How to Incentivize Outstanding Service and Going “Above and Beyond” – Wimgo

How to Incentivize Outstanding Service and Going “Above and Beyond”

In today’s highly competitive business landscape, providing exceptional customer service is no longer just a nice bonus – it’s an absolute necessity for success. Studies show that customers who have a positive service experience are much more likely to become repeat purchasers, recommend a company to friends and family, and forgive the occasional mistake. On the flip side, poor service can not only lose sales but also damage a brand’s reputation. 

While paying employees a fair wage is important, extra incentives beyond compensation are key to motivating staff to consistently deliver service that goes above and beyond basic expectations. This article will provide seven actionable tips for business leaders looking to inspire outstanding service through targeted incentives and rewards. Implementing even a few of these strategies can lead to more engaged, motivated employees who take pride in exceeding customer expectations. The payoff? Improved customer satisfaction, increased sales and referrals, reduced turnover, and lasting competitive advantage.

The Powerful Business Impact of Outstanding Service 

Let’s first examine some statistics that underscore the tangible benefits of providing exceptional service:

– According to research by American Express, nearly 70% of consumers say they will spend more with a company that delivers excellent service. On the other hand, after one poor service interaction, 91% of consumers are less likely to shop with that company again.

– A study by PwC found that nearly 80% of consumers would stop doing business with a brand after several bad service experiences. First impressions matter – make sure they are great.

– According to client feedback surveys, customers who rate a service experience as “excellent” or “outstanding” are three times more likely to repurchase from that same company compared to those who rank the service as “good” or “average.” Going above and beyond pays off.

– Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers say they would be willing to pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. Service quality helps justify higher price points.

– Research by Lee Resources shows that loyal customers – those who are highly satisfied by great service – typically spend 67% more compared to new clients. Investing in service leads to repeat business.

– Referrals are another major payoff of outstanding service. A HubSpot study found that referrals have the highest customer retention rates of any sales channel – more than 2x higher than outbound sales. 

– The lifetime value of a retained customer is estimated to be 5x higher than the value of a new customer, according to SuperOffice research. It’s smart business strategy to invest in customer loyalty by delivering excellent service.

The numbers speak for themselves – providing exceptional customer experiences characterized by thoughtful service, prompt response times, and employees who go the extra mile separates the top companies from the rest. Now let’s explore some of the most effective approaches to motivate and incentivize staff to raise the service bar.

1. Praise and Public Recognition 

One of the most straightforward yet powerful ways to reinforce outstanding service behavior is through meaningful praise and public recognition. When employees receive authentic appreciation for providing great customer experiences, they feel valued and are further motivated to continue raising the bar.  

There are many low-cost, high-impact ways managers can praise top performers:

– Send handwritten thank you notes or give small gifts like gift cards to recognize exceptional service. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.  

– Make a point to publicly acknowledge great service moments in team meetings or the company newsletter. Peer praise is very motivating.

– Feature top performers each month on a recognition board displayed in a high traffic area. Seeing their name and picture drives friendly competition.  

– Share praiseworthy customer feedback, reviews, testimonials calling out specific employees for providing amazing service. 

– Have leaders regularly express gratitude and acknowledge employees who go above their normal responsibilities to deliver outstanding service. Recognize both big and small efforts.

The key is to praise people publicly for great service in front of their peers. Celebrating wins large and small makes employees feel valued for their efforts and motivates them to uphold high service standards.

2. Performance Bonuses and Awards 

Beyond verbal praise, performance-based financial incentives are another excellent way to reward outstanding service and encourage similar behavior across your team. There are two main approaches:

Monetary Bonuses

– Provide quarterly or annual cash bonuses when employees meet or exceed key customer service metrics like satisfaction survey scores, NetPromoter ratings, compliments to complaints ratios, response times, etc.

– Establish a bonus pool or commission structure where staff earn incremental incentives the higher their measurable service performance.

– Offer spot bonuses when you observe or hear about employees going above and beyond. Reinforce these great moments with on-the-spot rewards.

Service Recognition Awards 

– Monthly “Employee of the Month” awards highlighted on a plaque/wall display for the top customer service achievers based on positive reviews, customer feedback, mystery shopper scores, etc. 

– Gift cards or travel vouchers for the annual “Customer Service MVP” voted on by management and peers.

– Certificate awards for reaching service milestones like 5 years without a complaint or 1,000 positive customer reviews. 

Tying financial incentives to quantifiable service metrics and memorable awards for top performers gives staff added motivation to excel and deliver wow-worthy customer experiences. The incentives work hand in hand with recognition programs to foster a culture obsessed with outstanding service.

3. Increased Responsibilities and Growth Opportunities  

Beyond just financial rewards, outstanding customer service performers should be considered for increased responsibilities, leadership roles, and growth opportunities. Advancement demonstrates trust in their capabilities and provides built-in incentives for staff to hone their service skills.

Some impactful ways to provide incentive through career growth include:

– Promoting top customer service reps to training or team lead roles where they can mentor others and model their skills.

– Appointing skilled client managers who excel at service to also handle important VIP accounts. Match top talent with high-value customers.  

– Inviting top performers to participate in standing committees or advisory boards to contribute ideas to advance the company’s service strategy and standards. 

