Who doesn’t love free food? By giving each of your employees a sandwich each day, you’ll ensure their bellies will be full…and your pockets will be empty. That’s why we’re not recommending you handing out sandwiches at all! Pardon our attempt at humour, but we’re actually talking about sandwiches of a completely different variety.
In many of our past blogs, we’ve discussed the importance of employee feedback, especially within the call centre realm. Providing feedback isn’t always easy – for managers, supervisors or phone agents. No one wants to hurt feelings and no one wants their feelings to be hurt. Nevertheless, feedback is necessary in order to elicit greater performances out of employees who may need some assistance in doing their jobs more effectively.
The sandwich technique is a feedback practice that has you “sandwich” your constructive criticism in between two comments of praise. It helps to deliver necessary advice in a more appealing and digestible way. This is incredibly important for sensitive types. After all, we’re all human and we all have feelings. While it’s wise to keep employees happy, no call centre manager can afford to not help his/her employees improve.
“The sandwich feedback technique is a popular three-step procedure to help managers who are ill at ease with providing corrective feedback,” explains Nagesh Belludi on RightAttitudes.com, “The sandwich feedback method consists of praise followed by corrective feedback followed by more praise. In other words, the sandwich feedback method involves discussing corrective feedback that is ‘sandwiched’ between two layers of praise.”
Firstly, you do what you came to do: deliver helpful feedback. Essentially, your first priority is to get your workers to perform at their best. If there are areas where improvement is necessary, it’s your job to pinpoint them. Secondly, it removes negative tension from the feedback session. The objective is for the employee to feel motivated as opposed to discouraged and embarrassed.
“The purported benefits of this technique are twofold,” clarifies Belludi, “(1) it softens the impact of the criticism or corrective feedback, and, (2) given that a manager is probably more comfortable with praising the employee, the manager finds it easier to discuss problems with the employee’s behaviour if this discussion begins and ends with praising the employee.”
Let’s suppose one of your phone agents sounds frustrated while conversing with particularly irate customers on the phone. While an agitated emotion is a natural human response, you know your company’s reputation for providing excellent customer service can’t be damaged by angry tones. The following sandwich technique-style feedback may help.
“Bobby, I’ve noticed that you’ve been showing excellent improvement in the area of sales and I just wanted to congratulate you on that. What I think will help you even further is to soften your tone when speaking with your clients. I noticed on a recent call that you sounded a bit angry. While I can understand your frustration, I’d like you to work towards maintaining a pleasant and friendly voice on the phone. Keep up the excellent work, we’re proud to have you here.”
Not every business professional will agree with the sandwich technique. But, at MeloTel, we find it effective. Please contact us to discuss! Call us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website and don’t forget to ask us about our excellent feedback tool, the Monitor/Whisper Control Panel.