Agent feedback: putting the pieces together

Agent feedback: putting the pieces together

October 11, 2017
Agent feedback: putting the pieces together

When your customer service team is staffed with empowered, satisfied agents, your company stands to gain across the board. Knowing this intellectually is one thing, proactively prioritizing the satisfaction of your agents is another. But when it comes to agent satisfaction, there are compelling reasons to move beyond a surface understanding of its importance towards concrete steps to achieve it.

To ensure you’re working with a customer service team that’s poised to deliver great results for your business, you need to understand, at a granular level, how happy they are in their jobs. This means knowing how their experience with your company compares to other jobs they’ve had, how committed they feel to their chosen career generally, and how, specifically, things could be improved for them. And the only way you’re going to learn these things is by asking.

A company that wants to do a deep dive into agent satisfaction, motivation and challenges must be willing to ask the hard questions in a real and formal way. Enter the Employee Satisfaction survey. But, here’s something to know right off the bat: It’s not enough to regularly survey your customer service team if you’re not prepared to act on what you learn. Not only is that a waste of time and resources, it quickly erodes trust and damages corporate culture.

To be effective, surveys must be thoughtfully conceived and executed. Zendesk’s Employee Satisfaction Survey Guide offers valuable tips and procedures for conducting meaningful surveys. From advice on when to offer surveys and how to structure questions, to how to engender trust in the process and share out the results, Zendesk’s guide is a how-to for any company that wants to get serious about soliciting employee feedback.

Why collect agent feedback?

Granting your employees–from new hires to seasoned agents–the opportunity to share their opinions helps to bridge the gap between management and customer service team members. We all want to feel valued and heard. Formally addressing that reality with periodic surveys sends a good message.

Of course, employee satisfaction surveys are much more than a feel-good exercise. The information gleaned can be used in many ways. For starters, surveys can generate a plethora of new ideas. They can act as a kind of quality control for customer service teams in times of high agent turnover or growth. And, in the best of cases, employee satisfaction surveys can raise a red flag before an internal problem gets out of hand.

Chances are, if you’ve thought about administering a survey, you understand that there are a few basics you must get right. If you want your survey to yield real insight into the concerns and needs of your team, you need to structure your questions and responses correctly. Surveys that are poorly designed end up delivering data that’s impossible to synthesize or act on.

Other things to consider: when and how often you should administer employee satisfaction surveys; how to ensure responses remain anonymous (and employees trust this); and how to pose questions in such a way as to elicit the most honest and useful feedback.

Zendesk’s guide covers all the sticking points, offering examples of best practices. It recommends choosing specific milestones throughout the year, or within the context of an agent’s career development, to administer surveys. The report notes the importance of taking time between surveys to focus on what’s been revealed and to implement improvements or changes as needed.

How you deliver the results of an employee satisfaction survey–to your team, to leadership, and to key stakeholders–is as important as how you conduct it. To maintain credibility, it’s critical that you honestly share the results and then devise a clear plan for following up on the issues that demand it. When sharing survey responses and information, look for patterns in the data that could benefit other departments.

Finally, when it comes to employee surveys, don’t forget that negative feedback is often more valuable than positive feedback. By gaining insight into real problems, you can make meaningful, measurable improvements—benefitting individual agents, your customer support team, your customers, and ultimately, your business.

Read the Employee Satisfaction Survey Guide

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