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Gamification In Contact Centres: Good Idea?

11 January 2022      
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Gamification in contact centres

Let's talk about gamification in contact centres. And let’s start by immediately addressing the elephant in the room. 

Does gamification work?

What if we told you that 72% of employees claim gamification inspires them to work harder. Or that using gamification may increase newly registered business users by 600%.

Sounds pretty good, right?

In this post, we dive into what gamification actually is, have a look at when it goes wrong, and introduce some ways to start gamifying your contact centre.

What is gamification?

Gamification is the process of turning your work into a competition; or a game. 

Stemming from a sales mentality of every salesperson wanting to beat the other, we see gamification applied across many departments in varying businesses. Theoretically, if staff are competing (healthily), they will be more productive.

When one employee or team wants to beat the other, and is incentivised to do so, the likelihood of success increases.

By introducing games, prizes, and leaderboards, staff compete to win gifts, time off, or simply beat their colleagues. Think employee of the month but on a daily, weekly, or even hourly basis.

Gamification in contact centres

Specifically in contact centres, the legacy way of using gamification has been either:

  1. Tracking who is on the phone the longest.
  2. Tracking who has made the most sales.

But there’s a whole lot more you can do with gamification in contact centres.

Let’s start with the phone (though in multichannel contact centres, the opportunity for gamification increases exponentially).

Gamification in call centres

In your call centre, are you already tracking metrics and KPIs?

What visibility does your team have in real-time? 

By enabling wallboards that display talk time, average handle time, number of calls taken, etc., you give everyone a view of how your agents are performing.

Even without applying any gamification, this is a simple first step. Nobody wants to be last on the wallboard so agents who need to pick up the slack will do just that.

A step further is to introduce genuine gamification techniques. You could implement a simple idea like sales bingo. Here, you create a bingo grid and agents have to cross off phrases used and tasks completed throughout their day. The winner at the end of the day/week gets a prize. Gamification really can be as simple as that.

We’ll introduce more techniques in the next section. 

Gamification in multichannel contact centres

When you run a multichannel contact centre, the opportunity for gamification is amplified.

With more channels to serve customers on, your agents can flex their sales, support, and empathy muscles in different mediums. With channels like social media, SMS, email, and live chat, you’ll have different metrics to calls so there’s the chance for agents with different skills to take the top prizes.

Unsure on the difference between call centres and contact centres? Read our comparison guide here.

What are some gamification techniques?

In the table below, we introduce 10 gamification techniques, explain why we use them, and show you how to start implementing them in your contact centre.

Technique

Benefit

Action

Leaderboard

Encourages agents to top the leaderboard by improving time-to-answer, average handle time, and other call-based metrics.

Mount a wallboard to your call centre office where all agents can see clearly. Use virtual wallboards for remote agents.

Hidden Prizes

Agents know they will be rewarded for exceptional customer service, and are likely to keep this in mind when dealing with difficult customers.

Communicate hidden prizes will be announced for going the extra mile. When supervisors listen back to calls and review live chats and emails, award a weekly/monthly prize to an agent who went out of their way to help a customer.

Unlock Levels

Clear career progression keeps agents motivated and wanting to learn more.

Track and reward agents who “unlock” special achievements. Start small and gradually increase the prize pool.

Self-Complete Tasks

Shows your trust in an agent's skills and investment in agents’ career progression.

Allow agents who’ve completed certain training and hit specific milestones to complete tasks that supervisors would otherwise need to carry out. (This might be one of the levels unlocked above).

Points-Based Learning

Agents feel a sense of achievement on the earning of points. Recognise they are progressing up a ladder and could become a senior agent or supervisor when set skills or points are earned.

Create a system (or a skills matrix) for tracking skills and experience agents have learned. Assign points that could feed into their own leaderboard. Award prizes for monthly/quarterly winners.

Recognition

Reassures agents who aren’t winning prizes that they are respected and valued.

Send a regular email or mention in staff meetings when agents have done a good job. Set a regular cadence so you’re not specifically calling out one person at a random time.

Fairness League

Ensures gamification prizes aren’t only earned by regular high performers and keeps lesser-performing agents motivated.

Track separate tasks and activities that reward non-sales-related or intangible achievements.

Non-Work-Related Prizes

Staff rewarded for charitable work and extra-curricular activities to boost morale and culture.

Introduce a charity day or fundraising activities where staff can take the lead in organising something outside of their day-to-day activities.

Remote Prizes

Includes remote agents so they don’t feel isolated from agents in the office.

Use an employee rewards system like Bonusly to track all agents rather than just the people in the office.

Supervisor Progress

Ensures supervisors don’t hit a ceiling within your business and start outside your business for career progression.

Use some of the nine gamification techniques above and apply them to supervisors across departments.

Can gamification be bad?

Like any business process, gamification can go wrong. 

Here are some real stories from people who had bad experiences when using gamification - but learned from it and are now happily using gamification in their day-to-day activities.

“We tried ‘First Call Resolution rate comparison gamification at our call centre ecosystem but it didn’t work as the overall performance was reduced. As First Call Resolution is a key metric to track agents’ efficiency, we decided to go with it. But, the results were not as we expected.

Rather than improving the outcomes, it reduced the quality of call handling as agents became more interested in answering the calls first and forgot about providing quality help. 

This failure didn’t stop us from bringing gamification into action and we implemented it later on. Our future attempts at gamification were better because of strategic planning and the use of the right metrics.”

“We tried to use earning badges as a gamification technique but it didn't work because our agents did not care about earning a custom badge.

Our learning from this was that agents want incentives like legitimate prizes or extra bonus money, not custom badges.

Future attempts at gamification were better because we now incentivise our agents with cash prizes and items like pressure cookers or other prizes they can win and pick from a catalog.”

“We tried to use sales ninja warrior as a gamification technique but it didn’t work because it only caters to the top players. The goal of gamification was to motivate and enhance the performance of all members and this wasn’t taken into account correctly.

Our learning from this was to introduce a gamification technique that brings competitive motivation to the table.

Future attempts at gamification were better when introducing cumulative benchmarking gamification mechanics. Each individual contributes to a unique performance objective through their behaviors. Some individuals can contribute less while others can contribute which results in an overall win for the team. This technique encourages top players to help weak members of the team to enhance the team’s performance.”

The consensus when speaking to call centre managers who had a bad experience with gamification is that you need to spend time upfront deciding how and what to gamify.

Gamification can fail if you only award high-selling sales personnel and forget to focus on junior agents or less-motivated staff.

Ensure your gamification strategy is both inclusive and rewarding. One without the other doesn’t work.

How do you engage employees through gamification?

Getting gamification right is hard. But the use of contact centre technology eases this process considerably and makes engaging employees that little bit easier.

Built into some call centre of contact software is the basic ability to present statistics and analytics. This wallboard-style functionality is commonplace in call centres and often seen as a minimum requirement.

As cloud technology has evolved, you can now add genuine gamification tools into contact centre software. The beauty is in the customisation, and the only thing holding you back is your imagination.

We know gamification works. Remember, we told you that 72% of employees claim gamification inspires them to work harder? And that using gamification may increase newly registered business users by 600%.
 

So, is gamification part of your contact centre strategy this year?

For help with your gamification strategy, book a free call with a Nasstar contact centre expert.