Being an agent is hard. You’re solving people’s problems all day long. Sometimes they’re really complex problems and it takes time to figure out the answer. Sometimes they’re easy problems but you’ve answered them a hundred times before, so your mind starts to wander. Sometimes the person on the other end is being impatient or having a bad day, and inadvertently taking it out on you. Sometimes the product you’re supporting is running into issues and you can’t seem to find any stability. You have metrics to meet and projects to work on and every day you’re being asked to do more and more. Our support teams are nothing without our agents. How can we show appreciation for them and make them feel how valued they are?
I’ve tried all kinds of things over the years and find that different rewards work for different people. There are the standard rewards that we’re all familiar with, gift cards to Starbucks, a good word when you see them doing something great, positive CSAT responses from clients (the wordier, the better), award ceremonies and plaques, days off following a particularly busy period or at the completion of a big project even physical tokens of appreciation, a big celebration for Customer Service Week.
After a while the usual rewards lose their impact, and you have to find additional ways to show the team your appreciation.
Lately, we’ve been testing the waters with metric gamification where team members can “compete” with each other to earn the highest score. This has been very motivating for team members that are naturally competitive, and it helps with team building as agents share their tricks for winning. We’ve been building some of these elements into our own version of Kustomer through personalized dashboards and our QA App but there are third party tools that can connect to Kustomer too. This allows each agent to not only compete with each other, but also with themselves as they work to beat their own personal best.
Dedicated Client Support
We’ve seen remarkable success assigning dedicated accounts to team members to help them build closer relationships with clients who need some extra help. This might not be relevant to your support team but could potentially be translated into ownership of a client rewards program or other value add for repeat customers. This has allowed our team members to have a more holistic understanding of a client’s business and provide more tailored solutions to meet their business challenges. Having this deeper understanding of our clients has helped the team increase their empathy and provide a more consultative approach to support. It’s also helped them feel more valuable because they’re more directly connected to our clients and become an extension of their team.
Ownership of High-Profile Projects
In support there are many different projects that need to be completed for a team to be successful. On our team we have initiatives ranging from increasing our written support content to improving our operational processes, reviewing/updating our issue taxonomy, helping with Community engagement, creating ongoing enablement training so that we can continue to improve our understanding of the platform and even creating our own apps, like the recent Export Buddy.
With all the various projects we have on our team, we’ve been able to cater to our agents’ strengths, giving them increasing ownership of high-profile projects and input into how we operate as a team. This approach has led to the creation of a strong, cohesive team that feels ownership of our overall output and great care for our clients. Most importantly they can see the lasting impact that their work is having and know that their voices are being heard. I know this isn’t possible to this extent with every team, but whenever we can help agents build additional skills and grow into more advanced responsibilities, we do so because it gives us a different perspective than we would have had we hired for these projects from the outside.
There is nothing more rewarding to our agents than knowing that they can have a long career with us here at Kustomer. One of the most important things that we do is create clear career paths for our agents that gives them different options to choose from across various teams. This builds on the strengths they’ve built taking ownership of our high-profile projects and takes ongoing work on the part of our managers to work with each of our internal departments to understand their needs so we can prepare our agents for career growth.
What are some ways that you reward your agents? Comment below to get the discussion going.