Motivational Games for Call Centres


Games can be a great way to motivate agents, so we asked some experts to suggest a few of the best for call centre teams.

From Balls of Steel to Ridiculous Complaints and the Lone Assassin to the Jelly Baby Tree, we hope you will find some inspiration here.

We’ve found that incentives both for teams and individuals can significantly improve performance, but they need to be carefully deployed. Offer incentives every week and they lose value. Make a tactical decision as when to run an incentive and you will see immediate results.

At the Brighton site of Domestic and General, the two most popular games are called ‘Balls of Steel’ and ‘Pod Wars’.

Balls of Steel

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Balls of Steel works as an incentive on an individual level. At the start of the day each agent is given five balls and every time they win a sale they get to take a ball from one of their opponents. At the end of the shift the employee with the most balls wins.

The prize on offer is always something desirable like a camera or a meal for two at a local restaurant. We’ve found this game drives individual performance and sales.

Pod Wars

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Our agents sit at workstations called ‘pods’, with each pod representing a team. Like in the game of Battleships, in Pod Wars teams compete against one another and when one agent makes a sale they get to sink the agent sitting in the same seat on the opposing pod.

Ben Dale-Gough

Ben Dale-Gough

People find it really engaging; it ignites competitiveness, builds comradeship and helps the team to bond. We extend this further by awarding prizes that the whole team can participate in such as a night out, a spa day or a group lunch.

Ben Dale-Gough, Site Operations Manager, Domestic & General (http://www.domgen.com/)

Hangman

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This variation of the classic game is a great way to finish a training event on a ‘high.’ It is also useful to consolidate learning or to check recall. One advantage of this game is that the participants need to review the session fully in order to develop questions for the other team, as well as being tested themselves.

Arrange participants into two teams (ideally with 4 to 6 players per team) and provide each team with a few sheets of paper and a flip chart and pens.

Ask each team to develop a series of questions based on the learning throughout the training session. These can be as easy or as difficult as they like. However, they must be relevant to the session. They should keep these questions secret from the other team for the time being.

Once the teams have both completed their questions and written them down on the paper provided, it is time to start the game of hangman.

Each team must take it in turns to pose a question to the other team. If the team get the answer right, then it is their turn to ask a question. Should they answer incorrectly, a piece of the hangman is drawn on the flip chart and they are challenged to answer the next question.

The game ends when the first hangman is completed and the unfortunate team lose.

Ridiculous Complaints

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This game tests ability to respond to complaints from customers and deal with queries in an effective way. It also adds a bit of fun to a session and will rejuvenate a lagging group.

Simply provide the participants with a list of ridiculous complaints and ask them to come up with the best response possible by way of feedback.

You can place participants into groups or ask them to work alone. Once they have spent some time working on their responses to the complaints, ask them to feedback to the whole group.

This activity can be completed as a written exercise or orally. You may even decide to create a role-play scenario to add a bit more realism to the practice.

It is wise to split the questions up between the groups, as otherwise the activity can take too much time.

The Lone Assassin

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The Lone Assassin can provide a long-running game to add some entertainment to a training programme or residential event.

This game should be played with a group of at least 20 (no maximum size) and can run for up to a few days depending on the size of the group.

Before the session, write all the participants’ names in a list.

Each participant has to assassinate the person below them on the list (and will be assassinated by the person above them on the list).

Provide each participant with a small slip of paper with the name of the person they have to assassinate.

To assassinate someone, the assassin has to go up to their target and say, “Bang, bang, you’re dead”. However, if anyone else hears this then the assassin has missed their target and must try again later. If the assassination succeeds, then the target is out of the game and must pass on to their assassin the name of the person they were trying to assassinate.

This person becomes the assassin’s new target. Eventually, there will be an outright winner. It is advisable to make an extra rule that nobody can be assassinated during the session times or other times you do not want to be disturbed.

People who have been assassinated can stay in the game as bodyguards for people still alive.

The Team Bus

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This game provides an interesting method of demonstrating the core skills needed for a team.

Using flip-chart paper, draw the outline of a bus. Instruct the group to add components to the bus and explain what it stands for and how they can relate that to the team. Give one example and then let them go.

