Motivating Call Center Employees – Best Practices for Implementing Rewards Programs
Rewards have the potential to drive long-term strategic behaviors, increase call center productivity and combat personnel turnover. Non-cash rewards incentive programs in particular can be extremely compelling when wielded properly. They can be even cheaper than cash as a motivating tool (i.e., perceived vs. actual value). But it takes a consistent, programmatic approach to make non-cash rewards truly pay off on their full potential. And that takes the following best practices.
Motivation Ideas for Employees in a Call Center
Make Rewards Personal
You want the ability to personalize incentives by agent, skill level, staff type, job responsibility, etc. This is where non-cash rewards most clearly shine. A rewards point system on the front end, with points redeemable for a wide array of prizes (the wider the better) allow employees to self-personalize their program, honing in on the prizes that are most meaningful to them, whether it’s a riding lawn mower, designer purse, season tickets, or trip to Hawaii. Think outside traditional gift cards – they just fence you in.
Make Goals Obtainable
Many rewards programs fail because the reps who need to be motivated the most often feel that attainment is out of their reach. Hence incremental attainment, with real-time visibility into where you stand, is the way to go. Dribbling out small cash payments can actually be de-motivating, but enabling employees to build up non-cash rewards points towards a goal or set of goals has just the opposite effect, keeping them happy and driven.
Integrate Rewards with Broader Compensation Programs/Goals
Don’t let a rewards program exist in a vacuum – tie it to strategic objectives. If you are compensating variably for up-sell or cross-sell success, then use rewards to extend this strategy. It’s possible for a standalone rewards program to actually negate progress towards a strategic goal by drawing away agent efforts. So use rewards to reinforce, not dilute, your progress.
Enable Immediate Selection and Redemption of Rewards
We live in a culture of immediate gratification, so why not leverage that to your advantage? Give employees visibility into the vast array of prizes they can win, and allow them the ability to redeem points whenever they wish. Let the Internet be your prize catalog and your redemption vehicle – it’s entirely possible.
Make the Process of Winning Rewards as Important as the Rewards Themselves
You can come home with a raise in salary, but you’ll probably never hear the family say, “Great, now get out there and get another one tomorrow.” But you can come home with points towards non-cash rewards, and it’s a safe bet that someone in the family will encourage you to rack up more so they can “help” you redeem them.
This is yet another aspect of the motivating power of non-cash prizes, and another reason to make the Internet your prize catalog.
A final and essential best practice for managing a successful rewards program is to automate the process. You can’t adequately apply any of the above techniques if you rely on spreadsheets and manual processes to track your program. Hence Part Three of this series focuses solely on how to automate while leveraging your company’s existing investment in CRM and performance management.