On Apr, 30 2021
Responding to agent feedback can be a difficult task. How should a company respond to feedback in a way that gets the desired result while also keeping agents happy? Below is a framework for companies to respectfully and efficiently respond to agent feedback to ensure they are getting the information they need while still managing the process in a way that makes a difference.
1) Create an option for anonymous feedback – Simply put, not all agents want their identity tied to feedback. Doing this can cause hesitancy and create “false positive” feedback because an employee fears being honest may cost them a promotion or even their job. A contact center should always have a channel for agents to submit anonymous feedback to get as many truthful responses as possible.
2) Reply to all feedback quickly – Sitting on agent feedback for days (or even weeks) before responding is a direct indication that you don’t care about what they have to say. Delegate a specific employee in your contact center to quickly reply to all agent feedback, even if it’s a “thank you, we’re going to explore this further” message. This is even more relevant for gig and temporary agents where a strong relationship with contact center leadership may not exist.
3) Be sincere, relevant, and honest – When agents take the time to provide feedback, they expect it to be taken seriously. Don’t create an environment where responding to feedback means twisting words or changing the narrative. Instead, take a highly professional approach to feedback to ensure agents understand that what they say matters. This approach can also help to build trust and improve agent collaboration across the multiple ways you work together.
4) Respond to both positive and negative feedback – A contact center should never make feedback synonymous with negative experiences. Instead, respond to and acknowledge both positive and negative feedback. It shows agents you are listening to the good things they have to say too!
5) Always provide negative feedback in a private setting – While positive feedback may sometimes be shared in front of others, negative feedback should remain personal. Don’t embarrass agents for sharing their negative thoughts by relaying this information to other agents as it can discourage the rest of the team from providing feedback. Nobody likes to be publicly perceived as negative or condescending.
6) Turn great feedback into a conversation – When you receive actionable feedback, don’t just respond with “thank you” and put the plans in motion behind the scenes to implement changes. Instead, communicate a plan on how you will implement the feedback to the agent who submitted it. If someone is providing feedback, it shows they care enough to be involved with and a part of positive change.
7) Archive and track all employee feedback – Data matters, especially when it comes to feedback. Do you have an agent that submits a lot of positive feedback? Ask them to be an advocate for HR to drive hiring efforts. How about multiple pieces of negative feedback? Schedule a one-on-one meeting with the agent to find out more information. Tracking and archiving each request, especially if it’s the result of an agent survey, can also let you know how common specific feedback is so you can attempt to tackle the highest volume feedback items first.
8) Bring in a third-party for complex feedback situations – Sometimes feedback doesn’t have an easy answer or response. And, in other cases, the contact center team may be too close to the situation to provide the right perspective. In these cases, bring in a third-party to evaluate the feedback under a different lens. It can be a vendor, an executive in a different department, a consultant, or another relevant role. A fresh outlook can occasionally shine light on possible solutions that have not been explored yet.
Hopefully these strategies on responding to agent feedback were helpful. The overarching theme when working with this type of information is to take it seriously and show respect. If you want this area to move the needle, ensure you’re creating a work environment where agents feel comfortable providing real feedback that matters.