Your company policy requires annual performance reviews of every person you employ.
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Unfortunately, it doesn't tell you how to do them. Other workers can be reviewed on the basis of sales volume or production data, but how do you review your customer service personnel?
Although it is slightly more challenging to give substantive performance reviews of customer service employees, it can be done. As much as possible, the key is to establish objective measurements of the employees' abilities to achieve their goals and meet your expectations as an employer. The ideal scenario is to incorporate performance criteria into a single form that can be tailored to specifically evaluate customer service workers. Even though the performance criteria for customer service personnel is different than the criteria for workers in other departments, all customer service employees must be judged according to the same criteria to limit the company's legal liability.
Knowledge and Skills
An employee's ability to do their job is limited by their knowledge of your company's customer service processes and functions. A solid performance review measures the worker's understanding of the company's specific customer service procedures. But it also measures the worker's broader customer service skills in the areas of phone etiquette, interpersonal communication, and customer relationships. Another important factor is the employee's mastery of the software and call center technology required to successfully fulfill their responsibilities.
Quality and Achievement
Additionally, customer service staff should be evaluated on the quality of their work. Does the individual promptly respond to customer needs? Do they complete follow-up tasks in a timely manner? It's difficult to answer these questions on your own, especially if you aren't the employee's immediate supervisor. Don't hesitate to solicit input from others in the organization before you meet with the employee face-to-face.
Attitude counts – particularly when the employee works in a customer service capacity. All customer service personnel should be expected to maintain a friendly, yet professional demeanor with both customers and co-workers. You may find it helpful to implement call monitoring technology to randomly assess the employee's attitude throughout the year.
Excessive absenteeism is a drag on productivity and employee morale. Similarly, extended break periods and tardiness can be a sign that an employee is not as committed as they should be. Publish attendance requirements in the employee handbook and incorporate attendance into the discussion during the performance review. Although specific attendance problems should be addressed as they occur, the annual review gives you the opportunity to identify root problems and discuss alternatives with the employee.
Finally, a performance review should evaluate the employee's adherence to company policies and procedures. Any problems with authority should be highlighted and consequences of further non-compliance should be clearly communicated during the course of the review process.