Break team into groups of four or five. Allow 20 minutes for the team to draw the bus and 5 minutes for each team to present their vehicle. The total time depends on the number of groups you have.

Some examples:
Draw the antennae so that we have good communication or the wheels keep us in motion. The rear-view mirror to keep an eye on where we have been, headlights to help us find our way, a trunk to store all our knowledge and tools, the petrol tank to provide energy when we need it, etc.

The Jelly Baby Tree

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The Jelly Baby Tree can be used to identify participants’ feelings and encourage discussion.

This is a useful activity to get feedback on how participants are feeling and to encourage discussion around their emotions. This could be in relation to a training session, the topic or more generally in meetings.

Provide each participant with the Jelly Baby Tree sheet and ask them to colour in the jelly baby that they think best represents them. Once they have done this, take it in turns to ask each person to show their coloured-in jelly baby and explain why they chose it.

Or…

Place the picture on a slide and ask participants to point out the jelly baby that represents them and explain the reasons.

Andrew Wood, Managing Director, Trainer Bubble (www.trainerbubble.com)


Thanks to our readers for adding in even more Games

Traveling gnome

We have a traveling gnome. This game runs each day. We do not have sales so ours is based on TNPS or most Promoter returns. The individual with the most returns holds the gnome for the day, and the others try to take it away for the next day. If there is a tie we give both agents a gifts card to get coffee and a doughnut at the local coffee shop. I was pleasantly surprised that the tie was more valued by the Team Member and they joined forces to get the most promoters back with a tie.

Thanks to Gretchen Cook

Call Centre Monopoly

We are a service contact centre rather than sales and a game that has proved really popular is “Monopoly” we recreated the board but used names relevant to our business such as Allocation Avenue, Redemption Road etc. etc. but kept the normal squares Go To Jail, Community Chest ect. Each member of the team was given monopoly money at the start of the game and moved around the board by achieving their KPI’s – Average speed of answer, Average talk time, availability, resolve on call…..and got £200 fake money each time they passed go. At 3.00 each afternoon we opened the Monopoly shop which contained sweets, drinks and goodies which the team could buy with their fake money. We played the game for 3 months introducing bonus’s throughout the months which included positive customer feedback, assisting internal teams. A great game for building morale with a positive customer impact too.

Thanks to Julie-Ann

Games of chance

(spin the wheel, pull a ticket from the fish bowl, select a sealed envelope) have proven very effective. They not only provide an additional opportunity to reinforce the activity, they inject random intermittent reinforcement. That is the emotion that keeps already learned activities exciting and motivating. However, every game play must pay-out something positive (no lotto tickets); the exciting part is that you don’t know how many points you will receive. The game element (now called gamification) is most effective in improving the KPI’s of middle and lower tier employees. The top performers will still be the top earners but everyone else sees the opportunity to hit the jackpot or a big number.

Thanks to Robert Cowen

Passing Balls

This is a great refresher if the team is a bit flat.

You need at least 8 staff and 5 stress balls (or similar)

Get the team to form a circle, and they pass one ball to the person opposite them, each person catches/passes the ball just once, starting and ending with the same person.

Ask them to remember who they passed to as they will always pass to that same person as the game progress’.

after two or three with one ball, add the second ball and time how long from start to finish.

The rules are:

Start and end with the same person, the balls must pass through each persons hands in the same order as the first round.

Add the rest of the balls. As a team they must get the time down to complete the rotation as fast as possible.

We got down to just over one second.

The rules are start and end with the same person, the balls must pass through each persons hands in the same order as the first round.

The trick is to re-arrange themselves to decrease the time to get the balls to travel through each persons hands and starting and ending with the same person.

This game is a bit of a hand-granade, as once they have worked it out you can not do it again, but it is a great game for whole new teams or conferences.

Thanks to Tony Hewett

Knockout

A simple game that stirs the competitive juices of our reps is “Knockout” All you need is a dry marker board. On the dry marker board draw a grid. The number of boxes needed is based on the size of your crew and how long you want the game to last. Our reps prefer shorter games with more (smaller) prizes. When a rep makes a sale, the rep gets to put their initials inside the box. When the boxes are filled, the reps begin “knocking out” other reps. If a rep makes a larger sale (we set the amount ahead of time) the rep can “lock” a box and no one can take that box. The manager chooses the winning boxes before the game begins. We use cash, smoke breaks, early outs, and food as winning prizes. You can also make teams of two or three and then “Knockout” becomes a team game. Good luck!

