How to Effortlessly Give Constructive Feedback to your Support Agents

Customer Support July 31, 2018
feedback cover

author:

How to Effortlessly Give Constructive Feedback to your Support Agents

That’s the dream, right?

Feedback is crucial to keep your team on track.

But there is one tiny problem: you always overthink it. You find yourself unable to clearly communicate your message. Now the team is drowning.

You are freaking out trying to get whatever left from you together.

What you have just seen is the result of not providing constructive feedback to your support agents regularly.

In this post, I will show you how to give constructive feedback to your agents without losing your sanity.

Before you give feedback

Throughout history, the human brain evolved to be self-protective. This self protective system generates defensive behaviors. The sole purpose is to protect humans from the variety of threats in their environment.

Nowadays, we constantly defend ourselves regardless of the existence of a threat. This is due to the fact that our protective system is on survival mode by default.

According to Sara Eckel, most people are not good at evaluating risks. Simply, they are too scared to face the unknown outcome. They prefer to stick to the familiar route. Their mental barrier is too high to be surpassed.

Well, hard but not impossible.

So it’s only natural for your employees to get defensive when it comes to feedback.

This is why you should be careful on when and how you should give feedback.

Choose the right time

In their book Remote: Office not required, Jason fried and David Heinmeier Hansson, cofounders of Basecamp, talk about the chaos in the office. In fact, too many interruptions can decrease productivity.

Unless you are a fully remote company, chances are your customer support team operates on-site. Of course, like any other business, there’s always peak time when it comes to support.

As a customer success manager, you need to pick the right slot to call for a feedback session. Keep the session away from busy hours and standup meetings.

Sit down for a team feedback

Customer support is a team sport. Your agents usually operate based on common guidelines. And even if they handle personalized tickets, everyone on the team should be aware of that, including the CEO.

When you sit for a team feedback session, language is important.

You have to focus on polishing the common guidelines. To save your time, consider investing in powerful tools like Veamly.

Start with praise

Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise. Mary Kay Ash.

According to a survey by leadership development consultancy, covering 8000 managers, around 40% of leaders shared they never give positive feedback before.

Those who gave negative feedback feedback assumed it was part of being honest.

this research showed that giving positive praise to employees improves their productivity and will to grow.

In the same perspective, a 2015 survey revealed that managers who give positive reinforcement can get up their employees up to speed.

But that doesn’t mean you should praise people when you’re about to critique their work only. After all, If your praise is always followed by critique, then it nullifies both the praise and the criticism.

In the end, you need to understand that praise is important in good times and in bad ones.

Be specific

When I started writing online, I would finish a draft then send it to my friends. All I got from them was good job or nice.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s an ego boost to hear such nice words. But what bugs me here is I didn’t get any piece of information on what I did good or bad for that matter. So that I can duplicate the success in future blogs.

As a customer lead, praising your teammates work is good. Indeed someone nailed the latest task. However, giving actual feedback is a must here.

Lara Hogan, engineering leadership coach and consultant, insists on the importance of giving specific actionable feedback.

In other words, your feedback should push to action.

For example, if your agent has been rocking tickets, tell them they’re doing an awesome job first. Then give them tips on how to prioritize them. General rule is, no matter how your work looks polished, there is always room for improvement.

Tackle it with the right mindset

I have made a lot of mistakes so far in my life. I even made a lot of mistakes before getting to this blogs’ current version. The feedback I got from fellow team members set me in the right direction.

People naturally become defensive.

If you are a manager, you need to be aware that giving feedback is a lot like coaching.

I understand it’s easier said than done, but if you think about offering critique as a coach, you’ll be able to approach it from a place of equality rather than micromanagement.

At Veamly, constructive feedback is what drives the team forward in order to build the best product possible for our customers.

You can sign up for the demo and see for yourself.