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The Limitations of Frontline Focused Feedback Programs

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I’ve recently come to the end of a very long drawn out relocation request with my home broadband provider; and as I sit here musing over the various instances of near boil-over levels of frustration that I endured during these past 2 months, I wonder to myself on the common dichotomy faced in business. Specifically between the frontline teams responsible for dealing with customers, and the backroom teams responsible for the smooth operation of the moving parts within the organisation.

I wonder this because in the world of CEM, improving the customer’s experience is generally (erroneously) focused on the frontline employees only. Knowledge and empathy are the two main drivers of customer satisfaction linked to a frontline employee, but what happens when internal or external factors contribute to a situation which the frontline employee can do nothing about?

In my case there were a myriad of factors, including errors made by the sales team member I initially spoke to when lodging my request. However, the pinnacle of my frustration was reached when I complained about a cut-over date that was given to me which I thought was unreasonably too far into the future, the resulting date I received a few days later was later than the first one.

Here the unfortunate souls who I dealt with had little in their control to appease me. The company relied on a 3rd party wholesaler to provide the date of the service, and they assured me this was the best date available. No amount of knowledge or empathy from the frontline team was going to help ease my frustration. It was out of their hands, and I was a very unhappy customer.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and following the eventual reconnection to world, I received a survey invitation to provide feedback on my experience. Now was my chance to make a constructive impact. Feedback I did provide, along with a request for a review of the entire process that I went though, and of course a call back. Not a peep was heard in reply – as far as I could tell my feedback fell on deaf ears.

There’s no point in committing resources – be they human, technical or financial – into a feedback program if nothing is done with the responses.

Even if the feedback is reviewed by someone, there’s no guarantee that any anything is done about it.

A well designed feedback program will have processes and infrastructure in place to push the feedback to the appropriate parts of the business, be it the frontline for coaching/training purposes, or the backroom teams so they are made aware of the impact of their operations. Too often the backroom teams feel safely removed from the customer, however the implementation of a feedback program should remove these walls and allow for a culture of customer centricity where everything the company does is with the customer in mind.

In this case, my feedback, along with the responses from other customers faced with the same frustrating delays at the hands of the wholesaler, should be able to be collated and passed to the responsible department for managing this relationship with the vendor, and in turn work collectively to remove this pain-point for their customers.

If your organisation has a dormant feedback program that gathers more dust than responses, give the team at Resonate a shout and we can help kick some life into it to ensure your customers are not only able to provide their feedback, but also know that it’s being acted upon.

For me, it’s back to Netflix and catching up on some sorely missed episodes.

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