Does Your Recognition Program Motivate CSRs and Managers?

Published on: 11/23/15, 12:00 PM

A best practice to improve First Contact Resolution (FCR) and other KPIs in your contact center is to recognize CSR behavior and base rewards on VoC results with a recognition program. Recognition needs to be in a frequent, descriptive and impactful manner, so that CSRs know what they are being recognized for. This in turn will motivate them to continue to use the behaviors that helped them achieve the VoC results. SQM clients that are performing at the world class FCR level use the VoC recognition best practices shown below, or a variation thereof, for recognizing CSRs.


Be Frequent - Recognize CSRs daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.
Be Descriptive - Recognize behaviors used to resolve a call or provide great customer experience.
Be Impactful - Focus on behaviors that have a positive impact on FCR, Csat and call resolution


We have identified 11 recognition motivators to improve your contact center’s FCR and to motivate CSRs and Managers with your recognition program.These findings came from our work with focus groups with CSRs. The 11 recognition motivators are shown below with an explanation for each.

  1. Advancement is the number 1 recognition motivator when career opportunities are based on CSR VoC performance.
  2. Additional Training is closely aligned with career advancement because training gives CSRs the opportunity to advance within the contact center or the organization based on their VoC performance.
  3. Special Assignment is directly related to #1 and #2
  4. Time Off is valued as it provides for a balanced life style.
  5. Recognition of a CSRs’ VoC performance is recognized in either a group or a private setting.
  6. Cash/Gift Cards provide CSRs recognition for their VoC accomplishments; many of whom use those gift cards for their day-to-day living expenses (e.g., gas, food and merchandise).
  7. Increased Autonomy is ideal for CSRs who want less supervision based on the fact that they have a high performance VoC track record.
  8. Parties and Fun Activities provide an opportunity for CSRs to celebrate their VoC performance with other employees.
  9. Special Notes are used to acknowledge 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.
  10. Performance Updates work well for CSRs who are self-motivated and just need to be kept informed of, or have access to, their VoC performance.
  11. Prizes and Merchandise are ideal 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 how many VoC points they have earned. By having the CSR visit the senior manager’s office, the senior manager is able to verbally recognize the CSR’s VoC performance.


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.

Do you have a great CSR Recognition story for our Best Practice Awards?


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.