9 Low-Cost Ways to Keep the Spirit of Customer Service Week Alive in Your Contact Center

    Customer Service Week 2016, the annual celebration that recognizes the importance of customer service and the people who deliver it, is a not-so-distant memory now. But if all went as planned, chances are that you and your employees might still be basking in all the good vibes generated by the activities that took place in your contact center last week. 

    Some call this the ‘CSW afterglow’; it can last anywhere from a few days to 6 weeks max. And then the glow fades as everyone falls back into stale routines and attitudes until Customer Service Week rolls around again next year. 

    Sadly, many organizations miss out on the opportunity to build on the momentum generated during Customer Service Week. It typically comes down to a lack of time and money. Understandably, they simply can’t sustain what they spent during this one week in October throughout the year. Not to mention that people need to be in their seats working versus participating in contests and events. 

    But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can keep riding the CSW wave throughout the year without breaking the bank or losing productivity. The key is to minimize offline activity while still rewarding employees and keeping your environment fun and enjoyable. 

    With these thoughts in mind, below are 9 low-cost ways to keep the spirit of Customer Service Week alive year round: 

    1. Random Drawings (multiple recognitions, one gift) – You might not be able to provide a monetary reward for every employee who achieves perfect attendance or a specific performance goal, but their achievements can qualify them to be part of a random drawing for a particular gift. Also, remember to provide public recognition of all those who qualify via an email or board listing their names. 

    2. Casual Dress Days – If your office tends to be more formal, consider rewarding high-performing employees with a day to kick back in some casual clothes. In addition to having a more comfortable day at their desks, the casual clothing also serves to alert co-workers of the recognition. 

    3. Food - Since everyone gets a lunch break anyway, take it a step further and bring in pizzas for the team to reward a special effort. It’s not a large outlay of cash, but it does afford yet another way to encourage team building. In fact, anything you can do to get your team talking and interacting on non-work related topics will allow them to connect more on a personal level. 

    4. Supervisor a la Carte – Have your supervisors dress up as pushcart vendors and wheel around free goodies (e.g., ice cream, candy bars, baked goods) while the frontline remains online. Agents can choose what they want and eat the treats when they’re offline. Raise the bar for supervisors and consider giving prizes for best costumes and pushcart design. 

    5. Time to Stretch – It’s not easy sitting at your desk for hours at a time, looking at a computer screen. Institute daily stretch periods where everyone can get up and give those muscles a break. Make it fun, but also make it worthwhile by researching the best ways to alleviate tension in the neck, shoulders and back. Allow employees to volunteer to lead the exercises. 

    6. Chair Massage – If the daily stretches aren’t enough, you might want to consider this idea. At one contact center, they actually brought in massage therapists for anyone who wanted a neck and shoulder massage while at their desks. There was no interruption in work, but everyone felt a lot more relaxed! 

    7. Supervisor for a Day – Reward those agents who have achieved specific performance measures with an opportunity to shadow a supervisor for a day. Have them join the management team for meetings and encourage their input on various issues. This not only gives agents greater empathy for management issues, but also can uncover frontline hot buttons and areas for improvement. 

    8. Dress-Up or Theme Days – Working in a contact center can be stressful. Dress-up or theme days are a low-cost way to keep spirits to keep agents smiling. Come up with creative themes, establish teams and encourage friendly competition. You can use some of the ideas above to reward the winning team, or provide small rewards such as gift cards to area restaurants or stores. 

    9. Voluntary Time Off (VTO) – Allow your agents to earn VTO “chips” based on parameters that underscore behaviors you want to reinforce (e.g., strong attendance, specific performance metrics, quality standards). The chips can be used at the agent’s discretion and “cashed in” on VTO eligible days. VTO chips not only reward positive behavior; they also provide employees with a bit of control over their work schedules on those days when they may need to come in late or leave early. 

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