Call center supervisors are inherently very capable systems thinkers. They approach any problems or challenges in their call centers with a systems approach towards resolution. They can very quickly point out the three basic components of their complex call center systems: Inputs, Processes, and Outputs (also known as IPO). However, they often forget a fourth and very critical system component: feedback mechanisms or loops to improve agent coaching.
What is a feedback loop?
An effective feedback loop (or closed feedback loop) works toward positive change by collecting data on an agent’s performance and relaying the data back to the agent in a way that leads to the agent changing their practices based on the new information. Open feedback loops, on the other hand, lack one of these components and therefore miss the opportunity to bring the data full circle.
Call centers operating without closing the feedback loop lose the potential value that can be gained from analyzing past performance. When agents are not informed of the results of their actions, they are not able to improve their performance. To help ensure high performance in your call center, be sure your feedback loops are closed loop systems.
Please wait while we validate your privacy settings.
What makes an effective feedback loop?
The most effective feedback loops collect and deliver data as fast as possible, in real-time, so employees can adjust their behavior on the spot. Feedback loops with these characteristics raise customer satisfaction as fast as possible:
1. Short term
While metrics from calls a year ago are useful for tracking broad trends among your customers, they don’t help an agent trying to improve customer satisfaction in the moment. Feedback loops gathering information through the fastest means possible (e.g., SMS CSAT surveys) close the gap between customer experiences and when agents positively improve their methods.
2. Real time
Metrics drive the greatest change when they are immediately available to agents. Agents who can see changes in metrics as they occur can track their own progress, changing their approach to keep up with consumer demands. Data should be easy to interpret and immediately actionable.
The best feedback loops channel the right information to the right place. For example, call center supervisors are more concerned about queue wait times, whereas individual CSAT responses might be more pertinent for agents. Agents should only see metrics related to issues they care about and can control.
How can call center supervisors provide feedback loop data to agents?
Agents with easy access to their performance metrics can improve their methods based on objective and recent data. The easiest way for supervisors to inform agents of their performance is to provide access to real-time reporting. This can be done via a personal dashboard that displays the metrics most valuable to agents (service levels, average handle times, customer satisfaction, etc.).
Alternatively, supervisors can also share real-time team performance on a large screen visible to every agent. This method is effective in that gamifies the support process by using customer feedback to keep agents engaged and keeping call center performance transparent.
An effective feedback loop is essential for guiding call center performance forward. The best feedback loops gather, target, and relay data in real-time. Agents can then quickly act on this feedback to continuously improve. In turn, customers benefit from faster, more attentive service. All this is thanks to a seamless feedback loop.