The Other Side of "I Want to Talk to a Supervisor"

How many of you participate in your company’s flexible spending account (FSA) plans?  This is one of those benefits that allows you to put a select amount of tax deductible money into an account each pay check and use that money for medical expenses.  The catch is that any unused money at the end of the plan year is forfeited.  Have you ever wondered what happens to all that forfeited money?  Well, on a recent visit to a call center in Omaha, Nebraska I learned a lot about FSAs, how they are managed and what happens to all that “extra” money. I also brought back some great tips for inspiring agents.

When visiting call centers I frequently like to ask the leadership folks how they motivate their agents or what makes their particular call center unique.  This third-party benefits administration company told me about their Bravo award and its impact on their agents. The award goes something like this...anytime one of their customers escalates a call to a supervisor to report a positive interaction with an agent, the supervisor gives a Bravo award to the agent and sends a write-up to the entire agent pool.  The Bravo award is not something physical, but rather emotional.  These types of honors and rewards go a long way to keeping motivation high and making agents feel empowered to do their job better.  Typically, "talk to a supervisor" calls are the most difficult calls. Please take time to ‘talk to a supervisor’ when you’ve had a great interaction too.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, that excess forfeited money from FSA accounts actually stays with your company and is used to pay the expenses incurred on their part to allow you to participate in the plan.  So much for my hope that I would someday receive a notice that a large sum of money was awaiting my claim.