Is your customer service incentive program lagging? Are your people just not as interested in it as they used to be? And is the quality of your customer service dwindling?
It might be time to breathe some new life into your customer service incentive.
No matter your industry, these 12 quick steps can help resuscitate a flatlining program.
1. Define Positive Behaviors
You already know who your top customer service performers are. But why are they top performers? What steps do they take and what behaviors do they conduct that put them ahead? Those are the things your program should focus on. Start with assessment, like we did for one automotive OEM service incentive program.
Do this now: Create a list of what makes top players do well.
2. Segment Your Performers
Who are the top customer service performers and who didn’t quite live up to your expectation? Real success in your customer service lies in your B and C players and driving them to do better, and knowing specifics about employees fosters reasonable goal setting and appropriate individualized communication when segmenting your audience.
Do this now: Divide out top- and middle-tier employees.
3. Define Explicit Goals
With that list of positive behaviors you want each segment of your customer service team to exhibit, create an outline of specific goals you want to achieve. More than that, detail the steps needed to achieve that goal.
For instance, if your goal for your customer service team is to know your product offerings better, outline the steps needed for that: reading product documentation, answering customer questions, using the product and more.
Do this now: Create clear, attainable and distinct goals and the steps leading up to each.
4. Balance Motivations
Some employees lean more toward extrinsic motivation—tangible awards and money, for instance. And others are swayed by intrinsic motivation, including purpose, belonging and praise. But the secret lies in the balance.
MotivologySM, our very own brand of motivation, identifies and balances the internal and external motivators needed to align and motivate your employees.
Do this now: Consider how your customer service team is motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically.
5. Make it Short
Even if your customer service incentive program has long-term goals, breaking it up into smaller programs or sprints can make it more impactful over the short run. On account of the deluge of online information, millennials and Generation Z will have little patience for a long-winded, cumbersome incentive program.
Do this now: Think about how your program can be broken down into smaller, more imperative components.
6. Align Rewards to Goals
Incentives work—that’s no shock. But the manner and timing in which incentives are delivered matters as much as the incentive itself. Don’t just offer one big reward for reaching a goal. Consider smaller ones at key progress points as well.
Do this now: Give your employees awards along the way to a goal, not just when it’s achieved.
7. Let Them Strive for Something Better
When your employees can pool smaller earnings over time to save up for something larger, you’ll see a customer service team dedicated to hitting goals. And with a deep award catalog, your employees are sure to find something that keeps them going.
Do this now: Allow employees to pool earnings and give them awards they really want.
8. Reward People on the Spot
See someone exhibiting positive customer service? Recognize them and give their peers the ability to do the same.
Do this now: If you see something, say something, even if it’s just a simple “thanks” or “good job.”
9. Be Persistent
If at first people aren’t participating, grab their attention with communication. Consistent and vibrant communication will drive interest.
Do this now: Communicate, early and often.
10. Enable Two-Way Feedback
Your employees know what you want out of the program, and they can be a big help in knowing how to make your program better. Let them share their impressions of the program and how to improve it.
Do this now: Conduct follow-up surveys before, during and after your customer service incentive program.
11. Follow Through On What You Learn
If your employees have actionable tips that could be seen as beneficial to the process, implement them. Not only will this improve the effectiveness of the program, your employees will be inspired to participate knowing that their concerns are being addressed.
Do this now: Find a way to implement feedback.
12. Repeat Your Customer Service Incentives
Companies can’t turn on and off incredible customer service like a lightswitch. It’s more like a battery—it tends to get gradually weaker until it’s revitalized. Your customer service team must have their batteries charged, and that’s where customer service incentives come in.
Do this now: Leave a base, steady program throughout the course of the year and strategically sprinkle in spurts or bursts of communication, earnings and awards when you anticipate a slump.
No matter what industry you’re in, motivating your service personnel to step up their game is incredibly important. One false step in a customer service interaction and you’re in trouble.
Let ITA Group handle the heavy lifting. By leveraging more than 50 years of experience and Motivology—our own brand of motivation—you’ll build powerful service momentum using specific, identified motivators that move your employees.