Officials at New Pig strongly believe proper training is the key to ensuring a compensation plan remains effective. That's why the cataloger employs two full-time trainers, one each for customer service and product training. Ross says the training program gives employees the tools they need to be successful. "It helps employees serve customers well. And what's more motivating than doing a good job?" he asks.
Track It, Measure It
So you've determined what you want to reward and how you'll train employees to succeed. Now how do you measure and track their performance?
At Orvis, Wolfe uses a score card system to rate her 150 CSRs. Each month, agents get a report on how well they did the previous month and the previous 11 months. The report actually grades them (e.g., A, B, C) on four components: attendance; quality of work as measured by Orvis' monitoring system; productivity (what percentage of their time they spent on the phone or in after-call service); and sales contribution, which includes upselling. Each component is graded separately, and the agent gets an average score. Their annual reviews are based on those scores.
"It's totally within each agent's ability to improve their score and hence their pay," says Wolfe. "Agents know throughout the year how they're doing. And the control to improve their pay is in their own hands."
She says the greatest challenge to setting up the program was finding a software program to use. "I started by using a database, but it blew up after just three months. Now we're using a vendor, Logisys in North Carolina, to help with the Web-based reporting. We're a pilot program for them, and it's going very well."
For its upsell program, New Pig uses a database system that prompts agents, so they know what product to offer and when.