People tend to do those things for which they are rewarded. To encourage employees to provide the customer service promised to our customers, employee incentive and recognition programs are put into place to reward employees who engage in desired behaviors or who achieve specific outcomes.
Desired behaviors can be measured by mystery shopping programs, manager reports, audits, customer feedback measures and performance reviews. Specific outcomes can be measured by sales amounts, referral numbers and the like.
No incentive program is perfect and, over time, sometimes employees figure out a way around the system to "earn" the incentive. In other words, sometimes employees "game the system".
Here are some common games we see. We hope they help you in planning to avoid them.
The Game: Trick the Technology
If an organization uses technology alone to measure key service metrics and reward performance with incentives, the system is usually an easy target for gaming the system.
The modify the order trick. A mystery shopper overheard a training conversation at the first of two drive through windows at a quick service restaurant. When the mystery shopper attempted to hand the employee payment, the mystery shopper heard the trainer saying "No, never just accept the payment. Always be sure to click on Modify Order then click Ok before you accept the customer's payment. This will restart the timer on our transactions so our service times will look good."
The ring up single items as multiples trick. At a grocery store checkout
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