CSR Recognition Best Practices for Improving CX
Author: Mike Desmarais, Founder & CEO, SQM Group
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 CSR 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 a lot 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 helped them achieve the VoC results. SQM clients that are performing at the world class FCR level use the following VoC recognition best practices, or a variation thereof, for recognizing CSRs:
The following examples offer methods for providing frequent, descriptive, and impactful feedback.
Call Kudos Recognition
The Call Kudos recognition program is used by all employees within a contact center to recognize each other for something that a peer felt was worthy of their recognition. All employees can see who was recognized, why they were recognized, and who recognized them. The criteria used for peer recognition should be primarily focused on the way the CSR handled a call or how the CSR supported another CSR in handling a call (e.g., Csat and call resolution).
The Call Kudos recognition program uses an intranet platform that is developed in-house or through a third-party organization that specializes in recognition technology. The design of Call Kudos recognition should be similar to Facebook where a CSR has their profile and picture on the social media site and they can share reasons why they have given another employee a Call Kudos. Employees are trained and encouraged to use the Call Kudos recognition program. Top recognizers and recognized employees are pictured on the home page of the Call Kudos intranet platform. Great examples of customer success call resolution and experience stories should also be on the home page.
Santa in a Box Recognition
For annual recognition, a gift-wrapped Santa in a Box with many items in it (the value is $100 or less) is given to all employees. All employees get the same gift, whether a CSR or a SVP. Gifts are determined by a contact center social committee team. The gifts are kept in complete secrecy until the employee opens it up. What employees really like about the Santa in a Box recognition program is that it is a tradition; it happens every year. Clearly, the Santa in a Box is more skewed towards Esat and employee engagement than FCR; however, as SQM’s research shows, high Esat is highly correlated to high Csat and FCR.
Service Hero Recognition
The Service Hero recognition program highlights great service provided by CSRs, which is shared with the senior executives of the organization. Every quarter, exemplary calls are identified at all levels and are vetted by supervisors and management working in the contact center. This group will listen to as many as 20 calls and then discuss, rank and select the top 5 to 7 calls that the president and the senior executive team will listen to each quarter. The senior executives will also discuss, rank and debate their rankings which creates great discussions and new thinking about how to deliver a world class customer service experience.
Three calls are chosen as the best Service Hero calls, then one of those is selected as the CSR Service Hero call to be shared with all contact center employees at a town hall meeting each quarter. This not only helps articulate what great customer service means, but also inspires CSRs to be Service Heroes. The three quarterly CSR Service Hero winners receive $500 cash, a trophy, and are recognized at the town hall meeting. At the end of the year, the 12 Service Hero winners are flown to the head office for recognition, fun gifts and a formal dinner with senior executives. Senior executives will listen to the 12 calls again and choose a CSR Service Hero of the Year. The CSR Service Hero of the Year will receive a check for $4,000 and will be recognized throughout the organization.
VoC Certification Recognition
Of all the recognition practices used for CSRs and supervisors, the one that has been the most effective at helping contact centers improve or maintain their FCR and Csat performance is a VoC certification program. Most of SQM’s top-performing contact centers use a world class customer service certification program for recognizing CSRs. The premise of this type of program is to let the customer be the judge of the service they receive and to let them determine if they experienced a world class call (WCC). If 80% of the CSR’s required surveys are world class calls, then the CSR is certified as a world class CSR.
CSRs should receive daily recognition as their surveys are collected, and should also be recognized monthly and annually for their VoC performance. At the monthly VoC recognition session, CSRs and supervisors who have achieved at least 80% of their surveys as world class (e.g., four out of five surveys) are given WCC star pins that can be affixed to a star display to recognize their achievement for the month and to encourage them to continue to maintain or improve their VoC performance, see Figure 1. At the annual VoC recognition event celebration, CSRs and supervisors who have achieved at least 80% of their surveys as world class calls are given certificates designating them as world class certified CSR or supervisor performers. These certificates are presented to CSRs and supervisors by either the SVP of the contact center or the president of the organization.
Figure 1: CSR VoC Certification Recognition
More details can be found in SQM’s book:
The purpose of this book, One Contact Resolution 2nd Edition, is to help contact center managers use best practices for improving customer experience.