Recognizing and rewarding employee excellence has always been important for business success. But doing so now is absolutely critical, with competition for the best talent at an all-time high. And, with National Customer Service Week taking place between October 4-8, there’s no better time to reflect on customer service agents’ role in building a successful company and what constitutes good reward and recognition.
Expressing agent gratitude boosts employee happiness and productivity levels, which in turn positively affects customer experiences, retention rates and the bottom line.
According to research by O.C. Tanner, 37% of people believe recognition is the biggest contributor to them doing good work—nearly three times more than any other motivator. Even a simple “thank you” can go a long way. A study by Workhuman found that giving and/or receiving a “thank you” during the pandemic:
- Made 66% of employees feel more connected with their colleagues
- Motivated 64% of employees to work harder
- Helped ease the stress of working remotely for 61% of employees
- Helped ease the anxiety related to COVID-19 lockdowns for 54% of employees
Best Practices to Recognize and Reward Frontline Agents
Monetary perks can motivate employees to bring their A-game to the job, but customer service appreciation is just as effective in terms of rewarding people who achieve their goals, show exemplary behavior, exceed expectations or hit new milestones. Moreover, it’s crucial to recognize your contact center agents in the right way.
Best practices for recognizing your frontline agents’ success include:
1. The Personal Touch Can Go a Long Way
The biggest motivator for many people is their boss going out of their way to praise them and express gratitude for their hard work. For that reason, writing a personal message to show your appreciation can help employees feel more motivated and committed to your organization.
2. Recognize People Publicly
Public praise can be an excellent motivator. Many people thrive on being recognized and having their accomplishments acknowledged, especially in front of their peers. Ideas for public recognition can include:
- Stopping in the middle of a meeting to recognize employees who have gone above and beyond or passed personal milestones like one, two or five years of service to the organization.
- Calling out team wins to keep morale levels high. Tactics like acknowledging a “star player” or “team of the week” in a weekly newsletter can motivate people and create welcome competition between employees.
However, you also need to realize that public praise isn’t for everyone. It may serve to embarrass some individuals, which makes it vital to get to know your customer service agents and their personalities.
3. Provide Regular Opportunities to Socialize
Working in a busy call center, having employees working different shifts or employing work-from-home (WFH) agents can limit your team’s ability to socialize with each other. Rewarding successful teams with a paid-for dinner or putting on social events, such as a complimentary breakfast on a Monday morning, lunch on a Wednesday afternoon or drinks on a Friday evening, can be a great way to build morale and strengthen relationships.
What this social activity looks like depends on your team and your understanding of what appeals to them.
4. Establish Clear Progression Opportunities
Receiving praise and socializing may work for some, but it’ll only go so far. Your employees will inevitably begin to feel underappreciated down the line, and their morale will suffer if they work hard without any career progression. It’s essential to lay out a clear path of progression that shows contact center agents how their careers can flourish if they hit their targets.
5. Show an Interest
Show your call center agents that you care about your staff. Get to know their interests and what they do personally. This will also help you provide the most appropriate appreciation for every employee.
6. Free Time Is Priceless
None of your call center agents are likely to say no to a nice cash bonus, but sometimes the little rewards can be priceless. Offering them free time away from their busy schedule can energize and motivate a customer service agent. This can come in the form of:
- Letting them leave a couple of hours early
- Adjusting their work schedules so they can fit in some personal time
- Allowing them to choose their days off
- Giving them an extra day off for hitting their targets
Everyone appreciates more time to themselves, and it’s a great way of showing agent gratitude.
7. Prove They’re Making a Difference
A significant motivator for many people is knowing their work is making a difference for the company. Sharing information about how your call center agents’ successes have impacted the business or resulted in new client wins can give them a sense of pride in their work and boost their motivation levels.
Positive customer feedback is a simple but proven way of rewarding customer service agents. You can obtain feedback through customer satisfaction surveys, direct feedback from a client, or simply data about how call center agents have handled recent inquiries. This feedback can be vital to showing employees that their work positively impacts the company and their customers.
Reward and Recognize Your Agents This Customer Service Week
Getting recognition and rewards right can help you attract and retain the best talent, increase employee engagement levels and encourage staff to maintain high-performance levels. A promotion or a bonus is definitely most welcome, but they’re not the only way to boost employee morale.
Finding the right way to recognize your call center agents’ contributions ensures your teams stay happy and motivated, which will reflect in how they interact with your customers. As a result, you’ll have more satisfied clients, better resolution times and increased sales. So get to know your frontline agents and show them that you appreciate their efforts.
For more information on the importance of recognizing customer service excellence, read our blog on the customer service heroes of 2020.