Keeping employees happy and motivated can be a challenge in any workplace, and is especially the case for call centers. Although you may be thinking that employee happiness seems a little too ‘touchy-feely’ to be a major concern, research shows that happy employees are more productive. This is where employee incentives come into play, at the juncture of happiness and productivity.
And while many employees may prefer that you, in the words of Jerry Maguire, ‘show them the money,’ cash bonuses are not the only way to show your employees that you value their hard work.
Here are 12 call center rewards and recognition ideas to congratulate your agents for a job well done.
1. Preferential scheduling
The only thing that people value as much (maybe more) than money is time. For many call center employees, the opportunity to select or at least influence the time slot of their work shift is an enticing motivator.
Consider dividing staff into three tiers based on KPI results and letting them get first, second and third pick. Then, each quarter, allow employees to re-bid for their shift assignment, with preferences awarded according to their results from the previous quarter.
This system has the benefit of giving employees more (though not ultimate) control over their time in exchange for quality work, while also offering those at the lower tier an incentive to keep reaching for the top during the next quarter.
This same incentive can be applied by having employees bid for PTO (paid time off) dates. When multiple employees are competing for the same days off, the tiered system can be used to reward those who have been working hard with a greater chance of getting the time off when they want.
2. Perks of convenience
Have you ever been trudging your way through a mundane and tiresome day, but then suddenly happen upon an unexpected convenience that brightens up your perspective? The car in front of you kindly (and blindly) pays for your coffee in the Starbucks drive-thru, or you’re lucky enough to snag the best parking spot at your local
Small perks of convenience like this can add a glint of optimism to an otherwise unremarkable day.
Consider offering your agents perks that make their workday more convenient or enjoyable. Offer preferential parking spaces, sought-after seating locations (near a window or in a reserved office, for example), or allow the employee to choose his/her own break or lunch times. These small perks add up to a brighter day for employees who have earned it.
3. Team Competition
Organize your employees into teams who are working toward an incentive based on their cumulative stats. This allows you to make the most of your incentives budget with a reward that can be inexpensively shared (a pizza party, for example). This also has the beneficial components of cooperation, team camaraderie, and, yes, a little bit of friendly social pressure to work hard.
Inspire your staff to develop measurable, important goals for the office as a whole to accomplish together. Maybe all of your agents are experiencing an efficiency lag, or customer satisfaction ratings are not as high as you’d all like them to be.
For maximum buy-in from employees, collect and curate their suggestions for whole-team improvement goals. Then, develop a reward that everyone can enjoy together as a result of reaching this target: an office party, casual Friday, a group outing on a workday, or something else that rewards the achievement while also building your team connection.
5. Personalize, personalize, personalize
Nothing says ‘I appreciate you’ like a generic Subway gift card or a company logo coffee mug. Employees can see through this thin facade of appreciation to the reality within: these types of rewards require little money and even less thought on behalf of the employer.
If you decide to use giftable commodities as a motivational element, why not mix it up a little to make employees feel recognized as individuals? For example, employees celebrating their one year anniversary at Two Rivers marketing are given a caricature drawing of themselves. Get on etsy.com and order a customized name acronym item for the employee.
Personalized items such as this have the added benefit of making the employee feel that he (or she) has a place in your work environment, that he is more than just a faceless drone for the company. This has positive implications for loyalty and work ethic.
If you think your employees will only be motivated by a ‘big-ticket’ item, consider developing a raffle system for employee performance. Employees who reach a certain benchmark of success (a certain number of ‘highly satisfied’ customers or a specific amount of accumulated points) will be entered into a raffle for a large, buzzworthy reward item.
Ideas could include a weekend hotel stay, concert tickets, or a sizable cash prize. The frequency of these raffle drawings could depend on your budget and/or the schedule of your data retrieval. Either way, non-winning employees’ names could remain in the drawing for next time, incentivizing employees to keep working hard to increase their odds more and more for each cycle.
