Reward and Recognition in Call Centers

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    Call centers are now a mainstream tool for providing customer service to a very large audience. As a co-host of the Customer Service blog, I’m going to share some useful ideas about how to maximize the performance of your call centers.

    So what can I tell you about it? I hope to be able to share some best practices that I’ve come across over the years, as well as some tools and tips to help you get the most out of your own programs. I’m hoping to help you design new, fun, innovative and effective recognition programs for your call centers, and to get you to share some of your great ideas as well. With all the different generations we now how in our centers, it’s more important than ever to understand what’s going to work to motivate our agents to succeed.

    When my two daughters were very young, we used to frequent a restaurant that offered kids a prize at the end of their meal. It was an actual ‘treasure chest’ full of small, inexpensive, fun items to choose from. They would ooh and aah over the chest, sometimes taking more time to select their prizes than the waitress had patience for. The best thing about this treasure chest was that they could choose what they wanted – whether it was a yo-yo, a princess tiara, baseball cards or a slinky. They both had very different tastes and always chose something unique. When I look at some companies plans, the one thing they seem to forget is that people want to be able to choose their own rewards. Not everyone is motivated in the same way and we need to keep that in mind when we are looking at the rewards, and even the way in which we recognize people. Tickets to a baseball game might be the perfect choice for one agent, but a terrible one for someone else. Balloons and streamers and certificates might make someone’s day, but it might embarrass someone else who likes to keep a low profile.

    Rule #1:

    Make sure your program can meet the needs of all the recipients.

    Tool #1:

    Here is a link to a form you can use (or modify) to find out what you should put in your ‘treasure chest’ to make sure your agents ooh and aah too. The form can help you better understand how your agents want to be recognized and what’s important to them as individuals. We used a red metal toolbox purchased from a hardware store, and the team decorated it to look like a pirates treasure chest. This just added to the fun.

    Feedback please

    What have you done to personalize programs in your centers? What tools have you used to ensure your rewards and recognition were appropriate for the people receiving them?

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    Kim Vey has over 20 years of experience as manager of front-line staff and management professionals to achieve strong results in performance, including in call-center customer service. She can be reached via email or LinkedIn.