– Enabling advancement by reimbursing learning programs, seminars, or certifications to help top talent level up their skills. Investing in their growth promotes loyalty.

– Featuring high-achievers in company PR, case studies, and events as ambassadors of your service culture. Gives them recognition plus leadership experience.

The opportunity for new challenges, greater input, and career development provides strong motivation for staff to demonstrate outstanding service. And their expertise will elevate the entire team.

4. Flexible Scheduling and Extra Time Off 

While cash bonuses tend to be the most common form of incentive, many employees also highly value intangible rewards like additional flexibility, more paid time off, and shorter work hours. These non-financial incentives can increase job satisfaction along with motivating exceptional service.

Consider incentivizing outstanding performers with:

– Extra vacation days, half days, or long weekends to recharge and reset.  

– The ability to modify their schedule with earlier start and finish times to accommodate family or avoid traffic. 

– Occasional opportunities for remote work or work-from-home days as their schedule allows.

– The option to shift their hours to be off for major family events like children’s recitals or parent-teacher conferences. 

– First choice on preferred vacation dates rather than the usual first come, first serve policy.  

– Assignment to highly sought after daytime shifts since they’ve earned schedule priority.

While flexibility incentives may not work for all roles, they are highly valued by employees. Providing extra time off, remote work options, and customizable scheduling demonstrates you are willing to go above standard policy to reward and retain exceptional staff. Their work-life balance improves along with job satisfaction and service motivation.

5. Company Perks and Morale Boosters

Beyond formal rewards programs, small yet meaningful company perks are another way to recognize and incentivize superior customer service. When outstanding performers are treated to special privileges or morale boosters just for being top talent, it reinforces that their efforts are valued while making work more enjoyable.

Some easy perks to incentive great service include:

– Weekly catered lunches or food trucks for the team when service scores or survey results meet targets.

– Prime parking spots near the entry reserved for monthly Customer Service MVPs. 

– Points/credits they can accumulate to redeem for prizes or paid time off through a service excellence program.

– Team morale initiatives like office chair massages, pizza parties, or costume contests to celebrate service wins.

– Monthly dress-down days or casual Fridays for consistently high performing departments or individuals. 

– Early access to new product launches, office enhancements like stand-up desks, or coveted training programs. 

The perk itself may be small but the psychological impact of feeling valued and special is powerful. Utilizing various morale boosters and perks encourages staff to keep hitting service goals so they remain eligible for these “premium” benefits.

6. Sharing Customer Success Stories  

One of the most compelling yet underutilized incentives is sharing positive customer success stories related to outstanding service moments. When employees see the tangible business impact of delivering great experiences, it reinforces their daily efforts.

Ways to bring customer success stories to life include:

– Producing mini case study videos featuring satisfied clients articulating how the company’s service went above and beyond to solve their challenges. 

– Inviting clients to talk at all hands meetings about service experiences that “wowed” them and led to increased loyalty, such as quick issue resolution or personalized attention.

– Creating posters showcasing thank you notes, social media praise, or positive survey commentary from customers highlighting excellent service. Rotate frequently.

– Reading reviews, referrals or testimonials out loud in team huddles – hearing direct customer feedback has more impact than just sending a report.

– Sharing examples of service save moments – like turning around a frustrated customer ready to leave. Reinforces how their efforts make an impact.

Hearing the human voice behind positive feedback, seeing real customer examples, and understanding the business results driven by great service inspires staff to maintain high standards. Tying incentives to these real success stories creates powerful motivation.

7. Leading by Example

As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If you want to create a customer-centric culture focused on service excellence, it starts at the top. When leadership consistently models outstanding service behavior, the rest of the organization is inspired to follow.

Ways executives and managers can set the tone include:

– Participating in new hire onboarding and ongoing customer service training to demonstrate firsthand the importance of service skills.

– Handling tough issues or complaints from dissatisfied customers to showcase turning challenges into success stories.  

– Congratulating teams on wins like low attrition, high satisfaction scores, or awards for excellence. Celebrate service success.

– Holding themselves and other leaders accountable for resolving systemic issues that negatively impact customers. Don’t just talk – take action.

– Pitching in during busy periods with customer-facing tasks like answering calls, resolving billing errors, or providing loan approvals. 

– Personally responding to customer inquiries and meeting with clients to better understand needs. Don’t fully delegate customer relationships.

Seeing executives walk the talk – not just through words but visible behavior – is tremendously motivating for staff. It spurs employees at all levels to mirror exceptional service standards modeled by their leaders.


Delivering outstanding customer experiences that drive loyalty, retention, and growth requires a motivated, engaged workforce that consistently exceeds service expectations. While fair compensation is foundational, targeted incentives and rewards are key to inspiring staff to go the extra mile.

By implementing a mix of recognition, performance bonuses, advancement opportunities, work-life balance perks, morale boosters, and leadership commitment, companies can foster a culture driven by service excellence. Employees will be motivated to bring their A-game when customers are watching and be empowered to handle service challenges with grace. 

The small upfront investment needed to implement the incentive best practices covered in this article will pay dividends through higher sales, increased customer lifetime value, word-of-mouth referrals, and competitive differentiation. By recognizing, rewarding, and celebrating outstanding service across an organization, companies will reap the benefits of customer-focused staff that take pride in exceeding expectations. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are most motivated to deliver exceptional service that drives growth and loyalty.