BUPLAS Coaching 101: How to Diagnose Communication Issues in Customer Service Interactions

Effective communication is the backbone of successful customer service interactions.

As a coach, you play a pivotal role in helping customer service representatives navigate and address communication challenges during their calls. By employing the BUPLAS framework, you can equip your team with the right techniques to diagnose and overcome communication issues.

 In this blog post, we will explore the steps involved in diagnosing communication problems during customer service calls and how you can leverage the BUPLAS framework to make your coaching sessions much more effective.

The BUPLAS Framework

Diagnosing Pronunciation

Diagnosing Language

Diagnosing Discourse Skills

Diagnosing Interactive Skills

Diagnosing Solution Strategy

The BUPLAS Framework

Before we deep dive into the process of diagnosing communication issues, let’s take a closer look at the fundamental principles of the BUPLAS framework.

 BUPLAS, which stands for “Business Process Language Assessment System,” is a comprehensive communication assessment and training solution first developed by Dr. Jane Lockwood, a renowned expert in Applied Linguistics, as a communication assessment framework. 

This framework is closely aligned with international language proficiency standards such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), which are widely recognized and respected worldwide.

Within the context of Operations, BUPLAS serves as a valuable tool for evaluating an individual’s communication skills across five essential domains

  • Pronunciation
  • Language
  • Discourse Skills
  • Interactive Skills
  • Solution Strategy

These 5 communication domains provide a holistic approach to assessing and improving communication effectiveness in the workplace.

Diagnosing Pronunciation

Pronunciation is a crucial aspect of communication in a customer service call. If the agent’s pronunciation is not clear or understandable, it can lead to confusion or frustration on the customer’s end. Some indicators of poor pronunciation may include: Mispronunciation of words or phrases, a quick pacing that is difficult to understand, or the inability to pronounce unfamiliar words correctly.In order to accurately diagnose pronunciation issues, a communication coach should ask questions such as: Is their pronunciation clear and understandable? Can they use intonation and stress to create meaning? Is their pace appropriate?

But more importantly, a coach needs to diagnose whether the representative is “globally comprehensible”. That is, can they be understood by a wide range of speakers, from native to non-native?

Diagnosing Language

In customer service calls, language can be a barrier if the agent and customer are not speaking the same language or if the agent is using technical jargon or unfamiliar terms.

Language proficiency is assessed by considering how well the agent can recognize and use correct grammar structures and vocabulary in the right context. This includes asking questions such as: Do they have a wide range and control of grammatical structures? Do they know how to use the appropriate words for a given situation? Can they self-correct and repair errors when required?

Diagnosing Discourse Skills

Discourse is an important element of communication, as it involves the flow and structure of conversations.  It involves the ability to put ideas into coherent and well-structured sentences and paragraphs.

When an agent possesses poor discourse skills,  they may sound like they are rambling, jumping from one thought to another or not being able to express their ideas accurately. 

To diagnose discourse issues, a communication coach can ask these questions: Are they able to appropriately maintain the conversation? Do they use appropriate discourse markers to signal turns and provide feedback? Are their questions natural and conversational?

Diagnosing Interactive Skills

Effective communication also involves the ability to understand and respond appropriately in a dialogue with customers. This includes being able to understand customer feedback, showing respect for their point of view and using language that is clear, polite and friendly.

To diagnose interactive skills, a communication coach might look at how the agent is able to understand the customer’s needs, respond appropriately and use language that conveys understanding. They can also assess if the agent is able to show empathy and build rapport with customers.

Some questions to ask include: Can they build rapport? Can they manage feelings through language choices? Can they adapt and repair communication breakdown when necessary? Can they pick up on cultural cues such as sarcasm and humor?

Diagnosing Solution Strategy

Finally, the ability to develop a solution strategy is key for effective communication. This involves being able to identify appropriate solutions and articulate them clearly in a way that is customer-centric.

To assess this, a communication coach can examine if the agent can identify customers’ needs and come up with meaningful solutions for them. They can also assess how well the agent is able to communicate the solution and ensure that both parties are in agreement.

The coach can ask questions such as: The coach can ask questions such as: Does the agent listen actively to the customer? Do they ask questions to better understand the issue and suggest solutions? Are they able to convey solutions clearly and efficiently?

In Summary:

 It’s not an easy process to diagnose communication issues in customer service, but using the BUPLAS Framework makes it much more manageable. 

We’ve broken this complex process down into five main areas – Pronunciation, Language, Discourse Skills, Interactive Skills,  and Solution Strategy – so you can easily pinpoint various types of mistakes and errors. 

A good coach should use their expertise and understanding of this framework so they can accurately diagnose each issue that arises. We understand how difficult these tasks can be, so we are here to provide organizations with a Certificate in Coaching. If you are looking for ways to certify your teams on coaching, get in touch with us today to find out how we can develop your team’s ability to diagnose communication issues and develop coaching solutions.

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