"In the best, the friendliest and simplest relations flattery or praise is necessary, just as grease is necessary to keep wheels turning."
- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
People like to be praised. I do! I feel great when someone tells me something I've done well and it encourages me to do even better next time. It also helps me keep my eye on the big picture, instead of getting caught up in those things that maybe I'm not so great at. But is all praise good? Can too much go to your head? How do you give GREAT feedback?
As leaders, we find ourselves faced with all kinds of situations where we need to share feedback,, both good and bad. Some situations will require extensive coaching and training to aid development and teach new skills; others can require pretty direct and candid feedback about something that wasn't done well. But sometimes we just want to give kudos for a job well done.
Sounds pretty simple, right? I watch an employee diffuse a difficult customer situation and I want to let them know that they've done a great job. So I tell him, "Great job!" Is that adequate? Well, it probably feels pretty good to the employee in the moment because they know that the boss has seen them do something great. But what exactly does "good job" reinforce? Does the employee know why I thought they were great and what behaviours specifically, they should continue to demonstrate? Probably not.
We believe that there are five components to great feedback:
- Be timely: give feedback as soon as you see an employee do something great
- Be specific: describe what was done and why it made such a positive difference
- Provide positive AND constructive feedback: both help employees grow and develop!
- Agree on an outcome: ensure the employee commits to doing something again, better or differently
- Do it again and soon! Feedback is not a onetime event - it should happen all the time!
So now let's revisit the example we talked about regarding handling a difficult customer. Your feedback might sound something like this:
"John, I just overheard your conversation with (customer) and I wanted to share some feedback. I thought the way that you paraphrased his concerns and then immediately expressed empathy was great. It showed you really understood why he was upset and enabled you to identify a different solution that he was happier with. I wanted you to know that I think you did an excellent job managing that discussion and that is exactly how we make great experiences for our customers! Awesome job!"
Compare this to "Great job..."
As an employee, what would you rather hear? We believe that sharing specific feedback on a frequent basis can have a lasting impact on employee behaviour, which will have a positive impact on the customer experience, which of course, means enhanced company performance.
To learn more about how to provide effective feedback and coaching for your employees, give us a shout at 647-202-8385 or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And learn more about us at www.simplifyingservice.com.
We are Customer Service Simplified!