The do’s and don’ts of gamification in the contact centre
Gamification, or the use of game technology in day-to-day business operations, is increasingly being used in contact centres. The goal is usually to increase employee engagement and drive the achievement of KPIs.
The promises possible improvements are often impressive, and yet it is not simply a matter of 'turning on' a game module. Without a well-considered strategy, there is a good chance that the results will remain well below the desired level.
In this blog we explain the how and why of gamification, providing tips that will help you to make it a success.
Gamification certainly has the potential to contribute to the feeling of engagement and motivation among employees, but why? This has to do with the fact that it stimulates the production of dopamine, a type of chemical reaction that makes us feel satisfied and rewarded.
How this works? Gamification is all about achieving easily obtainable goals. The dopamine released by achieving these goals stimulates employees in the following ways:
- It results in greater motivation, increasing productivity.
- The good feeling that dopamine causes makes us look for a repetition of it, consciously or unconsciously.
- It ensures that learning desired behaviour is experienced as something positive.
Research1) shows that gamification makes employees feel more productive (89%) and happier (88%) at work. This not only has a direct positive effect on the customer experience, but also on absenteeism and staff turnover!
1) TalentLMS: The Key Gamification Survey at Work
The latter is one of the most important arguments for applying gamification in the contact centre. The repetitive and often stressful nature of the work often leads to a decrease in motivation and engagement among employees, resulting in high turnover levels.
The costs associated with this are staggering, as it's not just about recruiting and training new agents, but also about the decrease in productivity and the impact on business results that this entails.
But in addition to using gamification to (indirectly) reduce absenteeism and staff turnover, it also offers opportunities in the field of:
- Increasing productivity – thanks to a reward system based on incentives and/or badges
- Dealing with difficult customer situations – practicing in a virtual environment helps!
- Training and coaching – for example when new processes or tools are introduced
- Measuring employee feedback – what are possible areas for improvement?
When gamification is used in the right way, customer contact employees become better at their profession, and they feel more engaged and motivated. Imagine the impact that has on the customer experience and business results!
Changing behaviour is fun
One of the benefits of gamification is that it makes training and coaching super-efficient because it's fun, simple, and motivating. This is in contrast to traditional training methods, which are often perceived as boring and monotonous.
Gamification not only motivates employees to improve their own skills and scores, but it also triggers competition within the team or even between teams. All kinds of incentives can be used for this, such as points, levels and badges, or even tangible rewards such as gifts or bonuses.
In addition, it provides insight into employee performance levels. It is not just an interactive KPI dashboard, but a tool that enables both the employee and their supervisor to monitor and steer performance and thus help change the behaviour of agents in a fun way.
But gamification only works if you stick to a few golden rules. The tips & tricks below will help you make gamification a success.
- Understand which behaviour you want to encourage – take the time for this upfront and make it really specific, so you have a clear idea of what the desired result is, and which primary behaviour plays a part in this.
- Know your players – know what motivates them, what keeps them from exhibiting the desired behaviour, and how you can specifically encourage them to take action.
- Keep it simple, but do provide variety – different game mechanics appeal to different personalities and motivations. Also, don't let a game last more than a month to keep it attractive.
- Explain the rules – make sure everyone knows how the game works and why it's important. At the same time, keep a limited amount of unpredictability to keep things interesting, such as occasional bonus points or badges.
- Provide immediate feedback – participants should be able to see their progress in real-time, for example via badges or graphs.
- Reward participants (also) with real prizes – this can be tangible prizes or financial bonuses when it comes to stimulating sales, but also, for example, an extra day off, a more attractive work schedule or – if gamification is used for learning new skills – a promotion.
- Ensure friendly competition – gamification should be social and provide a sense of belonging.
- Analyse the results – an advanced analytics platform helps to track and measure the behaviour you are trying to encourage.
- Watch out for unintended consequences – think, for example, of cheating or displaying other undesirable behaviour that is a direct or indirect result of the game.
In addition to these do’s, there are of course also some don'ts that you should try to avoid:
- Don't make it mandatory – not everyone likes games and competition, at least not in the workplace. You can of course lower the threshold by (also) creating levels that are attainable for everyone.
- Don't use negative incentives – gamification is about the positive experience. It should never lead to negative consequences in the workplace.
- Don't make gamification an end in itself – it's meant to support and reinforce a primary goal, such as improving the customer experience, speeding up the training journey or increasing sales.
- Don't forget your underperforming employees – not everyone is equally good at games; also reward non-sales related or intangible achievements.
- Don't limit yourself to the in-house team – also include home workers and external employees.
- Don't forget the supervisors – create a separate competition for them, for example between different teams or departments.
- Don't use gamification to 'camouflage' a malfunctioning product, service or process – it may work for a short while, but it isn't sustainable.
- Be careful with sensitive topics – although gamification can be used as a training tool for these, don't make it too light-hearted or frivolous.
The key to success
Gamification can most definitely make a huge contribution to improving contact centre KPIs and employee engagement. It promotes learning and creativity, and facilitates personal and social growth in the workplace.
At the same time, it is not a plug & play miracle cure. It's a great tool, but it's just one of many. It remains important to recognise and reward all top performers, even if they are not at the top of the leader board. It takes a well-considered strategy and ongoing analysis and monitoring to make sure no one is left out. So be flexible and know when adjustments are needed. That’s how to make gamification a success for your organisation.
Would you be interested to know more about gamification, or would you like one of our experts to accompany you when the business case is discussed internally? Then book an appointment now! We will be happy to help you.
Whitepaper ‘From cost centre to centre stage’
In our whitepaper ‘From cost centre to centre stage: the effect of employee satisfaction on the customer experience’ we focus on the employee. We look at factors that have a positive effect on their well-being, and what their impact is on the customer experience and the business results. Twenty pages of useful information that you can apply immediately.
How do you make your contact centre a success for employee, customer and management? In other words, how do you change it from a cost centre to the centre stage of the organisation?
Would you like to find out how to achieve this?
At DDM Consulting we believe that our customers benefit most from tailor-made advice, without preference for a particular product or specific supplier. That is why we offer a wide range of intelligent omnichannel contact centre solutions, delivered by renowned partners who are all specialists in their field.
How we work
Together with the client, we evaluate the current contact centre processes as well as the requirements and preferences for the new platform. We apply our years of experience to find the best match, and provide advice on the potential optimisation and automation of business operations, for example through the use of AI.
We naturally guarantee a successful implementation of the new solution, and ensure that all back-end systems are seamlessly (re)connected. After the deployment, we are at the service of our customers to offer advice and aftercare.
But we go one step further: time and time again, we push the boundaries of the chosen platform, and adapt it to the customer's specific business processes and needs. Our team has the business and technical expertise to achieve the maximum potential, even when it comes to an out-of-the-box solution. This is our way of ensuring that every customer makes optimal use of the capabilities of the chosen platform!
Our clients come from a wide range of sectors, from major financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies, to telecom operators, healthcare institutions, government agencies, retail, and media.
We have grown into a team of about 30 contact centre experts, and are mainly active in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. To be able to guarantee the highest quality, we continuously invest in the knowledge, training and experience of our employees.