Welcome to the final post in our agent appreciation series! The following are five more ideas for recognizing your agents as unique individuals who bring value to your center. Be sure to read the last two posts for ideas 1-5 and 6-10.
Write a letter
Thank you cards and notes are always a nice tribute to those agents who have gone above and beyond. However, a formal letter praising the agent’s performance is a more official record of their performance that can be valuable in furthering their career.
Be specific about the individual’s contributions and achievements in the letter. Print a hard copy on company stationery and send it to the employee’s home address. Also, be sure to send a copy to senior management.
Recognition from peers can be even more powerful than praise from a supervisor or manager. Let frontline staff award those colleagues whose performance they deem deserving of recognition.
Pitney Bowes’ support organization’s Rep of the Year award is a nomination program for support representatives by support representatives, according to Jesse Hoobler, global director of Worldwide Software Support. “Our support leadership council, which is made up of support representatives within our global support organization, nominates individuals whom they feel have exemplified the core characteristics of our support organization—which is serving our clients to the best of our abilities.” The award winner receives a $2,000 incentive and runners-up receive iPads.
Practical pointer: A low-effort, yet still effective approach to peer-to-peer recognition is the traveling trophy. Have agents nominate and vote on the agent who provided outstanding internal support or who went out of his way to help a colleague. The winner is awarded the traveling trophy at a departmentwide meeting, and has the honor of displaying the trophy at his workstation for the month. At the end of that time, the agent selects the next recipient, and presents him with the trophy at the next department meeting, along with details on what the agent did to earn his coworker’s praise.
Tap the Skills of Your Top Performers
Give your best agents the opportunity to participate in coaching or mentoring those whose performance needs improvement. Peer coaching has been proven to be highly effective since agents can speak to their coworkers in the same “language.”
Agents get the chance to pick up insider tips and best practices that have helped their colleagues to be successful. For top agents, the recognition of their skills and high performance is very motivating and it helps to expand their leadership skills for long-term career development.
Customer Site Visits
Pair a top agent with a colleague from account management or sales, and send her along on the next customer site visit. The agent gets to see firsthand how customers use your company’s products—valuable insights she can draw on the next time the customer needs assistance. At your next team meeting, have the agent share her impressions of the visit along with ideas for improving the services provided to the customer.
Establish a Recognition Committee
The best way to come up with simple, yet effective ideas for ongoing recognition is to turn the task over to your staff. Select a few frontline agents and leaders to serve on a recognition committee, suggests Todd Marthaler, a contact center consultant at Interactive Intelligence.
“Establish some boundaries—budget, frequency, timing, perhaps—but otherwise, put them in a room with a pizza for a half-day and let them brainstorm,” he says. “I’ve seen great ideas emerge from these sessions—like a preferred parking spot for the employee of the month winner and bagels for all nominated team members, a quarterly lunch for all team members if we hit our quality metrics, and an end-of-the-year recognition dinner for all.”