15 ideas for showing call center agent appreciation
ILLUSTRATION BY DENNIS SAZHIN
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August is a good time of the year to think about ways to recognize your frontline staff for the important role that they play in the organization’s success. National Customer Service Week (Oct. 3-7) is right around the corner, so many contact centers are already planning activities and events to show agents some extra love for their hard work and commitment.

Since it was established over three decades ago, the number of companies participating in CSW festivities has continued to grow. And while the annual appreciation is much anticipated by customer service staff—and well-deserved—most center leaders agree that thanking agents for their valuable contribution should take place frequently and all year long.

Here are five ideas to help you get started. Then check out the next two posts for ideas 6-10 and 11-15.

Surprise Celebrations

Keep your agents on their toes with impromptu appreciation celebrations. Did an agent just hit a performance goal, score a perfect rating on a QM session, save a customer? Break out the kazoos, silly hats and balloons and take a minute to publicly rejoice in their achievements!

Let Agents Sit in on Management Meetings

You can recognize top performers and show your support for their ongoing growth and development by allowing career-minded agents to attend management meetings. Have an agent accompany you to the next department head meeting, or send someone to attend in your place when you’re not available.

Find Reasons to Praise

Look for reasons to praise your agents—someone demonstrating the behaviors or skills that you’ve covered in coaching sessions, going above and beyond to help a customer, successfully cross-selling a product. Offering praise on the spot reinforces the positive behaviors and boosts agent morale and motivation.

Practical Tips for Call CentersPractical pointer: Praise should be specific to be effective; for instance, saying “Good job, Jim!” is nice, but it doesn’t tell the agent what he did right. A better approach might be: “Jim, you did a great job calming the customer on during that complaint call. Your tone was respectful, and the phrases you used really demonstrated your empathy for the situation. Thank you for your professionalism!”

Make a Meal… and Serve it

What employee wouldn’t enjoy the chance to be waited on by his or her manager—or even better, senior management? Get the leadership team to make breakfast for the entire center—and then deliver it, white-glove style, to the agents’ desks.

Wall of Fame

The Wall of Fame is a long-standing call center practice for publicly displaying agents’ achievements, photos, letters from customers, and praise from peers, supervisors and senior management.
This technique can be adapted to include virtual or work-from-home staff by creating a space on the company intranet to share photos and stories that celebrate your agents’ accomplishments, and where team members can add their comments and kudos.

Practical Tips for Call CentersPractical pointer: Call attention to agents’ accomplishments at team meetings by reading aloud entries from your physical or virtual wall of fame. It’s a positive way to kick off meetings and highlight good deeds that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.

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