Customer Experience News & Trends

Communicate with tact: 3 ways to give reps negative feedback

It’s fun to praise employees because it usually lifts morale and spawns even better performance. But giving customer-facing reps negative feedback isn’t so pleasant.

Criticism can hurt morale — and you certainly don’t want anyone with low morale helping customers day-in and day-out.

So giving negative feedback about performance is tricky business when dealing with your front-line customer service professionals.

Better ways to dish it

Here are four ideas on how to do it without killing morale:

  1. Do it on an ongoing basis. It sounds cruel at first — telling you to constantly give customer service personnel negative feedback. But here’s the idea behind it: If you wait until annual reviews to bring up an issue, employees will barely hear what you’re saying. They’re thinking about salary. However, feedback isn’t just about pay. It’s about learning and growing professionally. And those are things that need to happen throughout the year.
  2. Ask questions. When you do provide continual feedback, ask service pros what they think they could do better and what challenges they face. It’s always easier to open the conversation by allowing them to identify areas for growth. In many instances, they may identify the issues you’ve noticed — and you can start off on the same page.
  3. Address the behavior, not the person. Avoid generalizations such as, “You’re so lazy with this paperwork.” Instead, focus on facts such as, “I see you missed critical information on these follow-up reports several times this week.”
  4. Dole it out in small pieces. Rolling criticism for a bunch of things into one session is dangerous management. For one, reps won’t be able to concentrate on improving any one area. For another, too much criticism will beat down morale. Try to focus on one issue at a time. If it requires weekly meetings, so be it.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.