How to Reward Success to Sustain Call Center Performance

Formal recognition and reward programs acknowledge when employees achieve the expectations set for them. Organizations with reward programs are 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes. In this blog, we share tips and activities that work.

Trophy with lights as part of a reward program

Use Creativity in Your Reward Program

Not all reward programs are monetary.  Adding healthy competition to your rewards and incentives can be fun and produces high performance levels.  Creative activities and programs that build a sense of pride and are achieved through strong work ethic are very successful.

  • Commendations – Commendations provide on-the-spot recognition and are simple and easy to do. Management and peers use commendations when high call quality is achieved or when someone has demonstrated leadership.  Commendations can also be displayed in a cubicle or on-line versions can be created and displayed on a virtual leader board.  Remember to have Commendation Cards on hand when call listening, to be able to quickly recognize a great call.
  • Peer Recognition – Peers can recognize each other in a team meeting or through an on-line channel. This is usually given when one peer on the team has demonstrated significant leadership by mentoring, helping others, or taking on additional responsibility. You can give a shout out in a team meeting, or provide written recognition through an email or in monthly performance reviews.
  • Best Call Trophy – Purchase a small trophy to pass around (or mail to agents) when agents have a ‘perfect’ call. This way, you provide instant recognition that can be easily displayed on desks and create some healthy competition. Use the trophy for any performance categories.  Some categories to use are most improved, best in class, and goal achievement.
  • Team Games – Managers can create fun games to stimulate healthy competition and reward winners with non-monetary items such as time off the phone, “manager for a day” or swapping roles.

Bottom line: have fun with recognition or a reward program! Ask the team to come up with ideas or provide a leadership opportunity for someone on the team.

Pay Attention, Track KPIs and Communicate to Sustain High Performance

The programs you create to sustain performance are wide ranging. Yes, you need to track performance and KPIs and stay connected with your team. But you can also build opportunities for engagement among the staff, leadership and even customers.

  • Performance Management – Based on the expectations set with the call model and success profiles develop evaluation forms and feedback routines to manage to the performance you expect (Monthly Review Feedback Routines, Performance Improvement and Development Plans).
  • Inspection Routines – Review accounts to understand if the processes or solutions that you put in place are occurring or schedule call calibration listening sessions to ensure the service level that you expect is occurring. If not, you can calibrate on what feedback is appropriate using the forms developed to ensure management is consistent and directionally still on the same page.
  • Continuing Education Programs – Track the call quality and efficiency performance of the agents so that you can understand where you have gaps and can create continuing education or short learning segments to provide just in time training. Based on individual performance, agents can sign up for the area of their choice, to establish a targeted approach to increasing their performance.
RELATED CONTENTWatch this webinar to see how to deliver virtual collections call training at a pace that achieves improvements quickly
  • Agent Best Practice Blog – Develop a blog for agents to share best practices and have a platform to ask questions among themselves. This is a great opportunity to create team bonding and an engaging team environment. As a bonus, you will also see who on the team may need some additional support.
  • Daily Team Pull Up – Prepare and schedule time each day to review performance, answer questions, role play best practices, set daily goals for the team and provide recognition and motivation. These sessions provide short bursts of learning.  Prepare for these meetings to ensure that time off the phone adds value.  Develop a standard agenda for the meetings to ensure consistency across your call center teams. Leadership can attend some to observe management interaction.
  • Leader Check Ins and Round Tables – Check in regularly with the leaders to understand how it’s going. Hold two deep meetings and facilitate focus groups (customer and agent) to understand strengths and opportunities. Compile the feedback and put a plan in place to address anything that arises. Lastly, communicate progress and actions you’ve taken based on the feedback. You want to ensure that anyone who provided input gets the message: “you spoke we listened.”
  • Reporting and Analytics – Produce a consistent reporting package that reports the right level of metrics and KPIs, include customer satisfaction metrics. Report metrics at an individual and team level.  Importantly, provide both quantitative and qualitative metrics.  Perform analysis to understand the individual and team strengths and opportunities and share your results of that analysis.

I’ve seen these activities work in various sized organizations and operational set ups. Sometimes just a few enhancements and ongoing attention will optimize and sustain call performance.

Bring High Performance to Your Call Center

The reward programs and recognition activities in this blog, and others that I’ve written, mirror the success we’ve seen over the years. If you’re ready to improve performance in your collections call center contact us and for an assessment of your current program and we will build you a custom program to suit your goals.


Quick Access to the Blogs in this Series:

Develop an Adaptive Call Model for High Performance Call Centers

Selecting a call framework or building one from scratch requires a detailed look at what you want accomplished on calls and identifying the skills your agents must have. I’ve provided an overview of what to do during this stage…more

Build Training for High Performance & Customer Satisfaction

When you align training of the collections call model framework with competencies that drive performance, you achieve success. The key is to balance lecture and activities within the training to…more

Manage Performance With a Proven Feedback Cycle

You can still improve performance after the call model is built and training is complete. You must use a consistent cycle of listening and coaching.  Here are the steps to take to incorporate that cycle into your operations…more


[Editor’s note: this article was written by Kristin Stolp, former Bridgeforce Senior Program Manager]

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