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Employee Recognition for Customer Service: 9 Ways You Can Do It

By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

Employee Recognition for Customer Service

Employee recognition is the backbone of any good organization. In the current landscape, 85% of employees feel disengaged, a major reason why this happens is because they feel underappreciated. There are certain roles in an organization whose success rates are directly dependent on how well you structure your employee recognition processes. One of those is employee recognition for customer service. Customer service is one of the key departments of any service or product-based organization since they are the face or the voice of the company. Making it imperative for managers to ensure that the team is engaged and motivated at every step of the way. 

We are here to help you figure out some of the best ways to appreciate and recognize great employee contributions in the field of customer service. For more general creative suggestions, you can also check out our other comprehensive article on employee recognition ideas.

If you need a bit more employee recognition inspiration, check out this list of 24 tried and tested strategies, as well as our posts on no-cost employee appreciation ideas, employee recognition for large companies, and employee appreciation for long service. We've even got a how-to article on creating a well-rounded employee appreciation program, in addition to some examples of how other companies successfully run their employee recognition schemes. Consider hosting an employee appreciation day or an employee appreciation party to demonstrate how much you value your staff. Alternatively, boost morale with some well-chosen motivational quotations. We’ve also got a guide to penning a heartfelt employee appreciation letter, as well as a complementary post on how to write a note of appreciation to thank a boss for their support.

1. Why Is Recognition Important for Good Service?

Employee recognition is important for good service because no matter what method you want to adopt for improving the service you provide your customers, employees are the starting point. Employee recognition can refer to any formal or informal acknowledgment that you give your employees highlighting their contribution to the organization.  

A simple google search for how to improve customer service will show you points like- “use positive language”, “make service an essential company value”, “know your products and services”, and “practice active listening.” All of these have one thing in common i.e. you need your employees to implement them. 

You need your employees to be motivated to be able to proactively engage with customers and ensure a good working relationship with them. 

2. 9 Ways in Which You Can Reward Your Employees in Customer Service

2.1. Cash Bonuses/Gift Cards

A cash bonus on an annual or quarterly basis for employees who have distinguished themselves in the field of customer service is a great way to motivate them to do better. Monetary recognition ranks high on the list of the kind of rewards that employees are looking for. A close second would be gift cards if you do not want to hand out cash bonuses. However, you need to ensure you personalize them and that they belong to an entity that allows the employees to pick what they need. So, something like an Amazon gift card would be much appreciated. 

2.2. Give Company Freebies

Give Company Freebies
Give Company Freebies

Company-branded gear does not just belong to clients and prospects. They are a great way to show appreciation to your employees. As one of the primary faces of a company, if there is one department that should represent your brand, it is customer service.  Let’s all be honest, everyone likes receiving free stuff, more so if it is from your employer.  While it might seem difficult to curate a swag bag, there are plenty of online resources to help you out. 

As a rule of thumb, it is important to ensure that your swag bag consists of items that are practical, thoughtful, and absolutely awesome( the only way people will actually use them). Some things you can include are wireless earphones, chargers, and a backpack.

2.3. Tickets to an Event

These do not need to be too fancy but if your city is hosting a concert or fair, you can gift sponsored tickets to your employees and their families as employee recognition for customer service. No matter what the event is, people are bound to enjoy it as who does not like a change of scenery. Even if it is only for a night.

You can also match the event in question to people’s personal references and ask them if there are any specific events they have in mind and then sponsor the tickets. 

2.4. Free OTT Platform Subscriptions

Everyone has a favorite show or movie that they enjoy watching online, so consider gifting them pre-paid OTT subscriptions. With the wide number of OTT platforms out there, depending on the employee preferences, you can get them a yearly subscription to Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, or  Disney. This shows that you understand them and respect their free time beyond the office space. 

This also allows you to personalize the experience for them as. Not that watching shows is the pinnacle of work-life balance, but it does show that you are aware of their interests beyond the workspace.

