The main reason why non-cash rewards are underutilized and undervalued in call centers is that managing an effective rewards program is a complex task – from creation to fulfillment to accounting and compliance. To simplify the process, organizations dumb-down their rewards programs, leading to less than optimal results. (View a list of non-cash rewards here.) But there is another and better way to simplify the call center rewards process and that is to automate it, end to end. That way the program can be as sophisticated and flexible as it needs to be. However, automation of rewards incentive programs hasn’t been an option until very recently. As odd as it seems, there are still pockets in some companies that resist automation, relying instead on error-prone spreadsheets and time-consuming manual processes. Call centers, on the other hand, are enabled by automation, and the automation required for effectively implementing and managing rewards dovetails with the automation already in place for strategic CRM and performance management processes. Today, rewards program automation can bring to call centers the ability to:
- Tailor rewards programs to individuals, groups and teams. Freed from manual processes, non-cash rewards programs can be precisely tailored to any number of call center employees across any number of functions from outbound sales to customer service to full account management. Personalization is no longer an issue, and complexity is no longer a stumbling block.
- Align rewards to the success of multiple concurrent call center initiatives. Automation enables non-cash rewards programs to be easily designed and implemented for enhancing customer service (tied to call handling metrics), technical support (tied to case/issue resolution rate), teleprospecting (tied to qualified prospects), and general customer satisfaction, to cite a few examples.
- Offer the largest selection of value-oriented, tangible rewards. Automation enables you to create and maintain immense catalogs of rewards online – from millions of leading brand-merchandise items to tickets to entertainment and sporting events to travel, adventure and hotel packages and adventure options throughout the world.
- Integrate with CRM applications to streamline administration, provide visibility into attainment, drive recognition, and accelerate fulfillment. This benefit is huge. Just envision a call center agent’s action (an up-sell, cross-sell, etc.) being registered in the CRM system, and having that action automatically rewarded with the assigning of reward points. Then imagine that agent being able to view an online compensation statement to check how many points have been awarded (and/or redeemed) to date, all within the familiar CRM application. And then imagine the agent being able to check an online catalog of prizes to see what can be had in exchange for their accumulated points – again, all within the CRM application.
- Ensure compliance. Non-cash rewards incentive programs are considered compensation based on their cash value. The headaches this can cause in accounting have been a drag on the use of non-cash rewards in the past. Once the rewards management process is automated and not reliant on spreadsheets, the complete and accurate information required for withholding and reporting for income tax purposes is easily available to accounting departments, making non-cash rewards easy to track and audit as part of the overall compensation process.