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What Is Frontline Feedback?

What Is Frontline Feedback?

Businesses like yours can gather valuable feedback and information from a variety of sources, including internal metrics, customer satisfaction surveys, and more. The odds are you’ve been ignoring one key type of feedback all this time: frontline feedback, which has the power to help you streamline and improve your customer experiences across the board.

What exactly is frontline feedback, how does it work, and why is it so important? Read on for the answers to these questions and more.

Frontline Feedback Explained

Put simply: Frontline feedback is any feedback you recover from the “frontline” of your business, that is, your frontline workers and employees.

Imagine that you run a retail operation with a brick-and-mortar storefront and an online shop. Your employees interact with your target customer base every day. They greet people at the door, answer questions, help customers pick up products, and check out those customers when they’re ready to make purchases.

Those are your frontline employees. They, more than any other cohort in your organization, interact with your target customers all the time. Is it any wonder that they have valuable feedback to share about your operations, your target customer base, and much more?

Frontline feedback is the feedback you get directly from those frontline workers. It can include:

  • Comments or complaints from your frontline workers regarding your business operations, working conditions, or customer base’s mindset
  • Suggestions from your frontline workers regarding new operations or procedures
  • Survey answers from questionnaires handed out to your frontline employees

How Is Frontline Feedback Different From Other Feedback Types?

Frontline feedback, in short, represents feedback that is given by people who directly interact with your consumers almost daily.

There’s a time and a place for unbiased, scientific data. However, when you are trying to craft meaningful, delightful customer experiences for your target audience members, scientific data isn’t necessarily appropriate. Instead, subjective data from the people who experience your CX processes is very likely to be valuable to your brand.

Frontline feedback is different from other feedback types in a few key ways:

  • It comes from your frontline workers, who have first-hand experience regarding things like how your processes work, how your customers respond to changes or products, etc.
  • It’s oftentimes subjective and “raw.” It can take skilled analysis to understand the best conclusions to draw from frontline feedback data sets.

Even though frontline feedback is a little different from other types of feedback your brand may collect doesn’t mean it isn’t important. In fact, it could be one of the most important types of data your business has been ignoring all this time.

Why Is Frontline Feedback Important?

Frontline feedback is important because of who it comes from and what it describes. Let’s take a closer look.

Your Frontline Employees Interact With Customers All the Time

First, frontline feedback is important because your frontline workers (such as cashiers, janitors, customer support staff, salespeople, etc.) are the ones who interact with your target customer base. You might be very skilled at running your company, but you can’t deny that you handle the majority of the executive tasks. In any given workweek or work month, you may not directly interact with one of your company’s customers at all.

Your frontline employees are different. They interact with your customers 24/7, so they’re in a great position to receive customer feedback directly, as well as understand what your customers like and dislike. That information can be invaluable as you seek to continually curate and improve your CX/customer journeys throughout your organization.

Frontline Workers Experience Some Similar Pain Points as Customers

Next, your frontline workers may experience many of the same pain points or friction points as your customers.

For example, say that you roll out a new mobile app that allows customers to redeem loyalty points through your loyalty program for discounts, free shipping, and other perks. There’s just one problem: The mobile app’s interface is unintuitive, and it’s difficult to know how to redeem the loyalty points without an in-depth tutorial.

Your customers know this, but now, luckily, so do your frontline employees. Those frontline employees might have to help those customers redeem their loyalty points at the checkout counter, slowing down the checkout process for everyone else in the store.

When you receive the same feedback from both your customers and your frontline employees, it’s a surefire sign that the feedback is legitimate, and you should take steps to address it ASAP.

Frontline Employees See Reactions From Customers Who Don’t Respond to Surveys

Lastly, your frontline feedback is vital because your workers are able to glean reactions and subjective information from customers who may not respond to surveys.

No matter how popular your brand is, most of your shoppers won’t respond to direct surveys, even if they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the service. But your frontline workers can tell when someone is pleased with a purchase, when they are delighted with the customer checkout experience, or when they are dissatisfied with some element of your company.

If you ask your frontline workers about this information, they may tell you the “secret” customer responses to things that are hard to capture via digital survey forms.

How To Collect Frontline Feedback

You can collect frontline feedback from your most important workers in a few smart ways. Here are some examples.

