Every year, 30-45% of call center employees leave their jobs, and 79% of people quit their jobs due to a “lack of appreciation.” For every employee that quits, your company spends an average of 33% of their annual salary on their exit—in recruiting fees, training new employees, and lost productivity.
So how do you develop happy employees and reduce turnover in the call center? Create an employee recognition program.
The Benefits of Call Center Employee Recognition
Employee loyalty is not something that happens automatically. You have to actively work to develop satisfied employees and reduce churn. The good news is that if you make employee satisfaction a priority, that translates into an increase in your bottom line. In fact, companies with low turnover rates, on average, bring in four times higher profits.
One way to increase employee satisfaction is to recognize when your employees are doing a good job. Engaged and satisfied call center employees are:
- 8.5x more likely to stay than leave within a year,
- 4x more like to stay than dissatisfied colleagues,
- 16x more likely to refer friends to their company,
- and 3.3x more like to feel extremely empowered to resolve customer issues.
When employees spend their time and talent to increase your business, they expect reciprocation. You must validate their work and reward their contributions, so they are motivated to keep working for you and giving their best. The good news is that it’s not that hard to show employee performance appreciation.
Employee Recognition Ideas for Call Center Agents
In a recent blog, we actually broke down 13 different ideas to recognize exceptional performance.
1. Personalize acknowledgment to the employee’s personality and preferences: i.e., give a movie ticket to a movie buff or heap praise on someone who appreciates words of affirmation.
2. Celebrate small and early wins to build confidence and maintain a positive environment with quick praise, “You handled that really well,” given daily.
3. Shout big wins from the rooftops by offering widespread recognition in staff meetings, on social channels, in employee newsletters, or in a company-wide email.
4. Throw a ceremony to recognize the hard work of your entire organization, i.e., throw a red carpet event to spotlight high-quality performances and valued contributions.
5. Reward low performers according to their abilities and contributions.
6. Applaud failures to encourage innovation and celebrate risk-taking on new ideas.
7. Give small tokens on top of praise as a reward for good work, i.e., lunch vouchers, early release, gift certificates, etc.
8. Recognize a wider net of employees by not being selective on the type of tasks or activities you applaud.
9. Avoid biases when recognizing employees; focus on being fair to all types of staff/people.
10. Ask your employees who they want to be recognized and rewarded by bringing your employees into your recognition program.
11. Focus on positivity in all of your coaching and training efforts, and avoid feedback such as “you should be doing this” or “this wasn't good enough.”
12. Recognize the right employee performance metrics by focusing on metrics that are the most meaningful to your organization.
13. Say thank you often.
5 Steps to Implement a Call Center Employee Recognition Programs
No single recognition tactic is better than another, and none can ensure low levels of burnout or employee turnover. It’s more important to focus on how employee recognition can help you achieve your contact center’s goals. And that means implementing an employee recognition program that’s designed to help your call center agents feel valued and appreciated every day.
So, how do you get started? Below are some steps to create an employee recognition program.
Step 1: Outline Your Performance Criteria
First and foremost, your call center agents need to know what goals they are trying to achieve. They have to know what behaviors, skills, activities, and results will result in positive employee recognition. They have to have a fair chance at getting it right when it comes to their performance.
Focus on creating clear-cut performance criteria that are easy to track with software and your QA process, so they know what they’re trying to work toward and how. Examples of performance metrics include but are not limited to:
- CSAT and NPS scores
- First Call Resolution
- Average Speed of Answering
Other performance criteria include less quantifiable information such as:
- Did the agent actively listen to your customers?
- Did the agent demonstrate empathy and emotional intelligence?
- How well did the agent address the customer’s needs?
- Did the agent offer an upgrade successfully?
- Did the agent follow all compliance procedures?
And be sure to link all of these criteria to your company goals. Call center agents will have more motivation to work hard and meet your performance criteria if they understand its greater impact.
Step 2: Decide on Your Rewards
Once your call center agents know the criteria they have to meet to be successful, you need to come up with the rewards and recognition they will receive for their performance. According to Gallup, 69% of employees would work harder if they were recognized, so deciding how you’ll reward a job well done is critical.
We provided a list of 13 employee recognition ideas for call center agents above. That’s a great place to get started. And remember, who gives the reward is important too. 28% of employees indicate the most memorable recognition they received came from their manager; 24% cited a CEO.
And don’t forget to match the reward to the person. Personalized incentives have a far greater positive impact on performance.
Step 3: Determine Who Gets Rewarded and Why
A well-designed employee recognition program should be multi-faceted—it’s crucial not to reward productivity at the cost of customer satisfaction. Instead, you need to know which criteria deserve recognition and reward and what it’s worth.
The key is to decide what types of rewards are given for which situations. For example, what does it take to get a monetary reward such as a performance bonus or free lunch compared to a reward of time off, better parking spots, early dismissal, or a call out in a team meeting?
And make sure there is some leeway built into your employee recognition program. Your agents should have the autonomy to make the best choice possible to improve client care in the moment, even if it doesn’t fully match the outlined call center script or process. This will help improve performance and add greater value.
Step 4: Get Employees Engaged in the Process
According to Martin Hill-Wilson, a thought leader in customer engagement strategy, “for every 10% increase in employee engagement levels, a company’s customer service levels go up by 5%, and profits by 2%.”
Your call center agents need to know what’s expected of them, how they can meet those expectations, and why it’s important to do so. To do this, your agents need to be involved in creating your recognition program. Ask for feedback about:
- The best incentives to provide exceptional service
- The tools and technology needed to achieve their goals
- The quality assurance process
Step 5: Analyze, Adjust, and Repeat
Finally, remember that your employee recognition program is never complete. You’ll need to constantly track changes in your call center and adjust your metrics to the most accurate measurements of success. By continually monitoring, analyzing, and improving on your employee recognition process, you keep it efficient and effective.
Employee Recognition Programs Don’t Have to be Difficult
Call center employee recognition programs don’t have to be difficult to design. It all comes down to identifying performance metrics that support your goals, deciding on rewards that will incentivize good behavior, outlining who will be rewarded and how, getting your employees engaged in the process, and constantly adjusting your program to meet your ever-changing needs. What could be simpler than that?