What method of performance appraisal would be appropriate for customer service representatives?
As the essay on employee evaluations and performance appraisals, the link to which is below, points out, the construction of performance appraisals can be surprisingly complicated, and there is no “one size fits all” approach that one can take. Customer service representatives, however, do provide a slightly easier category given their daily contact with customers. Because personality, or, at least, a good acting ability, is a sine qua non of customer relations, and because members of the public are free to register complaints with corporate management, at least part of a performance appraisal for a customer service representative can begin with the number and type of such complaints filed against him or her.
Customer service representatives are hired in no small part due their innate ability to present a positive, helpful veneer, as well as for their ability to solve problems in a timely manner. Consequently, a pattern of complaints regarding a particular customer service representative’s demeanor or competence provides a built-in system for evaluating his or her performance.
When constructing an employee evaluation or performance appraisal methodology specific to customer service representatives, therefore, the emphasis will naturally be on the individual’s record at working with customers to resolve problems. Such an appraisal would likely include discussions of the employee’s professionalism in representing the company while maintaining a cordial demeanor with the customers. The appraisal would include a discussion of the employee’s ability to work with “difficult” customers, and to quickly navigate the internal corporate system to resolve problems as expeditiously as possible. Customer service representatives must enjoy the nature of their work, and must be willing to convey a sense of willingness to consult management should the customer’s problem prove excessively difficult to resolve or the customer’s personality prove particularly problematic. Personality conflicts between customer service representatives and customers are inevitable, if rare, and an employee who understands the need to shift the case to a “manager” without becoming noticeably angry or upset is a highly sought capability, and the employee’s track record in that regard would be part of a performance appraisal.