When it Comes to Call Centers, It’s All About the Employees…

Employee buy-in is always critical, especially in the fast paced, high-pressure call center environment. Developing an effective incentive program is Financial Resources’ strategy for call center success.


Learning that a call center is the department with the highest employee satisfaction might come as a surprise to some credit unions. The stereotypical call center job is repetitive at best, demanding and extremely stressful at worst. As such, call centers are notorious for experiencing extremely high turnover. But at Financial Resources Federal Credit Union ($291 million, Bridgewater, NJ) the call center not only has low attrition, it also has a achieved a high level of employee satisfaction.

Incentive-Based Work Environment

When Anthony Szeman, Financial Resource’s call center manager, is asked what makes the call center so successful, he responds without hesitation, “strong employee morale.” For Szeman, call center representatives are the most underrated component of the call center. While he understands that call centers can be “dead zones,” at Financial Resources job satisfaction is highest within the call center, with many current representatives in their role for three to four years.

Szeman attributes much of this success to the interactive and fun incentive program he developed called “Lena Dollars.” Named after Financial Resources CEO, Lena Matthews, Lena Dollars is “play money” featuring the CEO’s picture that call center representatives earn for meeting goals and exceptional performance. Lena Dollars can then be used towards perks such as time off or prepaid store cards.

Such an incentive program lends itself well to Financial Resources’ sales culture. One of the ways the call center representatives earn Lena Dollars is by meeting sales targets. Although the sales process was recently changed from a focus on meeting individual product goals to an overall cumulative point goal with different products assigned certain point values, the center consistently exceeds its goals. In fact, over the past two years the center met and surpassed its quarterly sales goals while offering notable member service.

Staff Development Programs
Incentives are not the only contributor to Financial Resources’ call center success, however. Financial Resources also invests in a variety of staff development initiatives. Calls are regularly monitored and representatives are provided group training as well as individualized coaching sessions as appropriate. By placing the focus on the employee, Financial Resources is able to create a supportive and fun work environment and achieve call center success.




Feb. 13, 2006


  • If you hire people witht he aptitude & attidue for a faced paced work environement there should not be such burn out. check out www.plotkingroup.com for reasonably priced tests and tips on interviewing for the person with the right FUTURE, instead of a similar employment history. It just makes so much sense to me - if they liked or did well at all those similar jobs Whyt he heck are they looking for another one like it? C. Warden CCUE
  • Why not hire call center employees for Aptitude AND Attitude? A cost effective pre-employment or pre-promotion test from an industrial psycholgist will tell you who will excell at the job AND LIKE IT. No need for play money/contests. Typically I've seen the REST of the CU staff get PO'd when i department has a better opportunity for incentives than the rest of the staff.