Contact Center CSR Recognition Best Practices

Published on: 12/21/17, 9:13 AM

CSR Recognition Blog

As most contact center managers know, motivating CSRs to use the desired customer service behaviors to achieve world class call resolution performance, and retaining the best CSRs are great challenges. An effective recognition program will greatly help management in motivating CSRs to excel at providing call resolution at the world class level and to retain the top call resolution performing CSRs. It is important to note that 46% of customers whose call was not resolved felt the CSR could have done more to resolve their call. In many of those cases, the CSRs were not motivated to use the desired customer service behaviors to resolve customer calls. In other words, from a customer point of view, it was a will issue rather than a skill issue.

A best practice is to recognize CSR behavior and reward voice of the customer (VoC) results in a frequent, descriptive, and impactful manner, so that CSRs know what they are being recognized for and because it motivates them to continue to use the behaviors that help them to achieve world class VoC results. SQM clients performing at the world class FCR level use the following VoC recognition best practices, or a variation thereof, for recognizing CSRs:

  • Be frequent – Recognize CSRs daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. The more timely, consistent, and frequent, the better.
  • Be descriptive – Recognize CSRs for specific behaviors they used to resolve a call or provide great customer experience. The more descriptive the feedback, the more the CSR will feel it is sincere.
  • Be impactful – Focus CSR recognition on behaviors that have a positive impact on FCR, Csat, and call resolution performance. These are the behaviors you want the CSR to repeat.
CSR Awards
Mike Desmarais, CEO & Founder of SQM, Awarding CSR of the Year at SQM’s Annual Conference and Industry Awards.

CSR Ranking of VoC Recognition Motivators

The below figure shows SQM’s focus group results for CSR ranking of VoC recognition motivators.

CSR Recognition graph

  • The number 1 recognition motivator (advancement) is career opportunities based on CSR VoC performance.
  • Numbers 2 (additional training) and 3 (special assignment) recognition motivators are closely aligned to the number 1 motivator because they give CSRs the opportunity to advance within the call center or the organization based on their VoC performance.
  • The number 4 recognition motivator (time off) provides a balanced lifestyle.
  • The number 5 recognition motivator (recognition) is where CSRs’ VoC performance is recognized in either a group or a private setting.
  • The number 6 recognition motivator (cash/gift cards) provides CSRs with gift cards for their VoC accomplishments; many of whom use those gift cards for their day-to-day living expenses (e.g., gas, food, and merchandise).
  • The number 7 recognition motivator (increase autonomy) is for CSRs who want less supervision, based on the fact that they have a high-performance VoC track record.
  • The number 8 recognition motivator (party and fun activities) provides an opportunity for CSRs to celebrate their VoC performance with other employees.
  • The number 9 recognition motivator (special notes) acknowledges CSR VoC performance with a congratulatory note. When the note comes from their supervisor, they like to receive it through an email or note card; however, when it comes from senior management they like to receive it on a typed, signed letterhead or on a signed note card.
  • The number 10 recognition motivator (performance updates) is for CSRs who are self-motivated and just need to be kept informed of, or have access to, their VoC performance.
  • The number 11 recognition motivator (prizes and merchandise) is for CSRs who like to receive company branded merchandise for their VoC performance.

Using a point system that CSRs can redeem for company branded merchandise can be an effective way to recognize VoC performance. This is especially effective if the CSR is asked to go to a senior manager’s office to select a company branded merchandise item based on the number of VoC points they have earned. By having the CSR visit the senior manager’s office, the senior manager is able to recognize the CSR's VoC performance verbally.

An important message to convey around the CSR ranking of VoC recognition motivators is what motivates one CSR may not necessarily motivate another. In other words, the best VoC motivator recognition program is one that is customized for each CSR. Most supervisors or managers do not know what truly motivates their CSRs to achieve high VoC performance. One of the best ways to understand what motivates each CSR is to conduct focus group sessions with all CSRs. Each focus group session should have no more than 15 CSRs. At the session, each CSR is asked to rank what motivates them, and the reason why it motivates them, to achieve high VoC performance. Alternatively, simply ask CSRs what motivates them. By understanding what motivates CSRs to achieve high VoC performance, managers are able to tailor recognition to suit individual CSRs.

I welcome you to read our overview page outlining great examples of CSR recognition best practices that offer methods for providing frequent, descriptive, and impactful feedback with your CSRs. In addition, access case studies from organizations that have demonstrated award-winning CSR recognition best practices which helped improve, or maintain positive customer experience performance.

About the Author: Mike Desmarais

Mike DesmaraisMike Desmarais is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SQM Group. Mike is currently an MBA Candidate at Athabasca University. Mike has over 25 years of customer experience (CX) measurement, benchmarking, and consulting. As a consultant, Mike has experience working with leading North American organizations on improving CX. Mike has developed several key best practices that are fundamental to providing world class contact channel customer experiences. He uses his best practice knowledge to assess contact channel operations and to pinpoint the 3-5 pivotal changes that will drive real and significant CX improvement. Mike is a pioneer and visionary in contact channels’ CX measurement of first call resolution, one contact resolution, omni-channel, CX greatness, customer emotion, and retention metrics. Mike has written five thought-provoking contact channel CX research books (i.e., World Class Call Center, First Call Resolution, FCR Best Practices, One Contact Resolution and most recently One Contact Resolution 2nd Edition). Mike has conducted best practice case studies with organizations such as American Express, FedEx, and VSP Vision Care. In addition, Mike is a popular contact center industry thought-leader with over 20,000 LinkedIn followers and is one of the top 10 most influential contributors in the contact center industry based on a recent Fonolo poll. Mike is a sought-after speaker for contact center conferences and has a world class satisfaction rating for speaking at those events.