Article: The Counsellor - Of targets and appraisals

Performance Management

The Counsellor - Of targets and appraisals

Taking customer feedback for the appraisal process should not end up becoming like a form-filling exercise
The Counsellor - Of targets and appraisals

Customer inputs for the appraisal process have to become part of the regular interaction processes such as periodic client engagement forums, account review process, etc.


CASE 1: Three to four big ticket IT and blue chip companies have decided to let their clients decide if the employees should get hikes or not. In an unusual move, the companies are using customer feedback to rate their employees. Senior IT industry executives say linking customer feedback with key result areas drives positive behavior among executives to ensure enhanced customer satisfaction. Employees appraised using customer feedback are almost always sales and other client-facing executives who are responsible for raising client satisfaction levels. Is this a good move by the companies? What are the pros and cons of this move?

Getting a 360-degrees feedback for developmental reasons is not new. This ensures that the employee gets a full view of the self while embarking on the developmental journey. However, the 360 degrees feedback is not extensively used for performance appraisals and rewards that follow. Customer feedback in the form of overall customer satisfaction ratings is not an uncommon KRA for the customer-facing employees.

It indeed is an excellent move to see that some corporations are trying to include the direct customer feedback in the appraisal process. Getting the results, meeting and exceeding the targets is certainly very important. However, the means and the process deployed to achieve the goals and the qualitative and non-quantifiable aspects of the results are equally important for the long-term sustenance of the individual performance and in turn the corporation. Direct customer feedback will certainly be valuable in assessing the various traits of an individual such as consistently meeting and exceeding the commitments, appropriateness of the solutions recommended, problem-solving skills and other behavioral issues that a customer expects from the front-end professionals.

This process will, however, not work if getting customer’s voice in the appraisal process becomes another annual ritual of form filling. The customers are not likely to do a great job of filling some forms given by the service providers once a year. Customer inputs have to become part of the regular interaction processes such as periodic client engagement forums, account review process, etc. This should be supported by immediate corrective actions and coaching. It will become very important for the managers of the front-ending employees to develop deep engagement with the customers if this process has to succeed. In absence of the deep engagement by the senior leaders of the service providers, the front-end professionals are likely to make compromises just to please the customers and get favorable ratings from them.

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Topics: Performance Management, Strategic HR, #HRMetrics

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