In these cash-strapped days companies need to be creative about how they can deliver cost-effective incentive gifts and rewards to their staff in the office.
We have looked at the incentives available and have rated them accordingly. Read on to find the best way to reward staff.
As part of our selection process, here at ‘Call Centre Towers’ we have been chomping through boxes of chocolates and sampling the odd bottle of wine. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it!
1. Box of chocolates
Little and often is one of the keys to motivating employees.
Everyone loves chocolates and they work really well for most call centres (except maybe at the Weight Watchers call centre – where it might be a bit insensitive).
This box of Lily O’Briens chocolates can be individually gift wrapped and personalised with your own bespoke message. It costs just £7.50, including wrapping and delivery from Asda Business Rewards.
For guidance on how to best use these incentives, read our article: How to Make the Most of Your Staff Incentives – With Examples
2. Cinema tickets
If you want to motivate the whole team for achieving target then cinema vouchers can work well.
This has been one of the most popular rewards. They are flexible enough to cater for every taste and still offer a valued treat despite coming in at a relatively low cost.
These could be individually given to team members or could be used for a ‘night at the movies’ where the whole team goes out together.
3. Champagne and chocolates
Everyone likes to receive a bottle of bubbly from time to time.
An ideal incentive gift for an employee-of-the-month prize is champagne and chocolates.
A bottle of champers with a box of chocolates in a nice presentation case costs £40 from House of Fraser.
4. Charity vouchers
“I would recommend offering charity vouchers as an excellent incentive for call centre staff. They let the recipient of the gift select a charity of their own choice, involving them in the donation. In my experience I have found that employees see this as a really rewarding incentive,” said Kevin Stillwell, European Customer Service Director at Webloyalty International.
Additionally, the benefit for call centre managers is that giving a charity prize engenders a sense of shared success.
This kind of incentive can be adapted for small or large budgets. Vouchers can be given for as little as £10, going up to £500.
5. Luxury Hamper
A gift that everyone would want to win, especially at this time of year, is the Luxury Christmas Hamper. Best suited to a special competition such as the employee of the month, or if a telesales person meets their annual target.
It weighs in at a hefty £175 and includes four bottles of wine and a stollen cake from House of Fraser.
6. Day off with pay
A simple but effective incentive is the day off with pay. Bob Cowen from Snowfly sent in this idea, that can also be incorporated into a Monopoly game by picking a Chance card. This adds an element of ‘lucky dip’ into the incentive programme.
7. Gift card
Gift cards represent the most common of all call centre incentives. In a recent survey Snowfly found that over 80% of call centres were using gift cards as incentives.
Asda Business Rewards have a Gift Card Management System that allows you to activate, load and top-up all the cards in your scheme via the internet.
Cards are available in a variety of designs, can be credited with any amount from £1 to £1,000.
8. Thank you cards
Reward cards can be themed to celebrate a range of different occasions, including birthdays, long-service anniversaries or the birth of a new baby to a member of staff. They can also be used to acknowledge achievements, good practice and examples of employees going beyond the call of duty in the workplace.
9. Jimmy’s Farm meat hamper
If you have tried all the usual suspects and are looking for something different then a Jimmy’s Farm meat hamper could work.
While this may promote traditional and sustainable farming methods, it would not be suitable for vegetarians.
10. Pen with company logo
We scoured around for the cheapest incentive that we could find. Costing under £2 per unit, the pen features a solid metal front part and large metal clip, and can be laser engraved on the barrel or the clip with the name of each individual recipient. It has received the Good Design award, the Designpreis and the Red Dot award.
The manufacturers claim that during the economic downturn it has “continued to be one of the most popular incentive awards”. They recommend glossing over the cost of the pen and recommend that it be presented in a ‘stylish way that gives a real wow factor’.
If you work in a call centre and have received some incentive rewards, please tell us what you most valued.
I’m in complete agreement with John. Is this just an advertising feature for the products on sale?
Sorry but these are very unimaginative rewards. Exciting rewards don’t need to cost much but there is so much more to offer than chocolates!
Thought these were low cost?????????
We put ideas out to our team to vote on and top vote went to ……. Dress Down Friday for the month following a month of reaching target
Second was £20 of ‘team treats’ the £20 can be banked til enough is saved for a fun evening out
Charity vouchers are a great idea for this year especially when it has been found that ‘60% of the people in Britain want an ethical gift but 66% of people forget to ask’.
