According to Glassdoor, appreciation is the most critical element for motivating customer service teams. According to its recent study, 81% of customer service employees feel appreciation is their most important motivating factor, followed by demanding bosses (38%) and fear of losing one’s job (37%).
What this tells us is that customer service managers and team leaders should focus heavily on agent recognition, perhaps even more so than incentivization. This is good news for customer service organizations, as recognition programs are far more cost-effective than prize or gift-based enticements. Incentives are nice, and they can certainly help to motivate, but most programs require points to be earned and accumulated over a period of time before gifts are awarded.
Recognition can occur any time during an agent’s shift, and simple Post-it notes can go a long way toward making an agent feel good about themselves. Employees love hand-written notes congratulating them on their stellar performance on a call or throughout a shift. Here are some sample phrases you can use to recognize and/or motivate your team the next time they deserve it:
Sample Recognition/Motivation Phrases
Recognizing great performance:
- “I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of your recent call…”
- “You should be so proud of your performance! I certainly am!!”
- “Great job today! Keep it up!!”
- “You handled that last customer so well! I’m going to play your call for the whole team!!”
- “You showed real poise in that difficult chat interaction today!”
- “Keep up the great work! You are a true talent.”
- “You have a way with words! Keep up the great performance!!”
Motivating discouraged staff:
- “You just had a tough call. It happens. Take a 10-minute break! You deserve it. 😊”
- “For every bad interaction, there are 5-10 good ones. Keep up the good work!”
- “I took a call just like that once. It too was horrible, but you handled it better than I did!”
- “Please don’t get discouraged. You had some tough interactions today. It gets better!!”
There are other tools and techniques you can employ to motivate your team beyond Post-it notes. Customer service motivation tools can provide certain recognition capabilities to help team leaders and managers inspire their teams intraday, such as:
- Electronic badges – Award your agents with electronic badges that say things like “Top Performer,” “Awesomeness,” “Top Employee Award,” “You are a Closer,” etc.
- Company messages – Send an email to all staff in the company or post a message to your internal social community wall (online).
- Top performers board – Post top performing agents’ names on a “Top Performers” physical board you display on the wall.
- “Take a Break” pass – Award high performers with a “Take a Break” laminated pass they can use to take an extra 15-minute break whenever they choose.
- Green Flag – Display a discreet green flag on the agent’s cubicle for the day to recognize him/her for quality customer service performance.
Customer service team leaders and managers are in the business of customer service, which all comes down to agent performance. High performing agents translate into happier customers. Happy customers translate into increased loyalty and revenue.
The path to happy agents and happy customers is recognition, especially intraday, when it can make a real-time difference. Recognize your agents periodically (once or twice a week) throughout the day for quality performance or for coping with a tough situation, and you’ll see the difference in their performance and disposition.
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