Ask Frontline Team Members Regular Questions

Don’t hesitate to do the legwork and simply ask your frontline team members regular questions about their experiences. Ask them things like:

  • How have customers responded to our new initiative or products?
  • Is there anything you’ve noticed in our customer base over the last few weeks?
  • How have certain operations helped or hindered you so you can do the best job possible?

These are merely a few examples, but the core point is the same: Ask your frontline team members for feedback, and they will be sure to give it to you if they trust you. By asking them regular questions, you can keep your proverbial finger on the pulse of both the conversation at work and your customers’ preferences or ideas about your brand.

Asking questions is an art form — just look at how long journalists study and work to be at the top of their field! Asking the right questions is the crux of making this strategy work. It can take a good amount of time, work, and expertise to source this information correctly. To make it easy, simply outsource your info-gathering and customer support needs to professionals like AwesomeOS.

Offer Free Surveys and Incentives

Maybe you don’t have the time to discuss these things with your workers personally. That’s okay! You can still get frontline feedback by offering free surveys to your frontline employees, like cashiers, salespeople, and more.

Make sure that these surveys are quick and easy to complete. Busy work will only slow the process — and the solution — down.

It may be a wise idea to incentivize survey responses. For example, employees who offer valuable feedback via surveys that you use to achieve practical improvements in CX could be rewarded with an extra day of vacation time, a slight cash bonus, or something else.

Keep an Open-Door Policy

Above all else, make sure to keep an open door policy as a manager or business executive. Your frontline workers will tell you what you want to hear if they don’t trust you or if they believe that you won’t really listen to them.

More importantly, if you have an open-door policy, your employees will feel free to come to you with concerns or complaints they have about the way things are run. If your employees, for instance, tell you that the recent update to your cash registers has only led to tons of customer complaints. With an open-door policy, they know you’ll greet this information with gratitude, and they’ll be more likely to give you feedback in the first place.

Make your employees feel comfortable and heard. That’s the best way to bring consistent frontline feedback to your office instead of having to seek it out through extra effort.

How To Use Frontline Feedback

However, collecting frontline feedback is just the start. You need to leverage that data smartly to see major improvements in your brand, customer satisfaction, and other important metrics.

Identify Shared Points/Reports

As you look through all of the data you’ve gathered from frontline feedback, like survey responses, letters from your employees, and more, try to identify if there are any shared pain points or points of interest. For example, if all of your survey respondents among your frontline employees say that customers are frustrated with not being able to find specific products, assume that the feedback is legitimate!

Shared pain points or notes of frustration are more than likely accurate, even if your other data doesn’t support the same conclusions. Frontline feedback is valuable because it’s “on the ground” and derived from the most important data source of all: your target customers.

Draw Themes From Disparate Data

Similarly, try to draw themes or thematic conclusions from all the data you gather. If, for example, your frontline workers note that there has been a rise in customer complaints regarding a specific element of your business, take them seriously.

On the other hand, if frontline feedback is largely positive because of a recent store initiative or new product line, listen to that as well. Themes can help to paint a picture of the overall or broad customer sentiment your brand has cultivated. They’re invaluable when deciding what to do next on a large scale, such as whether to expand, go forward with a new product line, and more.

Ask Employees How They’d Solve Pain Points

Lastly, consider asking your frontline employees themselves how they might solve pain points were they in your position. Your employees, more often than you think, will have ideas about how you can improve things for your customers and their experiences. After all, they have to interact with those customers every day.

For instance, if one of your employees says that adding another cash register to the checkout line will help speed things along and result in a smoother shopping experience, consider listening to them. Your frontline employees often have great ideas, and listening to those ideas could help you pick out new promotion candidates for your managerial staff.

Connect With AwesomeOS Today

Gathering frontline feedback is crucial, but you may not know how to do it perfectly. That’s where AwesomeOS comes in.

Our trained and experienced staff members cannot only help you devise the perfect feedback collection methods for your frontline employees. They can also help you examine and analyze that feedback so that you take away the most accurate conclusions to use for future CX improvements. Send us a message today to learn more.


What Is Customer Experience? | Forbes

What is a Customer Journey Map and Why is It Important? | Tech Target

How to Meet Customers At Their Pain Points | Entrepreneur

Open Door Policy for Employee Communication | Chron