A recognition cupboard is my favourite. I full it with gifts around the £10 mark (chocs, wine, dvds, beer) and teh employee chooses what they want.
It’s all very well to say these incentives are boring and unimaginative, without suggesting alternatives, what do you give to your staff? We often use gifts such as these as they can be pre purchased and awarded immediately as an advisor creates a fantastic experience for a customer or reaches an incentive target, which is instant recognition and received very well by staff.
I agree with Liz, if you do not like the ideas – provide a solution.
I would like to know what people do in small call centres within small non government corporations for incentives where cash is tighter?
The manager offering to take take calls for an hour whilst you relax is always quite popular. Has the double benefit of seeing the manager going back to the floor and the agent getting an hour off the phone. This is also a great way to mentor your staff and teach best practice.
I manage a larger centre (inbound – non sales), but something I use is to provide 30mins / 60mins paid time off. Myself and the Team Leaders will go over to where the rep is working, take them off the phone and we’ll tell them why we’ve recognised their efforts. The benefit is that they receive a genuine acknowledgement of their efforts, and as a leadership group we’re also seen to be acknowledging the efforts of the team.
In relation to the initial comments, in my experience the reward matters little, but the acknowledgement is everything.
I think reward for a rep is the recognition which they desrve…..offering them gifts is not a motivation for them. if we clap for the good performer and appriase him infront of his or her peers..i think that will solve our purpose of motivating employees for good performance.
Although these ideas but not be deemed as cutting edge I do feel they are a timely reminder that we should indeed reward the tele agents for a job well done so I found the article very useful.
And my feedback, I also try and match the reward aganist the individual. Chocolates are great but things like soccer tickets to a match may suit a football fan better and reap greater rewards.
So match the gift to the individual.
The size of the gift doesn’t really matter it’s taking the time out to personalise it for the advisor and to ensure you praise them personally (i.e. not via email or intranet article). A manager taking time out to ask them about their achievement and thanking them personally is often worth more than all the chocs you can buy!
I do like some of these ideas though 🙂
Marie Rowney, Experian Limited
Thanks for all of the comments on this, and for those who have added their suggestions.
To research this article we asked all of the suppliers of call centre incentives to nominate what they thought would work for cash-stapped companies.
These were the best of the suggestions that we received.
Although some of the companies did send in samples of the incentives we have received no financial payment from any of the companies.
If we get enough good incentive ideas (ideally if we can get some photos as well) we will happily run another article in the new year.
Incentives and rewards are great – trouble is in the majority of cases they can be so subjective, and can “switch off” as many staff as they “switch on”
The very best incentives are based on a real ongoing and regular objective and scientific evaluation of performance – with litle or no subjective judgement of managers.
We have seen cash, points for prizes, and time off as being the most effective. Especially when staff can see their rewards building up through their shift.
Now they REALLY work.
How about gifting an Executive Health Check up plan either for self or parents or family.
This way we show that WE CARE & Remember HEALTH IS WEALTH! Alternatively, 2 nights & 3 days paid holiday to a decent destination (budget can be worked out) This way, we break their monotony, let them have a break, de-stress, opportunity to spend time with family or friends.
Motivation is a very individual thing and no one solution is going to work for every employee. The best programmes embrace this diversity, providing everyone with achievable goals. Points for prizes is simple and quantifiable to everyone involved, it is also important to give the option to redeem or to save as this increases productivity in line with individual perceptions of reward. Schemes like incentivise-me are both cost-effective and easy to administer and treating your employees as individuals will help you get the best from everyone.
I manage a small call centre and we have 2 rewards that work well:
1) time off the phones (I take calls from their station to keep up the KPI’s). A great approach to reinforcing call quality as a side benefit and assist / spend time assisting the other agents.
2) team recognition posted on our team intranet site 🙂
I see that the best reward for the contact center agents is giving them bonus, if the agent came top five for three continues months he will have 500 $ as bonus then he will buy chocolate or whatever he likes.
I run a privately owned call center in the States with approximately 90 reps. We have a small incentive budget for each department. The following incentives are the most effective: Quick smoke breaks,food,$1,$2 cash, lottery tickets, casual dress,and off work 5 or 10 minutes early. They work and they are inexpensive.
i beleive the incentive schemes are good short term, but staff only require management to understand and appreciate there work, so taking a few mins to discuss other than work related activities provides a great motivational factor as it breaks the them and us factor. talking to staff shows them we are no different to them and builds a long term rapport and loyalty
Knowing the strength and weakness of each member in your team helps in identifying what it takes to motivate them individually and also as a group. Another good way I can think of is encouraging team efforts rather than individual efforts only. With sustainable and excellent team results, one can inculcate a good habit of winning which is a great motivator in itself. Also, occasional team outing is a good way to ensure team bonding.