2.5 A Weekend Getaway Trip

A change of location can go a long way in providing a much-needed breather for your customer sale team members from the grind and in turn helps and productivity levels of employees. This particular incentive is usually used by sales teams but it can be easily adopted by customer service teams as well.  

You can personalize the travel itinerary as well. Work with an agency to come up with a list of places where you can organize the getaway trip and then let the employees choose. This will help you navigate around any ongoing projects as well.

2.6. Recognize the Star Performers 

Recognize the Star Performers
Recognize the Star Performers

Peer-to-peer recognition is as important as recognition by the organization. You can provide a platform for employee recognition for customer service with the help of a Slack or Microsoft Teams channel, where you give your star performers public recognition for a job well done. Everyone will be able to view these messages and extend their congratulations as well. Another great way you can carry this out if you are working in a remote setup is with the help of a virtual wall of fame.  If you are looking to do something different and make these shout-outs more fun, you can even do it through a video. Use a platform like Loom to make a small video and congratulate your high performers.  

2.7. Gamify the Experience

Gamify refers to implementing a system in which every time you receive recognition you move up a level just like in a game. This can then be converted into a point-based challenge with goals and  levels. Good performance will get employees points which will move them through the levels and get them prizes. This allows your employees to feel accomplished and rewards them as they keep moving through the game. 

Start with setting role-specific benchmarks like total handle time, number of calls or emails handled, time response and more for your team. You can use a digital employee recognition software like Influitive and Social Shaker to get started. 

2.8. Give a Promotion

One of the best ways to provide employee recognition for customer service is by giving them a duly deserved promotion (with a raise of course!). A promotion shows them that you value their hard work and want them to grow along with the organization. However, this is one form of recognition that is highly dependent on the company openings so in situations where a promotion is not possible, you can give a performance-based raise. A raise signifies that an employee has been doing great work and the company values their dedication to the job. 

2.9. Free Lunch 

Everyone likes a free meal. It's a simple way to show employee recognition for customer service. You can sponsor a meal for your entire team to show that you care. Most of the things we have talked about dealt with recognition on a personal level, but it is important to showcase recognition to the whole team. This also allows the employees to relax and interact with each other in a more casual environment. 

A free team lunch also fosters the kind of positive environment that can go a long way in defining your workspace. You can do this by either enlisting the help of caterers or you can order in for the whole team depending on how elaborate it is. If you are ordering, stick to something classic like pizza or sandwiches, which can be customized with options to cater to food preferences people might have. 

3. What Should I Write for Employee Recognition?

There are three important aspects of employee recognition for customer service statement: 

Be Timely: You need to give employees recognition as they finish a task and not later than that time. This shows that you understand the work they are doing is important and are aware of the efforts they are putting in.

Be Specific: Always ensure that you state exactly why the employee is being recognized. Emphasize the impact their work has made and state the results they have achieved, 

Keep it Personal:  Always add a personal touch to the statement. This should always include the name and may factor in other elements like gifs, emojis, and even images. 

4. Examples of Employee Recognition for Customer Service Statements

Examples of Employee Recognition for Customer Service Statements
Examples of Employee Recognition for Customer Service Statements
*Name* worked on a new project and had to face several challenges along the way. He or She still managed to complete the project on time by working overtime and the client was more than happy with the final outcome. I. Thank you for everything that you did. 
*Name* was not only able to deal with a very upset customer but also turned the entire situation into a positive one by providing a great solution. The customer proceeded to send a glowing email about how *Name* helped them through the process. 
*Name* handled a very important customer and really thought from their perspective and addressed all their questions. They went above and beyond their role and provided the customer with all the answers they were looking for. They even walked them through the entire process and helped us gain a lead. You did a great job, *Name*.

5. FAQs

  • How do you reward a customer service team?
    You reward a customer service team through bonuses, gift cards, free trips, and permanent raises.
  • What are some examples of recognition-based awards?
  • Some examples of recognition-based awards are the Employee of the Year/Month and Team Player Award.
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