How rewards and recognition can foster customer excellence: CX Mini Masterclass – E68

By January 23, 2020 No Comments
This CX Mini Masterclass explores employee reward and recognition programs as an important driver of team culture. Show host and customer experience expert, Julia Ahlfeldt, explains the different types of recognition programs and how these can help rally teams around customer excellence. If you’ve been looking for some ideas about how to leverage rewards and recognition to encourage customer-centric attitudes and behavior in your organization, then this episode is for you.

An important piece of the CX culture puzzle

Episode 66 explored the foundations of HR strategy and how this in turn influences customer-centric culture. Reward and recognition programs are one of these foundations. Over time, how behaviors are recognized and celebrated will influence culture. Celebrated actions become the model behavior and what people aspire to. And over time, these behaviors and norms take hold and turn into what people expect from each other. Obviously, the foundations of culture are multifaceted, and based on more than just reward and recognition programs, but these are an important component (be sure to check out episode 66 for more about the key components of HR strategy).

Different types of recognition programs

Reward and recognition programs come in all shapes and sizes. These programs are defined by 2 key features: public vs. private recognition and peer-to-peer vs. senior recognition.

Employee recognition can help drive customer excellence

Each organization is unique, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for recognition programs. It’s probably a good idea to have a variety of different types of recognition structures, but it’s not necessary to have a program for each of these categories. As always, it’s important to think about the end user. When collaborating with HR teams to plan recognition structures, think about how teams interact. What interests the group of employees in question? A program that resonates with front time team members might differ from what’s needed to impact the behavior of senior managers.

The role of rewards in fostering customer excellence

Rewards can be linked to any of these recognition programs. For example, a senior leader could give a gift card or some company swag to an employee they’re recognizing for customer excellence. Company award programs often include a prize for the winners. Team leaders could also have a discretionary budget to give customized rewards to their team.

It’s also popular to structure peer-to-peer “badge”-type programs with rewards attached. My advice on this is to take the approach of surprise and delight rather than gamification. Give people the latitude to recognize the desired attitudes and behaviors with appropriate rewards, but be wary of anything that encourages team members to chase the prize rather than live the mantra.

If you’re wondering where incentives like bonuses fit into things, don’t worry, this hasn’t been overlooked. Incentives linked to CX KPIs are important, but that’s a big topic, possibly for a future CX Mini Masterclass. *Watch this space*

Want to keep learning about CX?

If you’d like to checkout more of these CX Mini Masterclasses or listen to my longer format CX expert interviews, check out the full listing of episodes for this CX podcast.

Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business achieve its CX goals, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services (including CX culture change) or get in touch via email

Julia Ahlfeldt

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