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Call center incentive programs encourage staff to go beyond policy

Call center incentive programs can be used to encourage more proactive service by staff members that improves organizational efficiency.

Customers don't expect a lot from businesses when they experience a problem with a product – they just want the issue fixed as soon as possible. However, many organizations fail to deliver results when they need to.

The Globe and Mail recently encouraged readers to share their customer service horror stories, which included instances when front-line employees were rude, dishonest or unwilling to give their full attention to the consumer. These attitudes create challenges for businesses that can affect the bottom line. Fortunately, call center incentive programs are effective tools for energizing customer service representatives and other front-line personnel.

The incentive programs provide additional motivation for offering friendly and courteous service, but their benefits extend far beyond making conversations more pleasant. An effective reward program will empower staff members to seek solutions to customer problems. In one story shared by The Globe and Mail, a call center representative noticed that a customer was stuck in a repeating pattern of service. Company policy required a facility check before the customer's cable bill could be updated. However, there was a disconnect, and even after several facility checks, the bill had not be altered to reflect the level of service being provided. A committed employee noticed the problem and a manager to make the change needed on the customer's bill. This simple action prevented additional resources from being wasted on repeated service calls and finally made the customer happy.

Satisfying customers involves more than following policies
Call center incentive programs can be used to encourage more proactive services by staff members that improves organizational efficiency. Staff members can become so focused on following company policies that they can forget extra attention is sometimes needed to identify the actual problem. If the employee above had followed the same protocol as everyone else in the call center, another facility check would have been done and the customer would have called back when the billing inaccuracy persisted.

Policies should empower employees to resolve problems and not simply follow predetermined steps. Recognizing workers who have taken action to address issues encourages them to take similar steps in the future. This shifts calls from being about following a checklist to listening to callers and finding out exactly what they need to be satisfied. The change in approach is often enough to boost engagement among staff members, which contributes to friendlier, higher-quality service for customers.

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