Keeping employees happy and motivated can be a challenge in any workplace, and is especially the case for contact centers.
Although you might think that employee happiness is less of a priority, research shows that happy employees are more productive. This is where call center incentivizing comes into play, at the juncture of happiness and productivity.
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.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself, what are some ways to have fun in a call center?
You’ve come to the right place. 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 contact 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 the 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 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 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 mega-mart.
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 lunchtimes. 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 call center incentives budget with an inexpensive shared reward (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. This is a great way to make call center work fun.
Inspire your staff to develop measurable, important goals for the team to accomplish together. Maybe all of your agents are experiencing an efficiency lag, or customer satisfaction ratings are not as high as you would like them to be.
For maximum support 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.
Here are a few ideas for celebrating a team goal:
- An office party. (A virtual Zoom happy hour works just as well.)
- A group yoga session.
- A group outing on a workday.
5. Personalize Contact Center Incentives
Nothing says “I appreciate you” like a generic gift card or a company logo coffee mug. But employees can see through this thin facade of appreciation to the reality within. Tese types of rewards require little money and even less thought on behalf of the company.
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 receive a caricature drawing of themselves.
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 and that they are more than just a faceless drone for the company. This has positive implications for loyalty and work ethic.
If you think only a ‘big-ticket’ item will motivate your employees, 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 enter a raffle for a large, buzz-worthy reward item.
Ideas could include:
- A weekend hotel stay.
- Sizable cash prize.
- A gift certificate to a fancy restaurant near them.
- An iPad or pair AirPods
- Sizable gift card to somewhere of their choosing.
The frequency of these raffle drawings could depend on your budget and/or the schedule of your data retrieval. Either way, the names of non-winners could remain in the drawing for next time, incentivizing agents to keep working hard to increase their odds more and more for each cycle and add to the contact center fun.
7. Play Survivor
Use the self-contained environment of the contact center to recreate a game of Survivor for one of the most fun contest ideas you’ve ever tried.
Split your agents into teams. Each day, decide on a challenge, such as positive feedback, high-quality scores or fast handling times.
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 toward the ultimate prize. The losing teams must eliminate a team member. It places together those eliminated to make a new team for the next day’s challenge.
This contact center version of Survivor keeps everyone involved and working with different agents that they might not ordinarily interact with. The new team becomes the underdogs, motivating them to try harder.
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 general culture.
Announce the trivia question at the beginning of each shift. Then, after the contact 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
Contact 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 on but don’t tell your agents. At the end of the week, find out who did the best at that metric.
You can even go as far as creating a contact 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. 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, 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. When someone gets a compliment call, they get to spin the wheel for a prize.
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 valuable prizes on the wheel.
When that compliment 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 incentives and give it to them on the spot!
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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. 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 contact centers work outside of the 9 to 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 contest ideas and call center 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 getting rewarded for it. Make sure everyone participates 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. Keep everyone in the loop when you’re preparing for a new game or reward system. Let everyone know they’re all valuable in their own way.
Make sure everyone finds their own best qualities and reasons to shine. Remember that you can’t run the contact center with only a few top performers. You need everyone doing their individual best. When that happens, the call center itself will shine!
Whether you’re trying to boost morale, encourage loyalty, increase productivity, or all of the above, having quality incentives for call center 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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