The Three Contact Center “Coacheteers” and Agent Engagement

In the Alexandre Dumas novel, The Three Musketeers, the main characters are Musketeers of the Guard. They fought in battle and also formed a royal guard for the protection of the king.

Dumas penned their famous and often quoted “all for one, one for all” motto in this novel. When I read this phrase recently, I thought of the daily battles fought in our own contact centers to keep the customer experience great and agent engagement top-notch.

We also have three musketeers of sorts in our centers. I like to call them our “coacheteers.” They are sworn to protect and fight for our customers and agents when problems arise. These are our front line leader supervisors and managers, quality analysts and trainers.

Unfortunately, instead of “all for one, one for all” in unity, some centers have seen the motto instead become, “all for me and my group”. With this focus, the customers and agents are certainly lost in the battle of control.

At times, our coaching for quality isn’t a unified effort with clear missions and goals for all of the “coacheteers.” The trainers, quality analysts and supervisors may operate separately and even become hostile when quality scoring or their processes are questioned during calibration session. They are more concerned about being right and protecting their turf, instead of asking how what they are doing is truly impacting customers and driving agent engagement.

I recently observed this type of turf war during a coaching session. The agent we listened to had responded to a customer’s questions accurately, empathetically and positively based on what the customer needed regarding the status of a complaint. The problem had been completely resolved, much to the customer’s delight. Instead of kudos, the agent received a “fail” on the call from the quality analyst because the analyst said that the agent should have told the customer that there had been a initial failure to enter information correctly by an agent at another company location, hence the delay.

The agent objected to this (and rightly so) responding that telling the customer about the details of the failure, including the failure of a co-worker, would not have done anything for the customer but upset them again after having the problem resolved, and the customer happy.

This agent’s supervisor and quality went round in circles for days about this. The excellent customer experience itself was completely lost during these disagreements over what should’ve been done and instead it became all about quality’s need to be “right.” The agent was upset and now views the quality analysts as antagonists rather than part of the same team.

To add to the agent’s frustration, the customer in this scenario sent an email to his supervisor telling how pleased she was to have this particular agent’s help since he quickly provided the information she needed and was very empathetic regarding her problem.

At your center, do you have agent coaching and quality initiatives that are “one for all, all for one” or “it’s all about me”? Make sure your trainers, quality and front line leaders are working together to create an atmosphere that is positive for both customer and agent engagement success.

About the author

Since 1983, Melissa has partnered with Contact Centers and Retail Teams to help them develop strategies, operational processes and skills to successfully blend People, Process and Technology for Customer Experience success.

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