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How to plan rewards for your customer-facing teams

Want to keep your team motivated? Giving credit where it is due is the bare minimum. There is more you can do!
February 2, 2023
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Aswinchandar M

Onboarding, implementation, and customer success job roles are responsible for maintaining, nurturing, and growing customer relationships. Your onboarding, implementation, and customer success teams become the customer’s go-to person as soon as your customer enters the post-sales customer journey. They have to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the purchase and manage the expectations set during the sale of your service or product. This can include providing the training and support to help customers fully utilize the product or service they have purchased, as well as troubleshooting and resolving any issues that may arise.

During these economic testing cycles, your onboarding, implementation, and customer success teams face a slew of new challenges. It is essential to recognize that they must continue to drive customer retention and keep up with market trends amidst these economic factors. All this means that teams and the people who lead them need to bring out the best in each other. Leaders need to recognize that the volatility in the job market and the economy at large have left us susceptible to the ripple effects of uncertainty. This calls for managers and other leaders to do their best in helping their teams perform better!

In a recent thread, Preflighters discussed how rewards and the right combinations of recognition are the best things a leader can do to aid performance. Here are some ideas on what makes onboarding, implementation, customer success, and any other customer-facing teams feel motivated and fulfilled.

Katie Clark, Onboarding Manager @ PartnerStack

We do "team quarterly awards" - our director selects some winners, and some are selected based on votes submitted by the team! Each winner gets a gift card, and they're announced during our quarterly wrap-up meetings.

We also have a company-wide slack channel where people can issue "kudos" publicly and celebrate each other!

Our CCO also started a tradition of "sharing the love" during our CS team meetings, where we have the opportunity to share victories and appreciation for other members of the CS team with the company.

Srikrishnan Ganesan, CEO @ Rocketlane

We have an #appreciation channel on slack. We have ad-hoc rewarded team members for getting some tricky/demanding customers to upgrade and compensate them for case studies and g2 reviews as it shows they’ve gotten them to a happy place.

Gary Hoffman, Customer Success Lead & GTM - Delino (LegalTech) @ Munich Re

  1. Have them organize brown bag lunch sessions of interest to them and folks they know in the company.
  2. Have them propose projects they would lead for outcomes they believe in.

Anya Palisch, Head of Implementation @ Pave

Designing a program with public, company-led recognition plus personal and private recognition is most effective.

Public or company-led could be shoutouts, awards, bonuses, or equity refreshers. I've worked at many companies that do the following:

  • Top talent awards - a 2-3% compensation increase on top of their annual increase and/or an equity refresher
  • CEO awards, where these employees receive public recognition from the most senior leaders at the company and are treated to a dinner with the executive team, could be a unique gift provided by leadership inside the org
  • Custom awards for a few folks this year that I handed out. These were silly and fun - one person even got a chicken sculpture from me!
  • Always treat them to dinner with a friend or significant other on your dime.

One-time prizes/spiffs are insanely effective as well. My team used to track the following:

  • Most implementations closed in a month
  • The highest CSAT in a month
  • Most help center articles written
  • Most feature requests submitted

The options are endless, and the prizes don't have to be huge. We'd sometimes give away $50 gift cards, depending on the milestone.

Rewarding your employees is an incredible way to keep them motivated, but it's not always clear what kind of reward works best. When you take the time to plan out a reward system that fits with your company's mission, you can use rewards to boost morale, motivation, and productivity. Give credit where it is due, first and foremost!

What initiatives have you started at your company to ensure that your onboarding, implementation, and customer success teams are happy and well-recognized for their work? If you are a manager, how do you ensure that your customer-facing teams are constantly motivated to meet their targets?

If you have ideas, suggestions, and questions you want to share with the larger customer onboarding, implementation, and CS community, we’d love to have you join Preflight Community and share it with our members!

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Usha Kalva
Community & Partnerships @ Rocketlane

Usha is a Community Manager at Preflight. She's been an EIR, runs a successful restaurant, and is inclined toward the social sciences. In a parallel universe, she'd have been a wildlife photographer.

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