August 6, 2022

Tips for Coaching Call Center Agents

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Tips for Coaching Call Center Agents

Customers rely on call center agents to know what they are doing and to be able to actually help them. They also expect agents to have good customer service skills and to be pleasant to interact with over the phone. After all, the customer experience can make or break a person’s opinion of a brand. About 33% of people would consider switching companies immediately after having a poor customer service experience. It is vitally important to coach call center agents

To ensure consistent, high-level customer service, agents need to be coached so they understand how to perform their jobs and how to do them well. Coaching call center agents gives them the necessary skills they will be using on the job and is also a great chance to improve any performance levels that need to be boosted. 

Coaching is not always an easy task though and agents are individual people who respond differently to various tactics. As a manager, it’s your role to engage your employees in ways that work for them and actually drive them to achievement. So, here are some tips that might help you in devising the best strategy to coach your agents into becoming top performers.

Benefits of Coaching in the Call Center

There are actually multiple benefits to offering this type of guidance for customer service representatives.

Managers who coach their agents often see the best results as a quality management technique. If there have been customer complaints or you have listened to call recordings and noticed a problem, then this is the time to address those issues. Many people may not realize it, but customer service is a skill that has to be learned and practiced to fully master. This is the time to help teach that skill and offer advice about what to do in particular situations.

Managers also have the opportunity to see who their top talent is and offer recognition while also encouraging those who may have lower KPI scores. Identify strengths and build on those strengths to bring out everyone’s highest potential. Agents may want to move up in the call center in time and this is one of the ways they can go about working towards that goal. Managers can also see who may not be the best fit for this particular role and might benefit from doing something else.

Managers who coach their agents often see the best results as a quality management technique.

How to Approach Coaching

These methods can make the difference in how you inspire your agents. Try them out the next time you meet with your employees if you don’t already.

Use Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is a highly effective way to give feedback without completely discouraging your employee. Solely focusing on the negative will only serve to make your agents feel bad and may make their performance worse, as they might be worried about losing their job.

Let them know what they are doing well to begin with then move on to what they could be doing better. Use specific examples when talking about what they did correctly or what they have already improved on so they know you recognize their efforts.

Still avoid harsh language because your tone matters, especially when talking about the not-so-great stuff. This keeps stress levels low and allows the agent to trust you. Also, make sure to wrap up the coaching session with a positive note to keep the overall message as one of encouragement.

Hold Team Meetings and One-on-One Sessions

Set up team meetings to discuss general issues that may have been popping up and are not specific to one person. Cover goals and any new information everyone may need to know so they stay up-to-date. This allows you to get expectations from both the company and yourself. Also, give people a chance to ask questions and clarify anything you cover in the meeting.

One-on-one sessions are the appropriate route when you need to talk to an individual agent, rather than calling someone out in a team meeting and causing them unintentional embarrassment. Give them the opportunity to ask questions that they may not feel comfortable with asking in a team meeting. You may want to ask them to give you feedback or if there is anything they need from you as a manager, as well, so you know if what you are doing is actually effective.

Role Play for to Practice Customer Service

Role playing a scenario will give your agent the chance to practice their customer service skills in a safe and controlled environment. This keeps the pressure low so they can focus on what they are doing, without having to worry about possibly upsetting a real customer. Role play a made up scenario or a recent interaction the agent had and practice different strategies to handle the situation.

Have you and the agent play both roles as the customer and the agent. This allows the agent to have a try at tackling the problem and then you can show them the proper way to resolve an issue. This is particularly good to do during the on-boarding process so agents can get hands-on experience with customer service before taking on live calls.

Set meetings on a regular basis to make sure your agent is staying on track

Have Set Goals and Create a Visual Board

Work with your agents to establish goals that they can focus on and work towards. This provides them with motivation and a way to measure their progress, especially if they are aiming to move up in the center or hope to receive a raise. Try to help them brainstorm ideas and set realistic timelines for them to accomplish these goals.

A visual board is a nice touch for all of your agents to keep goals in mind and have something tangible to look at. One way you can do this is through wallboards with a big screen display to project real-time activity, and set it up in a shared space for everyone to see.  

Meet Regularly

Have set meetings on a regular basis to make sure your agent is staying on track and has the opportunity to discuss any issues they want to bring up. These meetings can be as often as they need to, possibly either weekly, monthly, or quarterly. This is an important aspect of setting agents up for success. It demonstrates your commitment to helping them and allows them the chance to reflect on their own performance, with pointers and feedback from you as needed.

Just remember that you need to find the right coaching practices that actually inspire your agents rather than put them off their work, so don’t be afraid to try different methods. Also, keep in mind that a next-generation contact center platform will elevate your agent’s performance and provide them with all the tools they need to deliver exceptional customer service. 

Tips for planning a coaching session

Center your coaching session around what’s working well (and give praise generously), what could be working better (with specific examples) and what needs improvement (also with specific examples and potential solutions).

Many managers find it helpful to structure coaching sessions around the SBI principle, or situation, behavior, impact. That might look like briefly describing a situation where the agent receiving the coaching went above and beyond and the impact that extra effort had on larger team or business goals. 

Successful coaching sessions use feedback as an opportunity for agents to learn from things they did well, and things they did not-so-well, and is the backbone of improving customer experience. But that feedback is meaningless without an actionable follow-up. 

Great call center managers use feedback as training opportunities  and encourage continuous growth among agents. They never give feedback without an actionable path for correction.

Call center coaching tips and tools

Before a coaching session, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Can you drill down into performance data and identify high performing agents who can then help pass on their skills and knowledge to others?
  • Can you easily identify and leverage exemplary call recordings as training resources? 
  • Are these available with synchronized screen recordings to give a more vivid demonstration of what high-performance looks like?

With speech analytics, managers are able to identify and listen to their agents’ most important calls that are most accurately indicative of their performance and then offer precise, data-backed feedback about conversations. Past interactions become examples of what to do right or what went wrong. As agents build off of each conversation, your call center’s ability to provide positive experiences increases.

Inbound volume surges can be detrimental to customer satisfaction if your call center isn’t able to handle them and stressful for agents. It falls to managers to make sure your call center is properly staffed and volume forecasting done on regular cadence and in a well-socialized fashion so all agents understand why demands are shifting. 

Great call center managers leverage predictive analytics to determine when they need more agents on call. They also do not shy away from overstaffing. Managers can take advantage of idle time by assigning tasks like follow-up calls and self-assessments.

Coaching techniques to avoid

Don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to coaching. Each of your agents is unique and brings individual talents to their role. Tailor training and coaching sessions to their specific needs and meet them where they are just as you would tailor your customer journey. 

Call center coaching and performance management is a balancing act. You have to make sure your agents are engaged while at the same time maintaining meeting customers’ expectations

A good manager in any field, especially fast-paced spaces like customer service contact centers, leverages technology to see the big picture more clearly. They rely on metrics powered by AI technologies to create actionable plans. Successful management teams focus on continuous improvement of both the customer and agent experience.  

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About LiveVox

LiveVox (Nasdaq: LVOX) is a next generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion omnichannel interactions a year. By seamlessly unifying blended omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WEM capabilities, the Company’s technology delivers exceptional agent and customer experiences, while helping to mitigate compliance risk. With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox’s CCaaS 2.0 platform is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. The Company has more than 650 global employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox or visit

To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox, visit or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

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