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Incentive Programs for Home Agents

By Bob Cowen

Driven by today’s tight economy and increasingly strong and vocal consumer preferences to speak with on-shore agents, home agents are now commonplace. There are numerous benefits for both the agents and the organization. However, the few but significant differences between home based and office based agents create challenges. Unless you recognize the differences and update your employee recognition and incentive programs accordingly, you’re wasting time, effort, and money.

The most significant and obvious challenge is that traditional workforce motivational practices are no longer as effective because the agents are not on site. To a high degree, you’ve disarmed yourself. Thus, delivering effective employee incentives that drive KPI’s (key performance indicators) becomes a more formidable challenge.

What has been lost that affects KPI’s and morale?

  • The feeling of camaraderie and belonging to a team

  • Public recognition, such as “wall of fame” and award presentations

  • “One on one” and peer recognition, for example the boss personally delivering a hand written “thank you” note

  • Social relationships and interactions, including coffee breaks, lunches, pizza parties, ride sharing

Here are critical recommendations for updating your employee incentive program that I hope you find helpful. Your incentive program must be simple, easy to explain and use powerful and specific motivators.

  • Clearly identifiable goals visible at any time

  • Show current status compared with goals

  • Allow the easy review of goals, accomplishments & reward history

  • Give small rewards frequently for small precedent activities rather than large, infrequent rewards for large goals

  • Make having fun a key and frequent goal in the reward process. For example, games played at the office can be replicated electronically and should be offered at every opportunity (spin the wheel, draw a ticket from a fish bowl, select a sealed envelope)

  • Provide immediate and visible reward credit for every achievement

  • Offer a wide choice of desirable rewards

Home agents have reached critical mass and constitute the biggest growth segment of contact centers. If your agent incentive and employee recognition program correctly addresses and compensates for the lack of a physical, common presence, you will achieve the maximum benefit of using home agents.

Bob Cowen is with Snowfly, provider of Internet-based employee incentives, recognition and loyalty programs. For more information, contact Snowfly at 877-766-9359 or email Bob at rcowen@snowfly.com.