Customer service staff rewards: earning while learning
The Customer Relationship Management Institute (CRMI) has launched a membership rewards programme for customer service professionals, through which points are earned as members participate in career-developing training programmes, events and services that strengthen their job skills.
American professionals involved in all aspects of customer interaction within their organisations can "earn as they learn" by joining the new programme. Members of the CRMI Membership Rewards programme earn points as they participate in various approved training programmes, seminars or webinars, or in CRMI's annual SCORE Conference and other selected services offered by CRMI and its partners.
Enrolment Members enrol in the programme at one of three levels: Executive (for the chief executive officer or president, chief customer officer, vice president, and chief financial officer), Management (for the director or manager) or Customer Service Professional (for the supervisor or individual contributor). Those who join before the end of 2005 will benefit from fixed membership fees of US$300 per year or US$825 for three years. Those who join later will pay US$350 per year instead.
Earning points To get them started, new one-year members will receive 1,000 points and three-year members will receive 5,000 points. After that, members earn 4,000 points and receive a discount for attending a SCORE Conference, and earn 1,000 points for each CRMI or partner seminar they attend. Completing the certification programme earns 15,000 points, and 3,000 points are given for purchasing a benchmark report. Points are also awarded for purchases of books, tapes and videos, and bonus points are given to those who renew their memberships at each anniversary date and attend consecutive SCORE Conferences.
Redemptions Points can be also redeemed for gift certificates valid at Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Circuit City and Best Buy, or for holidays and Marriott hotel bookings, restaurant meals (at Chili's, Olive Garden, Applebee's, Starbucks and Red Lobster), as well as for merchandise such as home electronics, sporting gear, and watches, or for donations to charitable institutions. Members can also manage their accounts and redeem their points online. Redemption levels range from 3,000 points for rewards with a value of US$25 up to 100,000 points for rewards valued at US$1,000.
Target audience While the actual nature of each individual's work is different, those in the programme's target professions should all share a common goal of establishing and nurturing better relationships that build customer loyalty. The professions initially targeted include:· Customer Service· Call centre Operations· Field Service· Help Desk· Technical Support· Sales & Marketing· Human Resources· Professional Services· Product Management· Quality Assurance
Common goal As Richard J. Castellano, president for CRMI, explained: "Professionals in each of these areas already have access to membership organisations that provide skill building and career resources within their specific fields. However, these organisations are dedicated to their specific fields and don't reach out to those in related fields who also have ongoing contact with customers, prospects and suppliers."
CRMI's goal with the rewards programme is to promote cross-functional cooperation and understanding of how all points of customer contact can play a role in building customer loyalty and retention. "Members who take advantage of CRMI and partner events and services can earn points fairly quickly," said Castellano. "We don't expect people to join the programme just for the rewards, but they're an added incentive for service professionals to focus on the career development, networking and skill building benefits of our services."