Contests are one of the best ways to increase business and motivate your employees. The first step to a successful and profitable contest is to have specific goals. What do you want to change or improve? Explore why this improvement or change has not happened before. Is this the best time to start a contest? Do you have sufficient product availability, and are employees trained and ready to accept new goals? Is there adequate help for customer support, and is management involved and ready to sustain this program?
What type of contest will produce the best results? It really depends on who is involved in the contest. For instance, there are vast differences in the type of contests for incoming vs. outbound customer care, or business to consumer vs. business to business. The success of a contest can be determined by the length of the contest and how exciting it is. Is this a new contest (variety is vital to reaching your goals) or is it the same old contest that the company has had for years? The two keys to success are structuring the contest so that it is understandable by everyone, and promote and praise employees daily. If everyone in management recognizes the accomplishments of each individual in the group, then the contest will be a hit and performance will soar.
The reward presentation is one of the incentives itself (management recognition should not be a substitute) and it must be something special to commemorate the extended effort. Money should not be used as the grand prize because the winner usually does not distinguish this from their regular pay earnings, so therefore it is not unforgettable. But if the grand prize is a trip or merchandise (you can even have them select their top picks before the contest!) they will talk about their winnings for months.