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Why is it so hard to get people to change behaviors? Part 2

Melissa Pollock

Another challenge in achieving behavior change is rooted in the textbook definition of behavior, which is fairly universally noted as ‘actions’ or ‘the things we do’.  And while absolutely accurate, the scope of this definition falls far short when it comes to effective coaching.  Consider this...all behavior IS action, but there are different categories of actions, and that differentiation is extremely useful when observing and evaluating performance in preparation for coaching. 

We can break down behaviors, actions, into two categories – those we can see, and those we can hear.  And we can further break down how we experience each of these categories as follows: 

Visual Behaviors

1. Physical actions - What I do   -------------  Ex: I see you are talking with someone

2. Non-Verbal actions - How I do it  -------------  Ex: Your stance is stationary, open, facing the person

Auditory Behaviors

1. Language - What I say ------------- Ex: I hear you say, ‘I will definitely call you tomorrow”

2. Vocal delivery - How I say it ------------- Ex: I hear you emphasize the word ‘definitely’

For example, to evaluate a manager’s performance I might attend a team meeting he facilitates. I would observe his body movements to evaluate how he carries himself, how he supports his communication with facial expressions and hand-gestures that emphasize emotion and intensity.  I would listen to his vocal delivery – the volume and annunciation displaying his confidence and enthusiasm.  I would consider his language choice in assessment of successful transference of the message he meant to convey.  

Looking at behavior with this perspective allows us to move from thinking about ‘performance’, which is large and ambiguous, to instead thinking about a collection of very specific and tangible behaviors – which drastically simplifies our understanding of what to observe in evaluation of that performance.  This in turn equips us to have specific coaching conversations around effective behaviors to repeat, and less effective behaviors to change.  See the circle?

Improved Performance & Customer Experience
Month over month gains in Issue Resolution,
FCR and NPS;
Month over month reductions in Handle times,
ACW and Hold
Winning additional client headcount
30% improvement in sales conversion
Retaining talented people
8-point reduction in turnover
Improving financial performance
10% increase in utilization


The future of success in your contact center is contingent on how you impact performance in ways that are both immediate and sustainable. And it doesn’t matter whether your agents are on-site, at-home, full-time, part-time, or temporary – you must deliver on performance.

Coaching is one of the most significant tools we can use to deliver on the engagement and performance of our people – but we must develop our processes, our people and leadership skills, and our technology tools, in order to overthrow the pervasive challenges to achieving greater coaching effectiveness and supercharging contact center performance!

call center coaching cta@0.5x

Connect with the authors:

Melissa Pollock Customer Success at AmplifAI

Jim Rembach President at CX Media

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