Gamification, the act of transforming an otherwise mundane task into a playful — but still productive — activity is an increasingly popular way to ensure contact center agents performing repetitive tasks remain engaged in their day-to-day work. It’s especially useful in training, where recall of specific details is required and is an effective way to reinforce ideas, procedures and concepts.
In contact centers, gamification can play several roles, all of which provide value to agents, clients and customers. By its nature, gamification is a very powerful employee engagement tool. It boosts involvement by incentivizing specified behaviors and promotes positive performance through interactive games that can reward many agents across multiple locations. This not only improves individual engagement and performance but is also a catalyst for promoting a sense of teamwork and connectedness across geographies. Engaged agents are an important component of a positive customer experience, too.
Boosting agent engagement and thereby improving the agent experience reduces turnover. With some contact centers reporting attrition rates of 42%, gamification isn’t just an option; it’s a necessity. It’s also a painless way to boost productivity.
In addition, it is a powerful learning tool. Gamification increases employees’ ability to learn by up to 40%.
Here are the top ways gamification can improve engagement and performance in contact centers:
What should be gamified? There are several questions you must as:
A gamified agent experience must be built on a clearly defined need and the desired performance goals and KPIs. These are the first steps for devising a gamification initiative. Once they have been determined, the next thing is to consider questions, responses and tasks that will encompass these things, along with making the experience engaging, worthwhile and useful to agents.
We all have personal likes and dislikes. So, too, do each of us have different things that amuse or entertain us. When you create your gamified experience, you must keep this in mind. Since tastes and values vary, it’s often wise to start with a low (but not the lowest) common denominator. Rather than beginning with a reward mechanism that requires highly specialized knowledge or ability, starting with simple tasks and responses will generate greater acceptance and adoption by agents. But don’t make it too simple or it will be immediately rejected. Find a moderate level of knowledge needed by involving line managers early in the process, as their input and reaction will serve as a good guide to what is and what is not acceptable. Then build on that with more complex questions.
Other than the gamified experience itself, decide upfront how you want to motivate and reward the players. Points, prizes and other rewards ensure agents are engaged and incentivized to continue playing beyond an initial encounter.
Competition is important, so be sure the experience enables agents to compare their performance against that of their peers. Do not minimize the power of competition and the egos of players! Harness those drivers (in a good way!) Be sure to recognize (and reward) winners and publicize the results to ensure ongoing engagement.
If the goals and tasks are too technical, complicated and overly formal, a poor reaction is virtually guaranteed. The style of the experience and the manner in which the steps are communicated should be light. Goals must be straightforward and unambiguous, which serves two purposes: The agent has a clear idea of when they’ve “won” and what they’ve learned or achieved. Second, the analytics derived from this are also clear.
Certainly, as the gamified experience proceeds, it can and should be more specific and “serious” but the tone must remain light and playful to maintain the status as a “game” and not an exam or test, at least from the agents’ perspective.
Decide on a way to keep score and update regularly to build competitiveness
Consider the value of each point and “win,” how agents score (or lose points) and what it takes to win.
Decide how you want to reward agents. Recognizing them is the first step. Allow them to experience some glory and achievement. Publicize their success throughout your organization. Encourage other agents to use their accomplishments as motivation for their pursuits, too. Competition is a powerful source of inspiration.
Reward success with prizes in the form of points, cash, holidays, gifts — whatever you think is appropriate and will be valued by agents. Rewards and recognition are powerful tools for boosting employee engagement, so put some thought into the process.
Here are some prize suggestions:
Metrics derived from agent gamification are ideal for subsequent analysis. Virtually any activity can be measured but it is important to focus on ones within agents’ control, not those determined primarily by external conditions. Your purpose in developing a gamified experience determines its scoring systems and objectives, based on the importance. So too, should your analysis be weighted according to these goals.
Gamification isn’t all fun and games. It’s business, too. The data you pull from gamified activities will tell you many things. For example, a view of gamified performance data helps managers assess productivity and other standards. The ability to monitor employees, optimize performance and schedules, and identify high-performing agents are facilitated through gamification.
It’s never too late to start the gamification process. The current generation(s) of employees grew up with games in just about every aspect of their lives. It’s clear that agents and contact centers benefit from its implementation in multiple ways. And since its popularity is spreading across many industries, there’s no reason to put it off any longer.
To get started, you need a partner that understands contact centers and knows gamification.
Startek Gamification connects data across contact center metrics to identify agent behaviors and employs AI to provide insights on agent performance. A real-time view of individual performance drives employee engagement while gamification modules drive desired behaviors, leading to operational efficiencies.
More than just another visualization or gamification app, Startek Gamification is a performance management platform that uses data science to combine data visualization, behavior science and gamification.
A global CX solutions provider with 30 years' expertise, Startek powers more than 500 million customer interactions every year. By combining our deep understanding of customer needs across industries with customer and agent data, brands can drive the agent behaviors that lead to the most positive customer outcomes.