I have a friend who worked in a call center for quite a while early in her career. Call centers are not for the faint of heart, I assure you. Center employees bear the brunt of the stress, anger, and frustration of customers but rarely have the authority to do much about it. Wait too long to give positive feedback to a good call center employee, and you’ll surely lose them. Wait too long to give constructive feedback to a struggling employee, and you could lose hundreds of good-paying customers. That’s why analytics and gamification are proving so valuable in the modern call center environment.
Futurist Faith Popcorn estimates 70 percent of large companies are using some form of workplace gamification already. But what is it? According to one writer, gamification involves “guiding, reinforcing, and increasing high-value activity by capturing the data that your employees generate as they do their work and using that data to motivate them.” In other words, it uses metrics and analytics to track job performance, in hopes of making employees more productive—and it add an element of fun. The following are just a few reasons gamification holds so much promise for enhancing call center customer experience (CX).
Call Centers Already Use Key Metrics Daily
In some industries, introducing a metrics-based gaming system would be difficult. There aren’t a lot of different metrics in writing, for instance—at least not ones relate to actual quality of work. But in call centers, metrics are an important part of daily work life. Things like average time to resolve an issue, average customer satisfaction score, and success in upselling to other products are all measured on every call, making it easy to create positive, productive, gamified competitions based on clear, real-time results.
Gamification Allows for Real Time Feedback
There is nothing worse than getting surprised in an annual job review. We’ve all had those horrible experiences where our boss decides to list all of the ways we’ve messed up in the past year—none of which we were even aware of! It feels terrible knowing we fell short without even realizing it. But from a business perspective, late feedback is equally troubling. It means you were underperforming for an entire year, and no one ever asked you to fix it! Think of the countless customers, dollars, and minutes you’ve lost by continuing to work without proper feedback or training. The same is true in the call center environment. Having access to metrics is one thing; effectively sharing them with employees—in real time—so they can adjust behavior or delivery in order to work more effectively is another.
Competition Makes Life More Fun
Call center life is not known for spontaneous dance parties and high employee engagement. Most callers are given few breaks because phones are constantly ringing. What’s more, after hours of challenging calls—and customers—it can be difficult to maintain one’s enthusiasm. Gamification is the ideal answer for making jobs like this a bit more fun. By promoting healthy competition, celebrating high performers, and creating a culture of acknowledging employees with buttons, pins, ribbons—or better yet, spontaneous bonuses—for reaching certain levels of satisfaction or training, the once-mundane task of answering phones and solving problems is now one of celebration and excitement.
Instant Gratification is Good
It is really easy to get discouraged in the face of criticism and frustration! This kind of discouragement can lead to high levels of turnover—33 percent in the call center industry, and more than twice the national average. Sure, it is challenging to train new people. But it’s also incredibly expensive. Thus, providing higher levels of gratification to employees is not just a “nice to have”—it’s a must for centers looking to improve overall employee retention. Gamification allows for quick, easy incentives, as linked to key metrics defined by clear business goals. This is important for two reasons. First, employees experience small joys that balance the challenge of working in a call center. But they also build trust with management because they know incentives are transparent, and will be given to those who really deserve them.
Gamification Improves Employee Engagement
When you have more frequent communication and rewards, you will almost always have more engaged employees. Using data and real-time feedback, employees can know where they stand, at all times, and in different skill areas. What’s more, by incorporating gaming in your training, you have more opportunities to see where employees are struggling, and where you can provide further help.
Games might be fun, but they are clearly no joke! Aberdeen Research recently shared that the growth rates of businesses using gamification were two times faster in annual revenue than their peers. The call center environment can learn a lot from this discovery. It is not an easy industry to manage—or work within. Luckily gamification, analytics, and other new technologies can help make it a more engaging, enjoyable experience for employees, while making businesses more profitable overall.
Addition Resources on This Topic
Workplace Gamification Driving Employee Engagement
Say Yes to Gamification
This article was first published on CallidusCloud CX.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.