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November 19, 2007

Merced Systems' PowerCoach ensures that Employee Coaching is Done Right

By Patrick Barnard, TMCnet Assignment Editor

Got a sales rep who never seems to finish up his close outs in time?

Got a call center agent who never succeeds at the cross-sell?

Got a field technician who fails to complete his invoices immediately after the job is done?

It could be that each is a good worker -- they just need some coaching to help them improve. But how do you know what coaching was delivered prior, so as to properly gauge performance improvement? How do you ensure that coaching sessions are delivered when they should be – that they are completed properly – and that the employee performed well while being coached? Perhaps most importantly, how do you know that coaching is being delivered consistently, and as per business rules?

Merced PowerCoach, a new, Web-based performance management application from Merced Systems (News - Alert), can help. With this new Web-based “dashboard,” managers, executives and even small business owners can get updates on employee performance and then use that information to deliver coaching or additional training automatically. They can also monitor and track coaching sessions – whether delivered via e-learning or otherwise – to ensure that the coaching is being implemented effectively and consistently, and that employees are truly benefiting from it.

This targeted, quick-to-deploy application is designed to help companies improve coaching effectiveness in order to drive increases in sales, customer satisfaction, and efficiency. It is used to document coaching sessions, monitor coaching activity and standardize the recognition process in order to improve individual performance of customer-facing personnel. It offers integrated analytics to help supervisors deliver coaching consistently, as per business rules, and ensure appropriate session follow-up. Thus it is a great tool for showing compliance with company coaching and training standards.

“Employee coaching is a common practice in call centers – whether it’s one-on-one weekly meetings between supervisors and agents, yearly performance appraisals, feedback sessions, team meetings, quality monitoring sessions, or formalized training sessions,” said Mark Selcow, president of Merced Systems, during a recent email interview with TMCnet. “Merced PowerCoach is designed to standardize, automate, and improve all of these interactions which are critical to improving operational performance.”

“Coaching has always been part of Merced’s offerings, as a workflow process in Merced Performance Suite,” he added. “Merced PowerCoach is the first application in a new category of on demand solutions delivering industry best practices on critical processes like coaching. Merced PowerCoach is not an eLearning tool but rather is an on-demand solution allowing operations to monitor coaching activity, document development sessions, track session follow-up tasks and deliver personalized performance milestones.”

Selcow said PowerCoach includes many of the same features found in Merced Performance Suite, including fully integrated analytics, personalized dashboards and workflow consisting of alerts, messages, tasks and forms. The application, he said, is based on Merced Systems’ extensive experience helping industry leading Fortune 100 companies improve critical employee coaching and development processes.

Merced PowerCoach provides supervisors and agents with the tools they need to document and follow-up on coaching sessions,” he said. “More specifically, it automatically generates critical coaching content, including a record of employee coaching sessions, eliminating the need for any client configuration or custom content generation.”

Customers provide their own content, which is stored on the system.

“Merced PowerCoach automatically sources and tracks customer specific content within the application (e.g. completed coaching forms, follow-up milestones dates, and Supervisors level coaching frequency goals) as supervisors and agents use the application to manage their day-to-day coaching activities,” Selcow said. “All content including client completed coaching forms, activity tracking reports, alerts, messages, and tasks are stored within the hosted application. Because the application automatically generates content specific and unique to each customer, all content within the application is self-contained, and requires minimal set-up and no upfront customer content generation or configuration.”

“Merced PowerCoach is a self-contained, stand-alone application and therefore does not require any integration with other systems,” he added. “Because the application is based on Merced Performance Suite, Merced PowerCoach customers can easily upgrade to the full Merced Performance Suite, without losing any information.”

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Patrick Barnard is Associate Editor for Customer Interaction Solutions magazine and Assignment Editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit Patrick Barnard’s columnist page.


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