In this era of agent engagement, “Having truly engaged contact center employees presents an opportunity for differentiation,” according to Gartner Group. The analyst organization further defines “Workforce Engagement Management” as “the science of creating the workplace conditions so that employees can give their best each day; committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, and enjoy an enhanced sense of well-being.”
To keep agents engaged and inspired to deliver the very best service to your customers requires recognition and motivation, two paramount aspects of the agent optimization equation – which consists of Quality Assurance, Performance Management, Coaching, Training, Recognition and Motivation.
Just like all of us, customer service agents like to be recognized among their peers for stellar performance. It inspires continued excellence, fosters a sense of pride in one’s job and keeps staff engaged in the job at hand.
According to McKinsey, “The real impact (of agent performance) comes from supervisors who take the time to provide meaningful coaching and give recognition.” Their 2018 report, Boosting Contact-Center Performance through Employee Engagement states “…agents may interpret performance scrutiny more positively if feedback is paired with constructive conversations about professional development and performance recognition.” The report continues, “…agents who do not receive recognition for their work exhibit higher stress levels and are more likely to leave their jobs.”
With agent onboarding, training and payroll already representing the highest costs to a customer service organization, high turnover can cripple a contact center. Managers, supervisors and team leaders must do everything possible to mitigate agent churn.
There are many ways to effectively recognize agents:
1. Hand-written Notes
Put a Post-it-Note on an agent’s workstation or desk, recognizing their good performance. Notes written by hand tend to mean more than emails or printed-out text. Another option is to publicly recognize agents (among their peers) using an online social community wall.
2. Preferred Parking Spot
Showcase the best agent’s name on a sign in front of a preferred space in the parking lot. They will beam with pride.
Award digital badges that show and agent’s achievements to their peers and managers – badges can be customized to include, for example, “Awesomeness”, “Best of the Best”, “You’re a Closer”, etc.
While recognizing agents for high performance levels is imperative, it only goes so far in terms of inspiring continued success. Agents must also be incentivized in order to remain motivated.
Here are some tips for motivating your customer service and sales agents:
Hold a contest and award peak performers with preferred scheduling during their shifts the following week.
Award recognition points along with digital badges and allow agents to exchange their points for exciting gifts in the company’s online store. Some organizations offer educational gifts to further learning (such as books on customer service excellence), while others provide fun things like gift cards or electronics.
6. Work in an Office
Reward top agents by allowing them to work in a closed office for a day or a whole week. Another option is enabling agents to work from home or even take the afternoon off, with pay. They will feel privileged, and their peers will be envious, making them feel a real sense of accomplishment.
7. Supervisor for a Day
Make the week’s top performer a supervisor for a day the following week. Their sense of pride will remain with them for weeks to come.
8. Become a Trainer
Reward the best agents with the opportunity to create their own training module for underperforming and newer agents. Having their name associated with a training program will go a long way toward keeping the agent motivated and inspired to live up their own name. Also award the agent a “Trainer” badge to hold him/her in high esteem moving forward.
The multitude of ways to recognize and reward your agents is only limited by your imagination and the software you employ. Some of the tips mentioned in this article can be instituted on the cheap and without any specialized software, while others may require the support of agent optimization software.
Click here to learn about Playvox’s comprehensive Agent Optimization Suite.
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