Thanks to Steve Boring

Chase the envelope.

Three sealed envelopes containing prizes (I generally do a bottle of wine, a lunch and go home 1/2 hour early). Each time an agent gets a save or sale they claim the envelope from another agent. At the end of the day, the person with the envelope gets to open it. It basically means that performance shouldn’t wane towards the end of the day.

Thanks to Hayley

The Wheel of Wow

This game was suggested by Dan Moross, Director of Customer Experience at MOO, who believes that spinning a makeshift wheel, the ‘Wheel of Wow’, to give out spot prizes to deserving advisors, can boost team motivation.

Click here for more details

Even more games

Click here for our Best Motivational Games for Employees

Do you have any games that have raised morale? Please share them in the box below.

Published On: 9th Feb 2011 - Last modified: 23rd May 2017
Read more about - Call Centre Management , , , ,


14 Comments
  1. I just want to thank the site for publishing this and all the very helpful material. It is a great source of information and knowledge to help us call centre managers.

    Thank you 10 Feb at 2:41 am
  2. I just thought I’d mention that the Trainer Bubble website has loads more training games and activities that are useful on their website. I use them a lot during meetings and to encourage participation. It’s all free, so well worth a look.

    Mark 10 Feb at 10:13 am
  3. Does anyone have any suggestions of activities for inbound call centre that aren’t sales based?

    Nicky 10 Feb at 11:37 am
  4. I mostly like the Lone Assasin and Ridiculous Complaints games. Thank you very much for givig these advices. They will be very helpfull for keeping my team motivated.

    Filip Kanikowski 10 Feb at 11:57 am
  5. Similar to Nicky,

    Any suggestions that I could apply to a non-profit/non sales, inbound call centre.

    John 10 Feb at 1:14 pm
  6. I love the suggestions, though we are inbound sales is a big part of Call Center expectations. Thank you!

    Shohla 10 Feb at 1:34 pm
  7. Thank you for posting this article.Though we are inbound sales is a big part of Call Center expectations.

    Shohla 10 Feb at 1:35 pm
  8. If you need new ideas – have a contest in the call centre for your reps to come up with a contest/game idea. The employee who has the best idea (and one you will use)wins a prize. This way you will also have other ideas that you can also use down the road.

    Barb 11 Feb at 4:35 pm
  9. One game that I came across recently was a giant snakes an ladders. Quite a good one for teams fighting against each other.

    You can eithe make this based on time (e.g. each team gets a go each lunch time) or based on sme form of reward (e.g. quality scores, customer feedback etc)

    jonty pearce 14 Feb at 7:24 pm
  10. We use a company who provide games for agents to play on their desktops whenever they hit their targets. It’s great for driving competition, plus it keep agents involved as they can see the leader board on a plasma or on their desktop which shows how well they are doing against their friends and fellow agents.

    We usually put a prize on offer, like cinema tickets, gift vouchers, for the winner who finishes with the highest score on the leader board.

    Darragh Milligan 25 Feb at 12:41 pm
  11. all these games are awesome but is there games without prizes (without spending money)?

    soufien 2 Nov at 3:24 pm
  12. Just finished a good game of Battleships – just need a grid, mark the ships out in the usual way, shots are taken for every sale – team vs team

    Paul 17 Apr at 3:21 pm
  13. We like to play hot potato… We set a timer and the rep with a sale gets the hot potato. If the timer goes off that rep wins between$5-$10

    Irma salazar 19 Jun at 5:32 am
  14. Most of the spiffs you suggested, a bottle of wine, dinner for two, early go home pass, sounds great.
    Good incentives for classy floors. Too bad ATT can only spent on mariachi bands for their largely minority staff in Tamarac (yes that Convergys). The blacks were like WTF, where my spiff? I can ead diz sheeat.

    Tablet Guy 8 Oct at 6:49 am
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