Should we motivate contact centre agents with food?


Is food a good motivator in the contact centre? Well, our readers clearly think so. Here are a few ideas.

Food can be a great way to motivate your agents…

Hold a surprise free lunch and order in pizza

When it’s extremely busy we do ‘surprise’ free lunches (although we announce it a day in advance to avoid complaints about unused home-made lunches). This usually involves take-away pizza, kebabs or burgers.

We find that this really helps push through the workload and offers instant appreciation.

With thanks to Mieke

Keep agents motivated with surplus amounts of fruit

Introduce ‘Fruity Fridays’ and keep agents motivated with surplus amounts of fruit on a Friday.

With thanks to Emma

Throw meat pasties at people who yawn!

Before I come into a session the trainees are warned not to yawn when Nev’s speaking or he’ll lob something at your head.

But they still do it. So when all of a sudden a meat pasty hits them in the gob they’ve only got themselves to blame.

With thanks to Nev Wilshire (an extract from Happy People Sell)

Give weekly performance updates accompanied by chocolate

chocolate-bowl


On Fridays, I have an end of the week “huddle” for 10 minutes where I give weekly performance updates – accompanied by chocolate.

Productivity always seems to pick up with chocolate!

With thanks to Josephine

Perk everyone up with a hot sausage roll

When you know the day is going to be hard, get everyone a hot sausage roll to perk them up a bit.

With thanks to Andrew

Have a ‘food day’ and get everyone to bring something

We have a food day every so often, where colleagues cook food, and bring in savouries and sweet things like donuts, cakes and biscuits.

The whole office joins in and we have a great day.

With thanks to David

Treat agents to donuts and pastries for breakfast

Once a week, I treat my agents to donuts and pastries for breakfast, or candy and cupcakes in the afternoon.

With thanks to Josephine

Buy cream cakes for everyone to celebrate the boss’s birthday

birthday-cupcakes


The owner of a company I worked for used to buy cream cakes for everyone on her birthday.

Unsurprisingly, distributing 500+ cream cakes and making sure there was a balanced selection for every shift was a logistical nightmare!

With thanks to Andrew

Give out free sweets to keep everyone buzzing on the phones

I’ve been giving out free sweets ever since I’ve had the call centre – you can’t beat a sugar rush to increase productivity.

Keep the sweets flowing, keep the beat going. Fill the staff with E numbers and they’re buzzing away on those phones.

With thanks to Nev Wilshire (an extract from Happy People Sell)

Have free-flowing coffee and hot chocolate

We have free-flowing coffee and hot chocolate here in the office.

Pizza is also present in almost every team milestone.

With thanks to David

Get your agents baking with “Cake Friday”

We used to have “Cake Friday” where a different member of the team would bring in the results of their baking labours each week.

Some weeks were better than others for obvious reasons. But it made for great team spirit, as well as full tummies.

With thanks to Keith

Fresh fruit deliveries and “Hot Dog Fridays” go down well

fruit-box


We have weekly fresh fruit deliveries, as well as “Hot Dog Fridays” and Party Food Buffet days, which always go down well!

With thanks to Iain

Celebrate birthdays with cake and ice cream

We have a birthday bash every month, and celebrate with cake and ice cream.

With thanks to David

The latest birthday bash at a Philippine Call Centre

On busy days get the managers to do “trolley dolly” duties

On busy days, the managers will do “trolley dolly” duties – serving hot and cold drinks (with biscuits) to our team members to keep everyone refreshed.

With thanks to Penny

Change Monday to Apple day

We have changed Monday to Apple day. Every Monday morning, all staff are provided with a green apple and a big smile.

The message is: we know it’s the first day of the week and we appreciate what you are doing. We also change to other fruits from time to time.

With thanks to Ali

Surprise your agents with ice creams on a hot day

ice-cream-flavours


The last time we had some lovely weather I went out and bought 50 ice creams!

Not only did I have the instant hit through the surprise and appreciation, it also offered a couple of days’ banter at the expense of the agent who had 3 ice creams (never mind 2!).

With thanks to Andrew

“Sugar Fridays” keep everyone buzzing at the end of the week

The call centre I used to work at had “Sugar Fridays” – all the brownie bites, gummy sweets and red bull you could stomach!

Unsurprisingly, we buzzed our way through our Friday targets!

With thanks to Megan

Personally bake cakes to say thank you to top performers

I like to add a personal touch of thanks and bake cakes or make a fresh cheesecake.

It always puts a smile on people’s faces and serves an excellent purpose as a reward or a motivator!

With thanks to Jon

But it isn’t always the best way…

child-on-seesaw

Our company sees a 30% increase in body mass in the first 12 months

We stopped using food to motivate. Well, most foods. Our company sees a 30% increase in body mass in the first 12 months of working in our call centre environments.

We have also had two medical losses in the last two years due to Deep Vein Thrombosis. So we try to encourage everyone to leave their desks on break and walk around.

When we do offer food, it’s rare. We used to always have pizza parties and giant buckets of chicken. But now, it’s usually just coffee and bagels. The team seems happy with it. After all, they all know about their co-workers.

energy-drink

With thanks to Travis

Agents have collapsed from drinking too many energy drinks

Energy drinks were banned in a contact centre I once worked in.

This was because one of the agents had collapsed and required urgent medical attention after drinking 5 energy drinks in one shift!

With thanks to another one of Call Centre Helper’s readers

Agents were putting customers on hold to go and get a donut

character-donut

In my last contact centre we introduced “Donut Fridays” to help our agents meet their targets on the last day of the week.

It all seemed to be going well until we realised that our agents were putting customers on hold when the donut trolley came round!

With thanks to another one of Call Centre Helper’s readers

Read How to Motivate Staff in 25 Ways

What has been your experience of using food to motivate agents?

Published On: 30th Apr 2014 - Last modified: 8th May 2018
Read more about - Call Centre Management, ,


3 Comments
  1. I often bring in home-made deli-style sausage rolls for my Team; they love them and I’m famous in the building for them now. I love giving my staff treats for all their effort’s 🙂

    Karen Bridges 1 May at 11:42 am
  2. Quit the food. Read Dan Pink.

    Martin Hill-Wilson 1 May at 12:19 pm
  3. What does Dan Pink say?

    jonty pearce 1 May at 3:45 pm
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