Monitoring and Feedback

In previous parts of this series I’ve touched on the importance of INTENT and how understanding and acting from intent will allow you to lead and inspire your team. And I’ve talked about the impact of empowering your team and ways to enable them and the importance of providing the kind of training that prepares your team to deliver the intent of your service strategy.

The fourth key action to take to successfully launch and sustain your strategy is to Monitor and Give Feedback. Remember the goal is to ensure that your customer service strategy takes hold, becomes a part of the culture and is never, ever considered a passing fancy. The best way to sustain performance is to pay attention to what your team is doing and provide feedback. Pay attention to the floor, observe what’s going on, listen to the hum, monitor calls, and review e-mails to identify behaviors to coach.

Speaking of identifying behaviors to coach, if you want your reps to adopt the strategy as their own faster, try this: As you monitor, focus on catching them doing things that support delivering great customer experiences. In short, catch them doing things right. It’s a lot easier to find mistakes or things we’d do differently or better, but I challenge you to try to focus on the pluses.

While there’s nothing more helpful for identifying coachable behaviors than monitoring customer interactions, there are benefits to paying attention to your team’s climate – the perception of how things feel to the individuals on the team. Climate drives performance. While you’re out on the floor, ask reps questions like these:

  • What was the most satisfying experience you had at work this week?
  • What’s your favorite type of customer interaction? (You may notice that they don’t all say “the easy ones.” Some people thrive on challenging calls and e-mails. This question also gives you insight into what motivates each agent.)
  • What are you hearing from customers?
  • What would you like to be able to do for customers that you’re not able to do?
  • What inspires you to do your best work?
  • What are you learning at work these days?

These are great conversation starters and will give you incredibly valuable first-hand information.

The other half of this key action element is to Give Feedback. If you want to hear and see positive evidence of great customer service, praise it! When employees receive sincere and relevant praise on a regular basis, they feel valued and supported by management. And when employees feel valued and supported, they become more dedicated to their work and eager to meet the needs of the organization.

Monitoring performance puts you in a great position to be able to give feedback that makes a real difference. It puts you in a position to help tweak performance that could be even better with a minor adjustment or correct behaviors that need to change. Adding a regular cadence to your monitoring and feedback pumps up its value; reps come to expect and count on the feedback to excel in their jobs.

In addition to helping your team be its best…there’s another benefit. Your team sees your commitment to the customer service strategy and to each individual on the team. They see how much you believe in them and what they’re doing and THAT provides another jolt of inspiration.

Here are some things to think about… questions to consider that are related to the fourth key action:

  • How do you know how well your team is delivering the kind of service they were trained to deliver?
  • When you observe or monitor, do you look for things to praise or things to correct?
  • How often does each of your team members get direct feedback from you related to their customer service performance?
  • How would you describe the cadence of your monitoring and feedback?
  • If each of your team members improved their performance by even 1% each time you gave feedback what would it mean to the business?

Establishing and sustaining a customer service strategy – one that is truly customer-focused and provides the training and tools employees need to execute it – is no mean feat. But I venture to say that no one reading this is worried about a little challenge. Here’s the good news: Your commitment to cadence driven monitoring and feedback will not only sustain your strategy; it will help it and your employees flourish! Now, as Nike says, “Just Do It!”