As you may already know, this is Customer Service Week. I am recommending action items to meet each of the five highlighted objectives. Let’s look at Number 2: Reward Frontline Associates.
By its design, one of the original purposes in creating Customer Service Week was to recognize and reward those associates who deliver customer service every day of every week. What is a reward? To cite, decorate, remember, compensate, pay, reimburse, acclaim, applaud, commend, compliment, hail, praise are all synonyms. The following are my suggestions for rewarding our valuable frontline associates.
Think of Customer Service Week as Customer Service Year
Special or periodic programs to reward associates definitely serve a purpose; however, it’s a good idea for any organization to create award programs that are significant and recognize superior performance on a consistent basis. Companies may want to consider team awards during customer service week, but individual honors throughout the year. In general, people working in customer service often feel under or unappreciated. Focusing on customer service departments and recognizing the staff demonstrates the company doesn’t take their jobs for granted.
The Customer Is Frequently the Best Judge of Service Performance
Before social media, it was sometimes difficult to judge superior performance based on antidotal stories from just a few customers. However, with so many people becoming accustomed to posting both positive and negative comments, social media reviews are a new vehicle to highlight superior performance from the customers’ perspective. Additionally, having a robust survey feedback process in place that can effectively assess performance for a specific agent is another method that certainly can work well in a call center environment.
Make the Rewards Significant
Rewarding agents with pizza, bagels or donuts is a nice gesture, but may not sufficiently reward or recognize specific associates for outstanding service. For the most part, representatives who provide excellent service do not do it for dollars. However, if your company has individuals who are consistently requested by name, compensating those agents with an additional percentage increase at review time may be entirely appropriate. Other incentives might be mini-weekend vacations, days off, dinners at nice restaurants or tickets to shows.
Create an Appropriate Budget
Give your managers a rewards’ budget at the beginning of the year. Make the amount sufficient so that many can be rewarded. A budget of even a few thousand dollars might go a long way to create varied award programs that will demonstrate associate appreciation.
A Simple Thank You
Remind people in management to thank associates on a regular basis. Being in customer service is a great job, but sometimes it’s difficult or frustrating. Having not only your direct supervisor, but also managers, in other departments say thank you can go a long way to making associates feel important and appreciated.
In many businesses today budgets are still tight. A large percentage of companies have travel restrictions, staff cutbacks, etc. Remember, customers are your greatest asset. Making sure those associates who support customers both directly and indirectly are continually recognized and rewarded is critical to success.