Are customer service reps getting free goldfish?

Companies are using the “Santa Claus” method to win over customer service reps, i.e. showering them with practical and affordable gifts.

Here’s how it works: After a customer service experience, customers are asked to choose a reward for the representative who helped them based on their performance, per The WSJ

  • For example, men’s grooming company Harry’s offers a coffee, a long lunch, or a gift card. Home Chef, a meal kit company, even has a goldfish as one of its options. 

So, are these reps drowning in goldfish? No one is actually getting a new aquatic friend. The gift options correspond with tiers (i.e. goldfish = okay, gift card = great), and employees who rack up the most high-value digital “gifts” are eventually rewarded with an actual gift.

  • Typical gifts include sporting event tickets, snacks, and gift cards of the employee’s choice (meaning they could, in theory, get a fish if they chose a pet store gift card).

Why it matters: Companies are desperately trying to hire and retain customer service reps right now—it’s the eighth-most in-demand job in Canada for 2023, per Randstad—as they need workers to field queries while e-commerce and work-from-home stick around. 

  • Unfortunately, the job is less attractive than before. Workers in the industry have reported a spike in bad customer behaviour since the pandemic basically melted our brains. 

Bottom line: Per a Robert Half survey, 39% of Canadians seeking a new job are doing so in search of better perks and benefits. Not sure if gift cards are quite what they meant.–QH