3 Tips for Using Reward Systems to Improve Support Team Performance

“Hey, listen, we have a reward system. It’s called a salary. Guys come to work here, at the end of every month we put some money into their bank account. Always the same amount, so they know it’s reliable. That’s our reward system. It’s enough. Isn’t it?”

Well, sure. As long as you’re happy to have people who turn up, do the job and go home without ever thinking about what else they could be doing to make the company more successful – more profitable – a better place to be – somewhere that holds on to its customers and wins more. And as long as you’re not interested in recruiting the very best people available. Have you ever thought of hiring robots?

“There’s no need to be rude. So what should we be doing?”

You’ve got your basic pay system in place – you said that. What you need now is something on top of that to encourage superior performance. We live in a highly competitive world and it’s becoming more so, so meeting the standard – being as good as everybody else – doesn’t cut it any longer. You have to be better. Your customer service representatives can get you there. A good reward system gives them the incentive to do it. The reward may be a bonus payment, commission, a prize (a weekend at a spa, a meal in a good restaurant, a holiday – the possibilities are endless).

Team-Based and Individual Reward Systems

Probably the first question to ask is: will we reward each customer support individual separately? Or the team as a whole?

This can be the source of friction, especially in situations (and they are commoner than we might like to think) where the rest of the team thinks that one member is letting the others down. Team members have been heard to say, “Why should we have to share our bonus with her/him when s/he doesn’t share the workload with the rest of us?” Be that as it may, a number of studies have shown that, while a reward program for individuals may increase performance by 20%, the same program for teams can produce performance improvements of up to 50%.

Should Rewards Be Limited?

The question here is: do we reward every person who reaches the target, or only the top performers among them? Both approaches get good results and, although the limited program probably outscores the unlimited program overall, you might wish to try both types are different times.

Payout Every Time? Or Occasionally?

The essence of a reward program is that you decide what behaviors and performance levels you want your support staff to show and then craft the program to reward those behaviors and that performance. To get immediate improvement in an area, introduce a program that rewards every single achiever every single time – but make it time-limited. When the behavior or performance is established, adjust the program so that rewards come after a set number of achievements. But, whatever you do, don’t change the program before the date it was set to expire because nothing demotivates people as quickly as that.

What reward systems have you used in the past? How effective would you say they were?

Once you have your ideas in place, make sure you’ve got a tool like HappyFox to help you analyze all of the performance data for your agents. Schedule your 30-minute live demo with our product specialist.!

Tabitha Naylor

Tabitha Jean Naylor is the Founder of Successful Startup 101, a digital magazine that provides answers to today's most pertinent questions facing startup founders, and the Owner of TabithaNaylor.com. Her intimate knowledge of how sales and marketing go hand-in-hand has resulted in a variety of successful campaigns for start-ups through publicly traded companies, including Adobe and Microsoft. Ms. Naylor holds a dual bachelor degree in Political Science and International Business from West Virginia University, where she graduated magna cum laude.