We all love doing it – telling our friends and family about the shop assistant who went the extra mile, the nurse who showed extra care or the colleague who promised that job would be done by 4pm, but then didn’t follow through… Grrr!
But how many times do we tell the actual shop assistant, the nurse or the colleague how their actions have affected us – both in positive terms or negative terms?
I only ask because I’m not sure it happens that often. But it’s so important…
Feedback makes our day. The instant recognition of a job well done gives me a glow inside straight away. And, whilst a “tip” on how I could improve sometimes invokes an initial downbeat reaction, I usually “get it” after some reflection. And the bottom line? If I don’t know how people are reacting to my actions and behaviours, how can I improve?
Apparently, it’s all about motivation and engagement
We’re told that an engaged and motivated team is the key to any successful business. University of Warwick research recently found that happy workers are 22% more productive than unhappy workers.
I love these types of surveys that tell us what we already know 😉
However, they are really useful because they prompt the next question and the discussion that ensues: “So what’s the key to keeping colleagues happy, motivated and engaged?” The question may be even more pertinent to service and sales leaders who face the daily challenge of motivating colleagues, who must cope with more than their fair share of negative feedback from customers.
And so, to the point of my blog for this week…
I believe that feedback is an essential tool to keep team members motivated and engaged and I’ve summarised 5 steps to really understand the value of feedback and the power it gives to managers and agents.
- Avoid performance management (including QA) becoming just a tick-box exercise
- Feedback for everyone
- Make sure the message lands
- Recognise colleagues who go the extra mile
- Use Insights from feedback to identify process and policy issues
1. Avoid performance management becoming just a tick-box exercise.
No matter what system you use: spreadsheets, your own in-house system, or a QA and performance management platform like EvaluAgent; your performance evaluation process will generate scores and data to help you identify performance results, trends and areas to focus on.
It’s personalised and actionable feedback on what’s going well and not going that well, that helps agents to change behaviours.
To help ensure that the message lands, copying in managers and or coaches helps ensure that agents get the support they need to interpret and act on feedback
A Harvard Business Review article suggested that in one study, “compliance rates rose sharply from 10% and reached almost 90% within four weeks.” When positive reinforcement was used effectively and regularly.
2. Feedback for everyone.
Providing more general feedback can assist with today’s remote home-working teams who need to interact with peers and their team leader at regular intervals.
A poor performer or a bad relationship can quickly derail a remote team if issues are ignored. Performance management experts call this micro-feedback and a slick tech-enabled feedback loop really helps ensure that colleagues don’t feel alone and unsupported.
Amplify the impact of positive feedback by posting it for everyone to see. That can be a post-it-note on a PC or on the team’s white-board, or a message in a public Slack® or MS Teams channel.
3. Make sure the message lands
Of course having invested time in sharing feedback with a team member, you need to make sure the message has landed.
A big step towards building a truly effective feedback culture is to encourage recipients to accept and acknowledge feedback. Because if we can’t accept feedback, how do we ever change?
To just reinforce that point – a survey published by Harvard Business Review found that 92% of respondents agreed with the assertion, “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.” They also asked what was most helpful in their career, whereby 72% said they thought their performance would improve if their managers would provide corrective feedback, rather than just praise or recognition.
4. Recognise colleagues who go the extra-mile
Sales and service desks wouldn’t be the same without a leader-board; a smidgen of healthy competition definitely helps in building rapport amongst the team!
Ranking your agents and your managers based on the amount of positive feedback they’ve received, goes a long way towards building and maintaining a culture focused on positive behaviours.
Run competitions over any time frame to recognise colleagues who go the extra mile – not just for customers, but for their team mates also.
They may not be the top performer, they may not even by the most improved performer, but they’re the person who goes out of their way to help colleagues or shares a joke to keep up morale.
5. Use Insights from feedback to identify process and policy issues
Finally, feedback can be used to unearth wider business issues. As well as using individual feedback to help a colleague improve performance and change behaviours, with the right technical capabilities, you can analyse the full data set to identify any trends.
Because sometimes it’s a process or policy glitch that’s the cause of poor agent-customer interactions.
Feedback within EvaluAgent
If what I’ve shared resonates and makes sense, you’ll be please to know that EvaluAgent has a powerful and slick feedback module built in. We’ve recently enhanced it to include our experiences of running and supporting sales and service desks in literally hundreds of operations around the world. Blatant product plug….
Check out this 5 minute video to see it in action to see if it could benefit your business.