Agents in the contact center shape the customer experience and play a vital role in any organization as it fights to establish a sustainable competitive edge. Such valuable employees, however, often feel the highest stress levels among and often feel underpaid, compared to their coworkers in other departments. After all, agents often simultaneously bear the brunt of customer criticism and feel the pressure of intense scrutiny that employees elsewhere in the firm do not experience.
Finding ways to improve the performance of contact centers ranks among the top concerns of customer-centric businesses. Although managers and supervisors often feel limited in their ability to offer financial rewards, more of them have begun to embrace the power of gamification. By using contact center technology to introduce a fun, game-like element to the agent experience, employees feel an intrinsic nudge to compete with their coworkers to achieve anything from recognition to bonus perks.
Nick Pelling, a British programmer, coined the term, “gamification” in 2003. By 2010, the business world became conscious of the compelling concept of making work seem more like a game. Productivity increases in gamified environments have, since then, caused an explosion of interest in firms that desperately need contact center improvement to either maintain or regain their competitive edge.
Everyone knows that work is not a game. Still, injecting game mechanics into the workplace can increase motivation and engagement just as they do in the gaming world. High scores, new achievements and competitive rankings motivate game players to play often and for extended periods as they strive for mastery. Similarly, employees in environments that embrace game mechanics feel a natural drive to add points to their score, rise to the next level and rise in the ranks.
Contact center agents who understand how the game works and what they need to do to earn points and win have a competitive motivation that can work better than external tactics such as performance reviews and quotas. As a result, workers perform better and relieve their stress as they focus their energy on changing their work habits and develop skills that help them earn rewards such as points and badges that help them get ahead in the game.
Gamification generates a psychological engagement between employees and their objectives while introducing fun into the workplace. Like players in a game, contact center agents keep their eyes on leaderboards to get real-time feedback that helps them correct their performance whenever it begins to lag. Milestones within each level of the game serve to re-invigorate participants as they work. Gamification also boosts collaboration by encouraging team members to work together to achieve goals.
Gamification as a Contact Center Solution
Implementing gamification as a contact center solution requires agents to stay focused on real-world goals without getting lost in the game. Managers must, therefore, establish separate well-defined objectives for the company and for employees. As a result, everyone can understand what they must do to succeed and the company can determine the effectiveness of the gamification strategy.
Gamification can bring improvements to practically any part of a contact center, so companies must have the necessary call center technology available to identify which areas need improvement. Managers can then use such information to design customized games to that target specific performance areas while maintaining a high level of agent engagement.
The ability to customize incentives on a per-agent basis increases the effectiveness of gamification in the workplace. Competition might motivate some employees, for example, while rewards motivate others. The ability to create a unified strategy while acknowledging the unique attributes of every team member substantially increases the ability of managers to achieve organizational goals.
Game mechanics in the workplace can also play a vital role in streamlining the onboarding process by motivating new hires to efficiently complete paperwork and learn company policies and procedures. Gamification can also inject vigor into the training process to quickly equip new agents to become productive in the contact center.
Improved Employee Retention
Another area of the contact center, agent retention, can also benefit from gamification. Seasoned agents who have become bored with their work often become dissatisfied and look for another employer. Game mechanics replaces the monotony of the daily routine with engaging tactics and objectives, breathing new life into stagnant careers.
Regardless of the call center metrics that need improvement, gamification can boost overall efficiency by strengthening collaboration and communication between teams. Groups that once resisted working together become motivated to cooperate as part of the effort to boost their scores, achieve milestones and receive recognition for their accomplishments.
Improved Customer Experience
Of course, the ultimate goal of introducing gamification in the contact center is to improve the quality of the customer experience. When agents and teams stay engaged, work well together and improve their deficiencies, calls get answered faster and customers more quickly receive solutions than before. Also, the number of service-related complaints decreases as call center and business performance improves.
When employees know that an interesting and engaging on-the-job experience awaits them, they will become less likely to skip work. Companies can extend gamification to include attendance. Such a move can complement the low-stress environment and feelings of comradely already created through the adoption of game-based strategies.
Companies that have happy and productive employees often also have happy customers. Finding ways to increase agent performance in the contact center is, therefore, a high priority for many organizations. As companies recognize the limitations of traditional motivational tactics, they are embracing gamification. By giving the work experience attributes that mimic the gaming experience, the business world has found a way to achieve unprecedented levels of employee performance.
As call center agents strengthen their skills and increasingly feel a bond with their coworkers, they achieve milestones and receive rewards that make them feel better about themselves and their work. Such intrinsic motivation can improve practically every area of contact center operations and strengthen the performance of the entire organization. Companies that operate contact centers must, therefore, implement gamification strategies if they hope to gain a competitive edge in modern markets.
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