Formula for incentive success: keep reps engaged

When Time Warner Cable decided to turn its local cable payment centers into full-blown retail stores, more than the stores needed renovating. The company put its customer service employees through a sales training program, provided ongoing coaching and transitioned them from hourly wage workers to salaried with a commission.

The stores, which previously had the unwelcoming atmosphere of a DMV, were equipped with customer-friendly features such as interactive demonstration stations, a lounge and an area showcasing Time Warner’s new home security system offerings.

The aggressive marketing campaign has been accompanied by a robust sales incentive program. Store employees earn points for exceeding monthly goals, which can be redeemed for literally millions of prizes, including merchandise, travel and tickets to live events. Time Warner leans on the incentive expertise of BI WORLDWIDE to run the program.

One of the biggest traps for do-it-yourselfers, says James Netska, vice president of retail sales for the Eastern U.S., is maintaining participant interest. “The professional marketing skills that BI brings to the table are what keep our employees excited. I hear them talk about the award points, I see them on the website and I see that they are engaged. When we try to do this ourselves, on top of the million other things that we have to do every day to run the business, it’s not effective.”

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