best practices. The company recommends that the customer service environment put a coaching strategy in place that follows the SMART System to enable a discussion for feedback.

Specific – it’s important that management is clear with expectations.

Measurable – quantifiable goals are necessary to define success.

Attainable – goals must be realistic if agents are going to take them seriously.

Relevant – coaching an agent on the best way to sit at their desk is not conducive use of anyone’s time. Instead – focus on day-to-day activities and what matters to the business.

Time-bound – clear deadlines for improvement must be established and agents must be held accountable.

Coaching is an important activity to keep everyone on the same track, but it must follow the SMART System if it’s going to be effective. With so many channels to manage in the omni-channel customer engagement environment, why would you settle for anything less?

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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