Gamification is the method of applying game elements to existing environments in order to make them more interesting and engaging. Gamification is usually done using leaderboards or points. This strategy has been perfected in video games for decades and it has given us some exceptional and entertaining games. This addictive nature of games can be leveraged to create a highly productive and driven workforce. There is strong evidence showing that gamification enhances employee engagement and improves overall workforce productivity —
According to a survey by Badgeville, 90% of employees say that they are more productive when they use gamification
A Gartner report suggests that 70% of business transformations fail due to lack of employee engagement
According to a Gallup study, an engaged workforce results in 147% greater performance
In this article, we will show you with real life examples of how you can bring the benefits gamification has to offer to your call center. Before that, let’s understand what is it about gamification that makes it work.
We know how addictive games can be, but what makes games so compelling?
Nobody has to motivate us to play video games. This is because the motivation stems from within — we feel good when we win, this good feeling is caused by a hormone called dopamine that is released every time we are rewarded. In a similar manner we feel good when we win against others, we as humans seek status. Multiplayer games encourage competition and exploit this behaviour. The brain is wired to seek reward. Another important ingredient that makes gamification so effective is the instant feedback factor. It can be hard to stay motivated when the goal we are working towards is far off in the future.
Let’s say you let your agents know that you want to achieve a customer satisfaction score of 90% this year. Even an agent who is constantly meeting this requirement might lose focus after a few weeks/months because all they see is a number that is in the future. At the moment there is no strong ‘why’ that is driving them towards it. Of course, supervisors can keep an eye on agents but, as mentioned earlier, motivation that stems from within is far more powerful and you would want your agents to be self driven. We need constant rewards and positive reinforcements that tell us we are on the right path so that we stay focused on our goal.
Call centers have a turnover rate of 25-35% while the average turnover in other industries is 15%. Agent turnover is a big challenge for call centres. High turnover rates can adversely affect the overall customer experience provided. As a supervisor or admin, you know how much effort and money goes into hiring the right agents and training them. All the resources spent would mean nothing if agents don’t stay on the job and deliver what is expected of them.
But let’s look at it from the perspective of the call centre agent, it's not easy to get rejected or face angry customers every single day. The work can get monotonous and decrease motivation of employees. The nature of the job is bound to drain one emotionally. And when an agent is indifferent to the work they do, it only reflects on the customer experience provided.
Another frustrating challenge for supervisors is gaining insight into the performance of agents, as a supervisor you might want to reward high performing agents to keep them motivated and provide support or training to low performing agents.
Gamification of the call centre provides an instant solution to this. You could create a leaderboard showing metrics such as :
Which agent has the highest call volume?
Which agent has the least hold time?
Which agent closed the most number of sales?
When you put up a leaderboard, the data is transparent. Friendly competition motivates agents to improve their performance. Competition can also be encouraged between teams by putting up a team leaderboard. As teams compete against each other, their performance increases thus ultimately benefiting the organization.
However, you must also be aware of the pitfalls on the metrics you choose to rank your agents on. For example if you choose to reward agents on basis of greater call volume, agents might not focus on actually solving the customer's issues, they could be in a hurry to get done with a call and move on to the next, affecting your first call resolution rates.
While gamifying your call center, it is recommended you link it to your goals. For example, if you seek to improve customer satisfaction as an organization, you could measure hold times, as lesser hold times correspond to more satisfied customers and accordingly reward agents with lesser hold time. With Freshcaller, you can obtain in depth analytics on a wide range of metrics that you would require to monitor performance. For instance when it comes to agent performance, with Freshcaller, you can get critical metrics such as average handle time, speed of answer and after call work time for each agent.
Microsoft wanted to recognize and reward agents, introduce behavioural changes which would boost productivity, more importantly they wanted to implement all this in a fun and interactive way. As they brainstormed, their go to solution was Gamification. Measuring various KPIs, Microsoft deployed leaderboards online and in the office spaces. This energized the agents and got them actively engaged.
The results were impressive with a return on investment of approximately millions of dollars.
Productivity - To garner more points agents began taking more calls resulting in a 10% increase in productivity.
Absenteeism - More engaged employees did not want to miss out and absenteeism reduced by 12%
It can be hard to have a sense of belonging when agents are spread out but gamification is a boon for call centres that have their agents spread across multiple locations or working from home. Let’s look at one such case.
Liveops - a call centre outsourcing firm with agents working from home used gamification to boost the morale and improve performance of its employees. Employees earned points depending on the number of calls they take, level of customer satisfaction etc these points were then displayed on a leaderboard online.
Those who participated in the programme saw a boosted performance of 23% compared to non participants.
Average length of agent employment doubled.
Gamification can be a great way to increase employee engagement and agent performance. Gamification holds greater significance in the call center industry where turnover rates are higher than average. Gamification is successful because employees feel in control, they are the ones making the decisions and when they feel there is something in it for them (the rewards), they will be more productive.
More engaged employees are less likely to leave, this way call center turnover rates can be greatly reduced translating to savings which otherwise would be spent on hiring and training new staff. Supervisors can also worry less about filling their seats and focus on actually improving their call center.
The two success stories of Microsoft and Liveops show effective gamification can be when implemented successfully. However only adding points or leaderboards to existing tasks may not produce the effects you desire. Gamification has much more to it, as it deals with human behaviour, which needless to say is complex — Gamification is 75% psychology and 25% technology.
Freshcaller’s built in analytics tab with its many metrics makes it easy to gamify your call center. Thinking of gamification in your call center but not sure how to start? We have put together 6 easy and ready-to-implement games for call centers.