Studies show that the majority of call centers set their agent compensation purely to meet that offered by the “call center down the street.” Experts, however, say that compensation should be viewed as a corollary to company strategies and mission. Therefore, managers should ask “does our compensation strategy promote the goals and mission of the company in a concrete fashion?”
Consider how your compensation program lines up against these Best Practices considerations:
- Avoid gender bias – overall industry studies revealed that a 10% gap exists in the compensation between males and females performing the same work within an industry.
- Create incentives that drive customer satisfaction performance – studies showed that most incentive programs are based upon tenure as opposed to how well the agent satisfies the needs of the customer and/or supports the mission of the company. If the goals and mission of the company is to attract and retain customers, customer service should therefore be one of the highest components of the incentives program.
- Turnover – as new hire costs often exceed $6,500 per agent (not including the value of legacy knowledge lost), develop compensation strategies targeted to reduce agent churn.
- 401K, tuition reimbursement, and stock options are proven components of successful agent compensation plans, leading to retention.
A stumbling block for many managers is to know when to award differential compensation. There are two common situations they confront: 1) bilingual agents, and 2) agents who work undesireable shifts, such as nights and weekends. Our experts suggest that differential compensation must become justified and not just given. For example, bilingual agents need not be given differential compensation when the majority population of the center is naturally bilingual (i.e. in Montreal, Canada there is no need to compensate agents for their French and English speaking skills); however, additional compensation for weekends and late night shifts (shift differentials) can be a justifiable incentive for people to work undesirable shifts.
We have only touched on a few compensation considerations. Managers are encouraged to start with their mission statements and devote the time needed to construct a compensation strategy which is right for their goals.
Tip of the Week: Go online and Google your employer to find social media sites where employees are talking. See what they are saying about your company and about its compensation packages. Use this information in constructing your compensation strategy.
This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kamál Webb. It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with John Chatterley, entitled “ Compensation Strategies: For Agents and Supervisors”. To listen to the archived episode click play below:
CallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore. “Caramels” distills key moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.