5 Customer Service Tips for Incentive Programs
In a world filled with an abundance of automation, information, and distraction, your incentive program can stand out by offering exceptional customer service to its participants. On the surface, online FAQ’s, emails, and monthly newsletters seem like they would provide sufficient program support. However, making an individual feel valued is one of the most important factors to maximize engagement, which will result in high-caliber customer service for incentive programs. As George S. Patton stated, “Always do more than is required of you.” Consider the following tips as you evaluate your customer service blueprint.
1. Make The Connection
Establishing a personal connection with your participants is the first step to building a successful customer service foundation within an incentive program. A connection—positive or negative—is made in the first few seconds of an interaction. Whether on the phone or face to face, people are influenced merely by a tone of voice. Having a pleasant, calm tone can assure members that they will be supported. Another factor to consider in building a personal connection is finding a common denominator. Knowing the background and interests of the clientele can provide insight into making a meaningful connection. It could even be as simple as asking how their day is going. The bottom line is that people want to feel connected and valued. Program administrators can make an impact simply by starting with a question.
2. Anticipate Needs
We all know the “Golden Rule” of “Do unto others as you have them do unto you.” However, exceptional customer service would, of course, follow a higher standard. In this (fictitious) interview on customer service between The Ritz-Carlton’s Horst Schulze and Four Seasons Hotel’s Isadore Sharp, they discuss the “Platinum Rule”, which states, “Do unto others as THEY would have you do unto THEM.” The amount of customer service prowess gained from anticipating a client or participant’s needs is immeasurable. Having a firm grasp on what is expected of you is one thing, but knowing what is GOING to be expected of you and getting a step ahead will leave an unforgettable impression.
3. Be Knowledgeable
You know that ancient saying, “Knowledge is power?” Your incentive program will thrive when the facilitators behind it have a meticulous knowledge of how the program works. It sounds basic, but we’ve all encountered those customer service conversations that leave you wondering if a solution is even on the horizon. To support programs with excellence, personnel should be knowledgeable about the program structure, design, and purpose. Often, there is more focus and training on the “what” instead of the “why.” They should understand the deeper meaning of why the program is in place to sufficiently support participants. Thorough knowledge of the program will allow coordinators to solve problems quickly and help them better communicate with a participant.
4. Display Intentionality
A successful incentive program possesses intentionality in every aspect. You’ve spent time and resources pouring over data, identifying an objective, formulating a strategy, and creating an enticing design; don’t let it stop there! Now that your program is up and running with full force, it may be easy to think the hard work is over and just let the chips fall where they may. However, a program stands out when there is purposeful excellence AFTER all the pieces are in place. Cue customer service. Program facilitators should make it their goal to be active listeners. When a concern is stated, the response should show acknowledgment and empathy, along with efficient problem-solving. While a quick solution is still the main goal, program administrators can stand out (and often diffuse an escalating dilemma) when they are intentional in their understanding, sympathy, and tone. Customer service teams should also speak intentionally with a clear articulation. Not only are they representing your program, but they are representing your company—professionalism should be deliberate when engaging with participants.
5. Take Action
Your team is connecting with participants, they have complete knowledge of the program, and their engagement is intentional. Because of these factors, participants can trust that the facilitators will not only act but act FAST! The successful support staff will know how to solve a problem and be able to communicate the solution clearly to participants. If an issue arises that is more complex, and there is uncertainty in how to solve the problem, they will take the steps necessary to find someone who has the answer. Already having a person in mind—whether it be a supervisor or alternative decision-maker—can be helpful for the more unexpected situations. Another measure of action for program support personnel is to think proactively. Discerning a participant’s temperament or mood can give insight as to where to steer the conversation or solution. Your participants will stay active alongside program coordinators who are eager to act.
So why devote so much time and effort to ensure that your program has exceptional support? Investing time in your program will, in turn, be an investment in your company. Participants will be committed, and more of your employees will want to take part in the action. What better way to expand brand awareness and company success than having employee validation?
There are many ways to improve customer service, and it starts by making small changes that lead to a big difference. At Brightspot, we are committed to providing exceptional customer service for you and your incentive programs. Not sure where to start? Download our Complete How-To-Guide To a Perfect Incentive Program to find out how our process helps make your job easier and your program better! And of course, feel free to drop us a line to ask questions or see how we can make your incentive program the bright spot of your company.