Incenting Employees: Three Best Practices from our Clients

Our clients often ask us how other companies incent their employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Practices range widely and tend to group into three major categories. Let’s take a look at those categories and why they are used:

  1. Appreciation through badges, certificates, pins, etc. That “badge of honor” really matters to the front line. A certificate acknowledging superior performance, signed by an executive, makes an indelible mark on employees. They are proud to be recognized and execs can reinforce the importance of serving customers. I’ve personally seen a pride wall where a petro-convenience retailer had every 100% shop certificate up on a wall. I’ve seen employees wearing their “employee of the quarter” pins or displaying their “WOW” certificates for exceptional service. Indeed, virtually every research firm confirms the importance of employee recognition in driving retention and engagement.
     
  2. In the moment recognition for delivering exceptional service or complying with brand standards. In one program we deliver, employees receive a “Golden Ticket” for upselling beverage products at restaurants. That golden ticket is a gift card delivered immediately and directly to the employee. Not only is that reward valuable to the employee, it’s valuable for both the restaurant brand and the beverage vendor. Both see an uptick in sales.
     
  3. Bonus compensation tied to results. We have a number of clients that tie compensation to CX results—but it takes many different forms. Some clients emphasize the performance of the front lines. In one case, consistent delivery on 100% shop scores results in a bonus added to each monthly pay check for front line employees. For others, delivery on core CX metrics is tied to management MBO’s that go all the way up to the CEO. As with any compensation, you’ll want to check that you have a solid metric, that every location knows how to move the needle on that metric, and that you are recognizing improvement towards goals as well as overall results.

Recognition and incentives are critical to your team. We’d be happy to discuss alternative incentive programs that help your teams understand their importance to creating exceptional customer experiences and positioning your brand for financial success. 

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As Chief Strategy Officer, Cheryl aligns Market Force's strategic direction with our clients' strategic objectives. She oversees the North American client base, Analytics and Insights, Winnipeg Operations and Marketing. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology and broad business experience in both private and public companies.​

Kwik Trip, Quik Trip, and Wawa Offer Great Customer Experiences

In 2016, IBIS World predicts the US convenience store and gas station market will generate over $324 billion in sales, with slow growth of 4.1% over the next 5 years. The softened economy, cars that use fuel more efficiently, and steep drops in crude oil prices all conspire to slow down growth in this industry. This makes it all the more important that petro convenience retailers couple competitive fuel prices with superior c-store merchandise and great customer experiences.  

So how do brands fare in this competitive milieu? In our annual US customer experience research, over 10,000 consumers rated their last fueling experience. One clear finding emerged: Regional players with corporately owned stores beat the majors hands down. These regional players maintained a better image, had better service, and offered fresh food. In the composite loyalty index, shown below, you can see the top players who scored well on both customer satisfaction and likelihood of recommending the brand. Kwik Trip, Quik Trip and Wawa were clear standouts.

Why did these brands fare so well? They:

  • Have excellent ratings for the overall appearance of their sites. They attend carefully to the brand image focusing on a consistent presentation.
  • Attend to some of the details at the fueling area, like making sure squeegees and towels are in place.
  • Have reasonably competitive prices—but not the best prices.
  • Offer fresh, hot food that receives high marks from consumers for quality.
  • Receive high marks for merchandising strategies in their convenience stores with excellent cashier service.

We’ll be releasing more about our research in this space, with results for the UK posted next week. In the meantime, check out our case study profiling how one of the big nationals manages their brand image, or SCHEDULE A BRIEFING to arrange a presentation with the full research results. 

As Chief Strategy Officer, Cheryl aligns Market Force's strategic direction with our clients' strategic objectives. She oversees the North American client base, Analytics and Insights, Winnipeg Operations and Marketing. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology and broad business experience in both private and public companies.

Schedule a Briefing

To discuss your needs for improving performance for your multi-location brand, give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss best practices for measuring the customer experience and compliance to brand standards, using analytics to understand what matters most and the ROI for change, and technology solutions that integrate large quantities of data on one single platform. We look forward to a great discussion!

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