Coaching a Telephone Customer Service Team

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  • 0:02 Poor vs. Excellent…
  • 0:29 Goal Setting
  • 1:20 Monitoring
  • 2:56 Positive Incentives
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amber Dixon

Amber works with graduate students enrolled in a virtual program and has a Master's of Social Work degree.

This lesson gives you an overview of guiding a telephone customer service team to success. We'll briefly examine goal setting, staff involvement, monitoring of progress, evaluation, and incentives.

Poor vs. Excellent Customer Service

A common interview question asked to prospective employees is the question, 'Tell me about a time you received poor customer service and how you responded?' It is easy to recognize poor customer service skills. However, the components of an excellent telephonic customer service experience include various factors that are largely influenced by the training and monitoring conducted by management, which we'll discuss in this lesson.

Goal Setting

Goals are best met when they are realistic, specific, and measurable. Realistic goals usually are able to be met with an expected time frame. Goals are measurable when they reflect a specific achievement. This is an example of a goal that is lacking specificity and is not measurable: Sally will improve her job-related skills. This is an example of a goal that is measurable and is specific: Sally will answer the phone by the third ring 90% of the time.

Additional goals for telephonic customer service may include answering the telephone, speaking courteously, or offering helpful information. If calls are transferred to other staff or departments, it may be appropriate to include a goal to inform the caller where the call is being transferred. If the call was transferred, another goal could be to make sure that it was picked up within a designated amount of rings.


Monitoring staff performance against goals that have been set is key to support staff to meet goals and reach success. Monitoring may be accomplished through many techniques, including consistent supervision or audio recording with customer acknowledgement. Effective use of individual supervision includes discussing difficult customers or challenges experienced during phone calls. Management then provides positive and constructive feedback to staff to coach towards improvement.

Let's look at an example. Sally informs her manager that she felt frustrated with her customer and that her emotions were present in her tone. Her manager's constructive feedback may entail asking Sally how she believes she would handle the situation if those feelings presented again during a call. Engaging Sally in the discussion assists her to build problem-solving skills and work more independently. Encouraging Sally to ask for clarification on feedback encourages her to be more open to receiving feedback in the improvement process. Accountability would be best utilized during supervision to address realistic goals discussed in previous supervision meetings.

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