As an operations manager in a big call center, I have a lot on my hands balancing between pleasing the clients and the front liners, the call center agents. Our clients are big telecommunications companies and there is a lot of pressure making sure that employees come on time and provide the best customer service experience to the callers.
Because they have to deal with complaints on a daily basis, the agents are often late or even worse, absent. This is not acceptable since one missing agent could mean the service level going down and the clients breathing down my neck about it. Most of my performing employees get demotivated when they do not receive anything in return for their efforts.
Instilling fear in them is not my kind of management. I do not want them to dread going to work and I certainly do not want them to lose their jobs as times are hard nowadays. With the failing economy, it is hard requesting for additional incentives. I am sure there are other ways to appreciate a person who makes a customer smile.
Managing more than a hundred people is a herculean task. I need to hear them speak their grievances and act on office issues as well. Having to come up with ideas on how to keep them coming to work and appreciating their job is not easy. I have to think of something fast before those resignation papers pile up on my desk.
Giving out freebies is often the best ways to keep them doing all the good, hard work. For the moment, I have to come up with something that fits my budget perfectly. This got me thinking that instead of giving out just candies and chocolates for every good feedback from a satisfied customer, I will give out promotional pens.
I came up with a brilliant idea to submit a proposal to our clients. I mentioned motivation towards providing a good experience for their customers and asked permission to have their logos and company's names on them. They warmed up to the idea and gave me the go signal.
Since I want them to look forward to getting a nice reward, I opted for logo pens that are fun and unique. I got the colorful ones that have little heads on them. I put little accessories on them as well, specifically, little headsets on the heads. When I showed it to my secretary, she was blown away with the ingenuity.
I conducted meetings with the team leaders and the agents and informed them that I will be giving out freebies, aside from the usual. That peaked their interest and when I showed them samples of what they are going to receive if they do go, there was a burst of excited chatter. I congratulated myself on the idea.
A couple of weeks after the announcement, I asked my statistics team to pull up records of customers' feedback and I was happy to see that there was a significant improvement. Most of them mentioned about the fact that the agents were so much happier to assist them. I also asked the team to pick out those employees with stellar feedback and rewarded them with the special company pens.