Coaching is the new management. It is management, leadership, and training all in one. At the end of the day, being a customer support lead is not just about metrics and numbers. It is also about guiding a team who act as the face of your company.
A few months ago, we anonymously surveyed 250+ customer support agents from different industries to see what customer support leaders can do to empower them for better performance. According to the survey, 45% of agents want to have a performance feedback session with actionable advice once a month, 73% of agents would like to get more autonomy in their role, while 1 out of 4 agents said they are still being micromanaged.
But there is much more to performance coaching than empowerment alone. When done correctly and with the right tools, it can add immense quantifiable value, efficiency, and transparency for your team and the business as a whole. So what is performance coaching, why should it matter in customer service, and what can it do at scale? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is Performance Coaching?
Performance coaching in customer service consists of the techniques you use to bring about continuous growth in your support agents.
As a rule, it’s easy to get all caught up in spreadsheets and over-focus on what has been done, instead of highlighting what actually matters most— the people doing the work. But the truth is that by investing the effort in understanding performance metrics, giving timely constructive feedback and data-informed advice, helping your agents grow personally and professionally, you unlock their potential, which ultimately helps drive the team to achieve results much faster. Not to mention that when your agents feel continuously supported, confident and empowered, they are more likely to stay at the company for much longer.
A lot of the current performance management still lacks actionability and is gut feeling-based.
And there’s no denying that managing a customer support team, let alone coaching it for increased performance outcomes, is a daunting experience and especially if it is not the only thing on your plate. Coupled with a lot of metrics and multiple spreadsheets to track them, frequent feedback sessions, and development plans — it can become overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Not if you know how to work smart.
Performance Coaching: Challenges & Solutions
After spending some time doing research, conducting interviews, and analyzing the challenges customer support leaders have to deal with both seasonally as well as on a daily basis, we narrowed it down to 3 main issues and realized that performance coaching is the answer to all of them:
❌ Team performance
- Spending endless hours trying to figure out how to improve team performance but still missing an effective plan of action.
- Losing track of metrics or losing focus because there seem to be too many metrics to keep up with.
- Trying to decide which metrics matter most to the success of each individual, the team, and the business.
- Struggling to find a way to encourage agents to exceed performance expectations.
- Failing to account for the coaching needs of each individual, not just the top or bottom performers.
❌ Employee churn
- Training new agents for 6 months only to lose them after 12 months, especially as a result of seasonal hiring.
- Not giving agents adequate career development plans for them to see a future at the company.
- Not having a system of rewards or recognition to congratulate agents on the job well done so they feel appreciated.
❌ Operational inefficiency
- Struggling to keep up with all the incoming tasks and ending up managing processes, not people.
- Not having a holistic view over all the metrics and statuses to always make well-informed decisions
- Spending too much time looking at and comparing metrics instead of coaching agents.
With performance coaching, you can build a coaching culture, keep communication flowing, provide timely feedback, set clear goals, to-dos, and expectations, while also recognizing your agents for their achievements. Here’s how effortless it can be when you do it with Kaizo.
Performance Coaching with Kaizo
1. Identify a Coachable Moment
Suppose a Customer Support Lead, Claudia, wants to change how she manages teams and develop a coaching culture. She sets out on her coaching journey by consolidating all the data she has within one platform and identifying Coachable Moments, aka learning opportunities, that will make it easy for her agents to grow and for her to spearhead the process.
2. Create Coachable Objectives
Next, Claudia uses those Coachable Moments to develop Coachable Objectives, which stand for high-level goals.
With the help of Agent Scorecard and Team House, she creates Action Items, tracks Agents’ performance, and documents all points discussed in 1:1s. Finally, she takes it all to the Mission Center to create Missions, aka SMART goals, and track the progress.
At the same time, Claudia uses the Team House as a personal coaching space to take notes of points discussed, agreed on actions and track the progress of actions.
3. Act on and Monitor Objectives
Claudia leverages Team House, Mission Center, and real-time metrics to give her agents improvement suggestions based on real-time data. She consistently sets Alerts to always know where her team needs coaching and lets her agents track their own progress in Dojo for better accountability and ownership.
4. Evaluate Results & Celebrate Success
Claudia knows that appreciation goes a long way: people feel valued and accomplished. They feel they are making a difference in the future of the company. Along with a solid system of rewards they have at the company, Claudia uses Team House to recognize her agents for their efforts and Mission Center to celebrate achievements.
Performance coaching doesn’t have to be a monologue where you tell the employees what to improve and wish them luck. Instead, we recommend a fun, structured, holistic approach that allows for real progress and results. Kaizo gives you this unique opportunity to make performance coaching easy, efficient and results-driven. Get started now by installing Kaizo below.