If you are a call centre leader, and your centre has a well structured program which is administered by a designated person, your job is half done. Usually the ceremonies are all booked and planned, you just have to show up, hand out the certificates, gift cards, prizes…maybe say a few words, but basically – it’s done.
What’s not so easy is the ‘stuff’ you need to do that no one else can do for you – the one on one recognition, the personal touch, the verbal thank you. Sometimes these types of recognition are the most important to people. Let’s try this out:
Julie, a call centre agent in your company, is having a bad morning – kids got up late, no lunches were made, she had to stop and get gas on the way to work, nearly late, spilled her coffee – I’ve had one of those mornings and they can set you up pretty nicely for the day (and not in a good way). Julie starts her shift with a couple really frustrating calls and thinks to herself – can this day get any worse? You (her team leader) look at her stats report from the previous day, and she’s had great sales results. You walk over right then and there and give her the high five – “Great job on your sales yesterday Julie – that’s why you’re so valuable to us here at XYZ. You provide great service to our clients and we appreciate it”. Imagine how those 28 words, which didn’t cost anything, didn’t require streamers, balloons or certificates, no gift cards or prizes – imagine how they impact Julie. If I was Julie here – I’d probably be taking a deep breath and mentally starting my day over again with a fresh attitude.
Sounds easy right? Sad to say that this is one of the hardest things to teach new team leaders and managers – the importance of on-the-spot, unplanned, unrehearsed recognition. I was terrible at it (I’ll admit it) and I realized that everything else seemed more important in a day – answering emails, attending meetings, whatever. I decided that I needed a daily reminder and so I put it into my calendar. Every morning – a reminder would pop up at 8:45 reminding me to recognize at least 1 person that day. The bad news is that it took me awhile to make it a habit, I’d hit snooze on the reminder several times during the day when I got busy and by the time I had time, it was time to go home. The good news is that I did eventually make it a habit and I really enjoyed the time I would spend on the floor, talking to reps and giving some verbal recognition. It also helped me to get to know the reps better, and learn all their names! The pluses in my plan were more than I had hoped for.
So this week – Rule #4 – Make the unplanned – planned. Add a daily reminder to your calendar to walk the floor and make someone’s day just a little bit better by acknowledging the work they do. It’s not an easy job and sometimes a little thank you goes a long way.
Feedback or comments: How do you teach your leaders (yourself) to do the daily thank you?