7. Play Survivor
Use the self-contained environment of the call center to recreate a game of Survivor for one of the most fun call center contest ideas you’ve ever tried!
Split your agents up into teams. Each day, decide on a challenge, such as positive feedback,
Then, write a message telling what the day’s challenge is. The teams meet at the beginning of each shift to plan their strategy for the upcoming challenge.
At the end of the shift, the team that comes in first gets a reward or point towards the final prize. The losing teams must eliminate a team member. Those eliminated are placed together to make a new team for the next day’s challenge.
This call center version of Survivor keeps everyone involved and working with different agents that
At the end of the contest, the agent with the most points gets call center incentives from the available prizes.
8. Trivia contest
Inspire your team to work together with call center contest ideas involving trivia. The trivia can be about small, little-known facts about their work. Or, it can be purely trivial, coming from
The trivia question is announced at the beginning of each shift. Then, after the call center stats are tallied for the day, the agent with the top metrics gets to guess. If they don’t guess right, the person with the second-best metrics gets a chance.
The first person to guess correctly gets their choice of several call center incentives. If no one guesses, the first person to bring in the answer the next day gets the prize.
9. Call center stars
Call center contest ideas usually revolve around the concept of a game. Games are great, of course. They keep everything fun, and they reduce stress, too. One way to incentivize your agents is to put the focus on the reward instead of the game.
Every week, choose a different key performance indicator to focus
You can even go as far as create Call Center Walk of Fame. This could simply be a wall display with a star for each week’s winner.
Prizes are fun and offer a great reward, but the feeling of being recognized for your work by your manager and peers is also very rewarding!
10. Wheel of Appreciation
Compliment calls are usually few and far between. Most customers don’t have a lot of time to call and compliment someone who has given them good service. So, when one of those calls comes in, it’s a rare occurrence that should be rewarded with something significant.
Set up a Wheel of Appreciation. Divide the wheel into wedges, and write the name of a great prize on each wedge. When someone gets a compliment call,
The Wheel of Appreciation is always there in the call center, reminding your agents of the customer satisfaction they’re aiming for in their work. It might sit there for weeks before someone gets a chance to spin it. That’s okay. You can keep the happy anticipation going by giving it a spin when you walk by or adding
When that compliment call comes in, make a big production of it. Call the winning agent to the wheel and point them to the spinner. Then, bring out the prize they spin up from your store of call center incentives and give it to them on the spot!
11. Friday Barbecue
Too often, people think of work as a place you go to do what you have to do to survive. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to think of work as a place you enjoy being in, too. Having days where you have fun after work provides great call center incentives. Try a themed food day, such as taco Tuesdays or barbecue Fridays.
Because many call centers work outside of the 9-5 window, you might need to be creative about when to have your fun day activities. If you need to, you can set it up to bridge the time before one shift goes home and after the next shift arrives.
Have food ready when people show up. Add games or call center contest ideas and incentives to the mix for a great day that everyone will look forward to all week!
12. Get everyone on board
It’s always beneficial to recognize your top performers. Yet, there may be agents who do a good job without ever getting rewarded for it. Make sure everyone has a chance to participate in the games with some hope of winning. Give call center incentives to people who may not be your star players.
Touch base with all your agents throughout whatever contest or incentive program is going on at any given time. Keep everyone in the loop when you’re preparing for a new game or reward system. Let everyone know they’re all valuable in
Make sure everyone finds their own best qualities and reasons to shine. Remember that you can’t run the call center with only a few top performers. You need everyone doing own individual best. When that happens, the call center itself will shine beyond measure!
Whether you’re trying to boost morale, encourage loyalty, increase productivity, or all of the above, having a quality rewards program for your employees is key to developing an ideal workplace.
Don’t forget that spontaneously and genuinely acknowledging your employees’ strengths is the foundation of any call center rewards and recognition idea. But getting creative with a rewards system that speaks to your employees could be the spark that ignites them to strive for more.
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