Long before the COVID-19 pandemic shook the globe, stress was an ongoing concern in the modern workplace, including the call center workplace. According to Damjan Jugovic Spajic at Small Biz Genius, “83% of U.S. workers suffer from work-related stress” and “U.S. businesses lose up to $300 billion yearly as a result of workplace stress.”
With so much at stake—including employees’ ongoing mental well-being and company profits—understandably, today’s employers are seeking new strategies to help reduce stress and keep everyone motivated. One technique that U.S. call center leaders are trying is called gamification.
Perhaps it isn’t surprising that employers are looking to one of the most popular pastimes of the past 50 years—Pong, anyone?—in gaming to help ease workplace tensions, reduce turnover, increase satisfaction, improve engagement, and ensure productivity. As the workforce skews more toward Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z each day, the strategy has real promise for these generations raised with game access throughout their lives.
Gamification has become an increasingly popular strategy outside the context of games and gaming. However, the concept isn’t new by any stretch. The idea doesn’t even directly correlate to electronic gaming. For over a century—and probably far longer—employers have sought to find ways to make work more competitive in positive ways, such as offering incentives and prizes to keep employees motivated.
Let’s learn more about gamifying the modern call center.
What Is Gamification?
Gamification mimics the experience of playing games as a strategic attempt to enhance systems, organizations, activities, and services. According to Gamify, it is an application of game-design elements and gaming principles in non-game-playing contexts. Further, it is also used as a way to solve problems. Designers apply the characteristics and strategies of game playing as a set of activities and processes specific to the issues at hand.
Gaming is frequently seen and treasured as a means of escape from the stresses that are so common in today’s fast-paced world. People respond to gamification outside the gaming context because it feels good to take a step back and look at problems from a new vantage point.
Gamifying the Workplace Got Serious In the Early 2000s
Introduced as a corporate strategy in the early 2000s by author and programmer Nick Pelling, gamification has become increasingly used in various corporate areas and contexts, tapping into each human’s “play instinct,” even if long forgotten, put to bed, or buried.
Businesses in various areas have tried gamifying their processes and systems, including marketing, recruiting, employee training, sales, health management, product development, quality management, and to improve reporting efficiency in call centers.
The Many Benefits of Gamifying a Workplace
As employees recognize similar issues and challenges to those they might experience when playing games, they become more motivated, engaged, and invested in the process. Designers accomplish this feat by applying vital game-design elements and principles, such as dynamics and mechanics, in non-game arenas and contexts, such as school, social events, and the modern workplace.
Gamifying systems as a motivational strategy has become persuasive and is thriving in the workplace for many reasons, including:
- Improving user engagement
- Enhancing organizational productivity
- Boosting workflow
- Increasing learning, boosting intellectual and social curiosity
- Allowing for greater knowledge retention
- Supporting crowdsourcing efforts
- Encouraging physical exercise in contexts such as requiring employees to visit each other’s cubicles instead of sending an email
Gamifying Elements That Work for SaaS Contact Center Solutions
Many elements call center software organizations and others include when gamifying a system, department, team, or organization, including:
- Badges. Displaying each employee’s achievements when diving into your workplace gaming efforts helps them feel recognized. Many organizations create unique badges to showcase an employee’s success, attaching them to their work computer and any correspondence media, such as email or other in-house messaging systems. Make sure that everyone knows what the badges mean, so they can congratulate those who have achieved them, and everyone can work toward earning their own.
- Points. Again, you might attach an employee’s current point standing next to their profile image. With this, everyone can see the top point-earners and keep up with where they are in their progress.
- Leaderboards. Whether you use digital bulletin boards, post reports on your organization’s call center dashboard, or both, leaderboards are clear indicators of who is leading in any current and ongoing organizational or departmental challenges.
You may or may not choose to incorporate these visual representations of your agent’s success in your ramifying measures, but it’s important to find ways to recognize them in the context of the system you design. It’s a natural part of gaming to understand one’s place in the standings, as long as it is a healthy and positive approach to workplace competition.
You can certainly design a gamifying strategy that ensures continuing professionalism from and among your call center agents. The ultimate goal is to drive more engagement between your agents, managers, and executives, establishing a workplace culture that encourages improvement and rewarding improvement on an ongoing and consistent basis.
Examples of Gamification That Worked
It might help you to see what gamification looks in action from brands you might recognize. Gamifying systems, such as recruiting and marketing, are so common that it’s easy to miss them. Here are some top examples of companies with successful gamification strategies that have garnered proven results.
1. Domino’s Pizza Tops Its Competition By Letting Customers Pick
Domino’s Pizza has used the social media platform Mogul to attract talent and build brand awareness among creative younger generations searching for a job with a company like Domino’s. The game that Domino’s and Thoughtworks developed allows users to create and name a personalized pie, brimming with unique toppings and preparation ideas, then they get to market their invention. For every one of the customized pizzas Domino’s has sold, the respective creators earn monetary rewards. Further, it gives Domino’s a ready pool of talented candidates to select to work on their team. It also shows that Domino’s is an upbeat and innovative company that is open to new ideas from new voices.
2. Google Code Jams Attract Fresh New Talent
For years, Google has used its ramification savvy to attract new talent to its ever-innovative team of coders. Going back to 2004, Google invited the public who visited the search engine to solve several equations. The company assumed—and did so correctly—that people who had the intelligence, motivation, and tenacity to solve the complex equations all the way to the end would make excellent job candidates. It was a mutually beneficial effort since the candidates landed a coveted job with the search engine, while Google attracted and hired some of the best talents in coding.
