Part 1: How to Incentivize Top Service Talent in the Call Center

The call center is often the hub of any business, because it’s the front lines.  If this was a war, the agents would be the front line troops battling with the masses.  Sometimes though this isn’t what the agent always wants so they can often lose motivation in the work place, because customers are being too difficult.  Perhaps because the customer are waiting too long, or there are major problems in the system that is causing a stream of customers to call in a panic, it causes customer service agents to think it’s time to throw in the towel, and give up!

If you realize this, you need to find ways to get agents to become motivated again.  You can’t lose top talent, just because of a bad incident, or just an angry customer.

I had two questions when it comes to this subject.   I had a chance to speak with a few people who gave me some great insights and tips too.

I spoke with Daniel Melchior, Call center expert danielmelchior.com and asked does it help to reach call center KPI’s by incentivizing the agents?

“I’ve personally implemented incentive plans in every center I’ve managed in order to meet strategic KPIs. One extremely important concept, however, is that all of the incentives are team based and not individually based. All of the goals that we set and the respective KPIs are designed around team and organizational goals. Typical examples of call center KPIs include inquiry resolution time, customer satisfaction as measured by surveys, repeat calls etc. Depending on the type of center and the work that is being done, one of the most important KPIs and top line goals is elimination of inquiries. This only comes in to play, however, if the center has the responsibility to not only handle the call but also determine and fix root cause issues.”

I also asked the customer care manager at Hot Schedules

Kristin Kweder said, “I don’t think that’s the end-all, be-all answer to hitting KPIs, but it definitely helps raise the technicians’ spirits. When they are all working towards something as a team, it pushes them to see what they can accomplish. Plus, a technician in higher spirits will accomplish more than someone who is feeling down. Incentives are merely for lifting others up – they cannot fix the whole problem.”

Tammy McCann, Contact Center Manager at Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) gave her valued input.  “We have found that tying incentives to performance acts as a motivator. Our representatives feel empowered and will strive to meet or exceed the metrics. The incentives help the representatives own the end results.

I asked her as well as others this other burning question. Do you have examples of how you incentivized agents for better success?’

“Yes, one of our representatives will publish on a weekly basis the 100% Club notice sent out to the entire department. The Club highlights those individuals that have received 100% quality in all scored categories. The representatives look forward to the announcement and will express concern if they receive a score that will eliminate them from the Club.

The Thanks Card, that rewards top overall metric performance weekly, is an item that sparks their competitive nature. The representatives will watch their daily habits to have the optimum utilization of time and efficiency to keep their metrics at the top level to obtain the card.”

I spoke to the friendly guys from Print Runner.  They said the following. “Yes it does. Incentives are a way of rewarding for great performance, desired correct behaviors and there are different ways you can provide incentives to agents. It doesn’t always have to be monetary or even expensive. Agents are motivated by different things so it’s always necessary to make sure there’s a good mix of incentives.

There’s monetary based on stack ranking and overall grade achieved in the scorecards based on a whole month’s performance. There are also incentives that we provide daily and almost real time for performance and behavior that we want recognized right away and we give out non-expensive GC’s. We also give certificates to top performers’ end of month and we hold an awarding ceremony in the contact center. Recognition or recognizing excellent performance and behavior can be a very powerful tool.”

Some great tips were offered on how to incentive top level agents in the call center. I Hope they helped you gain some inspiration and learn something new to try with your call center.

 

Waiting for Part 2? Stay tuned for next Friday…make sure to log in to read it! 

 

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Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe