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Using Feedback To Engage and Empower Frontline Employees

talkingWith so many frontline employees working from home right now, employee engagement is a hot topic. Yet many companies are overlooking a key resource that can be used not just to engage staff, but to empower them, as well. That resource?

Customer feedback.

Leadership expert Ken Blanchard said that “feedback is the breakfast of champions,” and it’s true. Be it a contact center agent or an athlete, every individual that ever improved received feedback about their performance along the way. A good manager will be constantly providing feedback to their teams. When done in the correct manner, it’s not seen as criticism; it’s seen as support.

Yet when it comes to allowing frontline staff to hear customer feedback, particularly when it’s directed at an individual, many organizations won’t allow it.

Their concern is that the employee will be negatively impacted by the feedback; that they will hear something from a customer they will perceive as criticism or a personal attack, and as a result their performance will suffer.

However, the vast majority of feedback left by customers about employees is positive, and this provides critical context to the small amount of actual criticism. Customers are also more knowledgeable than they’ve ever been and are very good at differentiating product, price and service. They know when an issue is product-related and an employee is doing everything they can to help them and they appreciate it. Customer feedback helps employees feel valued and appreciated by the very people they interact with every day.

But the benefits of sharing customer feedback with employees don’t stop there. When employees are able to engage with the feedback, it can be used to empower them.

There are feedback management tools currently available (like CentraCX) that allow frontline employees to comment on and engage with customer feedback to not only provide context to that feedback but add a further level of depth and richness to what is being said by customers. Importantly, it amplifies the frontline employees’ voice within the organization and makes them feel heard which is incredibly empowering.

The knowledge and experience of frontline workers is a goldmine that is left untapped in many organizations. Bi-annual internal surveys don’t cut it. They could never hope to capture what is happening daily on the frontline and the lag between the event and when it is reported is enormous.

So let the customer’s voice ring out within the walls of your organization, and use it systematically to not only engage your employees but to empower them, as well.