Does anyone have any ideas for a Call Centre incentive “game” themed around football and the world cup? I can think of many rewards for this theme…
Any ideas welcome
I don’t know the game of soccer well so I would go for something simple like taking bets on the results of each match. You may only place a bet if you reach the agreed target, you need so many won bets to access the final and the one / team who wins the final can get the final prize. While the individuals/teams progress towards quarter finals, semifinals and final you could have a parallel “consolation prizes” competition fo the ones that are behind
GREAT IDEAS BUT TO TELL THE TRUTH, WE HAVE TRIED MOST OF THEM AND THEY TEND TO FADE WITH TIME, WE TRIED DAY OFFS, PRESENTS, BASKET OF GODDIES, LUNCH WITH CEO AND DIRECTORS ETC.. I AM NOW LOST OF IDEAS.WE NOW THINKING OF SPONSORING EMPLOYEES TO THE WORLD CUP WHICH WILL BE A ONCE OFF PLAN…
RECOGNISTION OR TAP ON THE SHOULDER BY MAMAGERS IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY, YES ITS DOING WELL SINCE WE STARTED TWO MONTHS BACK BUT I JUST HOPE IT DOES NOT DIE LIKE ALL THE OTHERS..
We made use of an effective football league game, here it is:
The football league will consist of one team for each coach and represented by a colour of each teams choice. Each team will be represented by a captain and a goalkeeper with the rest of the agents making up the team. The coach will act as the team referee. The purpose of the team approach is to create a competitive environment that will provide a platform for the daily and weekly challenges of achieving their goals. Each team will be represented by a colour to create camaraderie.
The team captain along with the coach will be responsible for the team motivation helping the coach to understand individual challenges that team members may be faced with. The goalkeeper will be responsible for keeping track of the shots at goal (leads) and goals (sales) achieved by each team. The targets set out are per person and need to be multiplied by the number of team members.
The coaches will act as referees providing guidance, guidelines and structure to the weekly games. The scores should be kept on a table and visible to the entire floor. The floor manager should be responsible to reward the weekly winning team. The winning team could be rewarded with pizza’s for example. At the end of the initiative the overall winner should also be rewarded.
I am currently working on a book of call centre reward and recognition programs and ideas and would love to get your input on a brief survey. If you are interested, please add a comment in the box below.
If you complete the survey I will send you a copy when it’s completed.
I’m looking for input from 2 groups – front line call centre agents, and team leads/supervisors/managers.
Thanks in advance
i would be happy to complete the survey
I will be happy to complete the survey
If you still need someone to complete the survey I will be happy to fill it for you.
Hope I am not to late to complete the survey. Please include me.
you cant coach and run out of ideas if coaching is really your job.i just don undrstand how tough motivation could be.,
Working under Mr Lenong,is one road to nowhere if at all you have dreams.wil introduce more colleagues just 2 give all a hint on how some leader confuse captainin an owning the ship.til then know that if you ran outa ideas your time is up!
A hamper of meat isn’t just unsuitable for a vegetarian. It’s also unsuitable for the 99% of the population who wouldn’t know what the hell to do with a hamper of meat.
I have just been promoted to Call Centre Manager and have a team of 18 with inbound calls only . I am struggling to find incentives as whilst we all do same data entry and answering calls , some team members may be asked to get off the phones to do a certain catch up with data entry or we may be given a job from our marketing dept that takes a few more away from normal duties .. but at the end o the day we are mainly doing the same work ..how can i choose who gets what incentive like that and does it backfire if the same reps receive the incentives all the time ?
Loving pass the parcel, particularly at this time of year.
These prizes (especially the movie tickets) sound good on paper, but on a larger scale they would be ineffective and would not impact a majority of the agents.
The #1 thing I’ve found that works is swag i.e. cheap but meaningful items that people will find endearing. Like posters and other memorabilia.
If you run a third part – based call center, finding sponsors for this memorabilia may be difficult if not impossible, so you can improvise, make it someone’s job (not a side job, their MAIN job) to recognize and reward individuals with whatever they can get their hands, even if it’s hand made.
Praise and reward, but in such a way that it’s cheap enough to be attainable by anyone yet endearing enough to wanted by everybody (save the candy for kids)