Colin Campbell talks us through some of the reasons why gamification needs careful planning within the contact centre.
Gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service:
“Gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun” ~ Oxford English Dictionary
Through the process of awarding badges, points and achievement levels, gamification gives agents an opportunity to show their achievements and compete as individuals and part of the team.
The goals in mind are set by the business, and these require a great deal of thought, as any agent behaviours and actions must be closely aligned with where the business wants to go.
Gamification is an area of potential risk for businesses: taking a simple example, rewarding agents based upon average call handling time so as to reduce cost could obviously lead to them dropping difficult calls or not answering customers fully in order to meet these targets.
There is also a risk that the novelty of games will wear off, with rewards having to have a higher and higher tangible monetary value in order to keep people’s motivation, so ongoing efforts must be made by management to keep games fresh and goals relevant.
It is important to note that gamification, while providing feedback and rewards to agents on an individual level, should be used as part of a team or community experience. This will help to encourage high-performing agents to share their best practice and for all agents to be continually challenged and pushed to learn new skills and improve their own performance.
3. Revenue vs. Training
Contact centres that use gamification frequently report that most agents go beyond the required training schedule, completing extra units and developing skills further in order to accumulate more points and badges.
In a heavily incentivised sales environment, encouraging agents to take time off revenue generating activity to take training can be difficult, and this is a potential solution.
4. Immediate Feedback
Gamification is shown to increase agent engagement through providing immediate feedback to the agent, who does not have to wait until the scheduled supervisory review to see how they are doing.
5. Improved Loyalty
Through the pooling of knowledge and collaboration within a group in order to achieve specific goals for which all will be rewarded.
6. Improved Speed of Up-Skilling Agents
Cut down on the amount of time required for new agents to become competent, providing real-time feedback in order to encourage positive behaviours.
7. Reduced Management Time
Through running incentive programmes, gamification helps deliver them with minimal management overhead once objectives and goals have been set.
8. Fair and Objective Focus
Reward those characteristics and behaviours that are most closely aligned with the contact centre’s and enterprise’s own requirements.
This final point – encouraging agents to do what benefits the business – is a key purpose for gamification.
Gamification can help businesses to support their objectives and to achieve specific results.
For example, steps to make gamification assist with achieving a company’s business priorities could include:
- Clarifying the enterprise’s objectives
- Identifying contact centre metrics that directly impact upon these objectives
- Identifying the agent characteristics, behaviour and actions that impact these metrics the most
- Developing a gamification strategy that can measure and improve these metrics, through motivating the agents to act in ways that support this goal
For businesses that want to achieve specific results, gamification can assist through:
- Increasing the skills and competencies of new agents more rapidly, decreasing time to productivity by switching from formal, classroom lecture-based training into structured real-life work tasks
- Further developing the skills of agents through encouraging and rewarding the completion of extra training courses and activities beyond what is required
- Improving agent retention through increasing agent engagement, and recognising and rewarding positive behaviours and characteristics.