Over the decades, Google has continued using gamification as a successful recruiting strategy with Google Code Jam competitions. It’s the same game with its own name, set to attract an endless pool of fresh talent. But the stakes are higher now since the winners take home prize winnings of up to $50,000, while Google gets today’s top talent with the latest skill requirements.
3. Audi Gamifies the Learning Process for the Digital Dealership
In 2018, Audi set out to help employees gain experience in a more fun and engaging way: through virtual training. The Audi Virtual Training wanted to position dealership employees to practice peak behavior with every customer contact. Employees would undergo sometimes rigorous two-hour training sessions wherein they faced all types of scenarios, including demanding customers, surprising reactions, and complex situations that required their best problem-solving skills and demeanor.
These simulated encounters helped employees work through difficult scenarios in supportive environments. The special training allowed employees to conduct themselves according to their instincts before receiving constructive criticism to help situations go more smoothly for their sake and the sake of the customers.
Your Call Center Agents Can Benefit from Gamifying Your Workplace
You might wonder if gamifying your system is a feasible solution to any issues with agent motivation. The answer is a definite “yes.” Anything that helps create a unifying attitude and approach within your organization is a huge win for everyone.
With omnichannel solution providers like Aceyus, your agents can gain actionable insights from data, helping them meet your customers where they are, allowing your agents to exceed their expectations.
How to Gamify Your Call Center Workplace
With the right mindset and designers, you can gamify your call center in various ways to meet numerous goals for improvement. Here are a few ways you might consider gamifying your workplace.
1. Establish the Reasons and Goals for Gamifying Your Department or Organization
Before gamifying an area or your full organization, it is crucial to determine and define your goals and reasons for doing so. Here, you can determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) upon which you want to focus to measure success.
Let’s take a look at some top KPIs to consider when evaluating your agents through gamification:
- Service level capabilities, including their approach to and success with quality, efficiency, speed, or all of the above.
- Operational level successes, such as their rate of customer satisfaction and first-call resolution (FCR) standing.
- Enterprise level skills, focusing on customer churn and revenue growth.
Additional KPIs to keep in mind include:
- Average speed of answer (ASA)
- Average handling time (AHT)
- Average hold time
- Percentage of calls transferred
- Number of calls taken versus number of calls deferred
Gamifying any of these KPIs and others are effective ways to learn more about your agents’ standing and motivate them to ensure improvement and satisfaction. Most importantly, establish a baseline KPI before starting the program so you can track your agents’ progress.
2. Gamify Through Learning
Thankfully, today’s learning strategies have far more interactive and engaging possibilities than ever before, thanks to myriad digital options for delivery. You don’t even have to require everyone to meet in a classroom setting anymore. If anything, you can ask your team to meet via Zoom or other video conferencing platform. However, with gamification in place, everyone can still engage without attending a formal meeting.
As long as you create engaging lessons and dynamic materials and media, such as videos, discussions, chat sessions, and multiple choice quizzes and tests, your users can gauge their progress and how to improve.
3. Game Performance
Referring back to KPIs, determine which performance factors you want your agents to improve. Fortunately, with gaming, your call center agents aren’t as likely to feel excessive pressure or as if you are monitoring them continually. By gamifying the process and adding meaningful incentives, you can set performance metrics that your call center staff can aspire to amid friendly competition. In this gamification scenario, employees understand what they need to do to achieve the set goals in a given amount of time without feeling like all eyes are on them.
Encourage your agents to help each other make improvements in friendly, engaging ways, such as recommending that they ask each other for advice on handling certain challenging customer calls. Everyone can remain competitive while helping each other succeed.
Ultimately, a winner will rise among the ranks to win the rewards, but you want everyone to feel good about the process and the outcomes. Remind employees that everyone wins in the grand scheme of success for your company and that you will continue hosting competitions to keep all agents motivated.
Decide on the Data That Helps Define the Gamification Strategy
Now that you have some ideas about gamifying aspects of your organization, you might wonder how you will gather all the information you need to determine your winners. You know you want to learn certain KPIs and set the parameters of the game in question, but how do you come up with the right analytics to ensure a fair game with crystal clear data on the status at every phase of the game?
Instant, accurate data offers you the answers you need to name your winners with tight-as-a-drum analytics and firm confidence. With Real-Time Call Center Analytics from Aceyus, you gain automatic and accurate insights into your customer experience. Your call center dashboard features real-time compiled data in one centralized location that lets you know how your agents are doing. With this up-to-the-second information, you can help agents who are struggling to manage calls from customers with complex problems.
Further, you can chalk up successes in the competition to keep track of the game in progress.
Aceyus is a leading data aggregator for complex call and contact centers. Our omnichannel reporting solution helps improve reporting efficiency of all communication channels in a call center. Our real-time analytics provide visibility of the data behind each customer experience, allowing you and your agents to make the necessary improvements right away.
Contact us today to schedule a demo that will show you how our call center software solution can provide your contact center with omnichannel capability. You can also contact one of our experts for a free consultation on your solution options.
Download A Contact Center’s Guide to: Customer Journey Mapping and Improving the Customer Experience to learn how you can deliver a more meaningful, personal customer experience.