In today's competitive and challenging economic climate, the contact center has become mission control for many organizations who seek to put the customer experience at the center of their business strategy. More businesses are starting to understand that employee satisfaction has a direct correlation to happy and unhappy customers, and can have a significant impact on the success of a company. For companies aiming to prioritize customer service it is imperative to focus first on employee engagement. Happy employees that have the right training and tools to help customers often lead to a positive customer experience and improved financial performance. Yet, contact centers have often faced obstacles identifying methods to improve performance levels and retain good agents.Finding the right solutions to address this can be challenging, but thankfully, innovative new techniques have opened up new avenues to effectively handle these issues. Gamification, the practice of implementing game mechanics and design techniques in non-game contexts, is a new concept that is gaining popularity. It can encourage employee engagement, while also creating a competitive environment where staff can vie for rewards (i.e., better schedules, gift cards, days off, etc.) and peer-to-peer acknowledgement.
You Can't Win if you Don't Play The Game
Gamification, at its core, is about capturing statistics, communicating status, and rewarding behavior.This is also what workforce optimization (WFO) is all about: using data and metrics to create visibility across management teams and supervisors, rewarding good behavior and interactions, and creating coaching and learning opportunities to encourage employee engagement and motivation.
Contact centers leveraging gamification are relying on multiple techniques to reach their individual goals. Some are also combining gamification with WFO software to drive behavior and games across the contact center. Where gamification becomes most influential is by making training more fun and encouraging the right behaviors to improve productivity. By sparking a competitive spirit in contact center agents, they'll want to complete one more upsell, or finish the next training course. And, by competing alongside their team, they bond in a stronger way with their colleagues. With success, they can see themselves climb the leader board-for the day or over time.
Early results indicate that this combination makes work more enjoyable for contact center employees by encouraging success, while simultaneously supporting the company's overarching customer strategies.
Some tips for gamification success include:
- Points and "badges" - Creating performance management scorecards helps to define, calculate and display "award points" for employees with customer-configurable scores with icons that can be used as "badges." Desktop and process analytics then can collectsthe data that drives award points(e.g., closed tickets, closed contracts, etc.). The result can help organizations achieve greater morale and excitement around these tasks.
- Incentives and awards - Users can automatically populate points awarded within a company's workforce management system to provide "winning" employees with desirable schedules or shifts.
- Scoreboards and leaderboards - Dashboard displays can indicate the "points scorecards" for employees. These scorecards can also show "leader boards,"all updated in real-time to motivate employees.
- Social collaboration and teams-setting goals - Scorecards can roll up the individual "points" earned by employees to team points (or scores), thus driving greater collaboration and teamwork.
- Employee encouragement to try something different - Encourage participants to try something different. Since gamificationfocuses on the end goal, reward employees who reach their goals at a quicker rate than others.
To achieve success, it is important for any gamification practices to be well understood and the program to be planned out. Some important questions for your organization to consider include:
- Are your goals for using gamification clear?
- Have you given thought to your company culture and how you will implement a gamification effort?
- What types of rewards will motivate employees, and how will you build recognition programs that tie into the initiative?
While many tools exist that provide various methods for refining contact center performance, gamification presents a unique way of improving business processes and collaboration across organizations by creating a more involved and competitive gaming environment.
One of the primary benefits of deploying gamification practices throughout an organization is its ability to easily align with existing workforce management and performance tools. By employing a few gamification techniques, these programs can create great synergies to drive employee engagement, improve productivity, and reduce attrition, ultimately creating a positive customer experience that drives business success.