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Gamification – What it is, Why it works and How you use it

Introduction to Gamification

Gamification is not a new concept. We’ve seen it used in various guises  over the years, from sales teams recording the number of sales made and posting them for team members to see, to insurance companies gamifying the customer experience to build loyalty, Vitality being the perfect example with its point reward systems that rewards customers for staying active and healthy.

Gamification is particularly effective for engaging employees carrying out high volume and repetitive tasks, making it the perfect tool for Contact Centres, where employee attrition rates have historically been significantly high.

Employee engagement and satisfaction is no longer a nice to have and companies are starting to realise that their online presence (in the form of employee reviews) could cost them when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. However, ‘The Glassdoor Effect’ (from the Glass Door Company Review Website) has also given companies the opportunity to build up their appeal and sell themselves as a place where employees really want to work.

Gamification can help. In a recent study from TalentLMS showed that employees who participated in gamification felt more productive (89%) and happier (88%) at work. In the same survey, gamification also proved to support better training.  83% of those who received gamified training felt more motivated, while 61% of those who received non-gamified training felt bored and unproductive.

 

What is Gamification?

Gamification introduces game design elements into non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. It uses competition, points, achievement, rules of play, status and self-expression to encourage actions through positive feedback.

In Gartner’s words: “Gamification is ‘’the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals”."

It’s important to note that gamification is based on finding out what motivates people to perform by transforming something tedious and mundane into something fun and engaging. 

 

What are Game Mechanisms?

The components of a game are called game mechanics, and different sets with different combinations can be used to engage or motivate the user.

  • Fast Feedback
  • Transparency
  • Goals
  • Badges
  • Leveling Up
  • Onboarding
  • Competition
  • Collaboration
  • Community
  • Points

 

Why Does Gamification Work?

According to BJ Fogg’s behaviour model, three factors underline any human behaviour:

  • Motivation: the person wants desperately to perform the behaviour (i.e. he is highly motivated)
  • Ability: the person can easily carry out the behaviour (i.e. he considers the behaviour very simple)
  • Trigger: the person is triggered to do the behaviour (i.e. he is cued, reminded, asked, called to action, etc.)

In order for gamification to be successful, all three factors (motivation, ability and trigger) must converge at the same time.

For more information on the behavioural mechanics behind Gamification and whether it is right for your organisation, check out our article: “Gamification Part 1 - To Gamify or not to Gamify

 

Common Contact Centre Challenges that can be addressed with Gamification are:

  • Disengaged agents due to the repetitive nature of the job
  • Performance is measured by metrics such as Average Handling Times and First Call Resolution, which often limits flexibility in dealing with calls
  • Calls are often very repetitive, which makes it easy to lose interest in the task and quality to drop
  • Growth and learning opportunities are often limited with few incentives for agents to take part

Gamification is often looked at as a “win-win” scenario for both employees and the organisation. The team “win” because they get access to rewards ranging from extra holiday time to merchandise and prizes, and the contact centre “wins” because employees generally become more efficient as a result of the gamification contest and costs can be kept down.

 

What Gamification mechanisms help address contact centre challenges?

Gamification monitors an agent’s performance and rewards them with instant feedback when they have completed tasks successfully. For example, for every call completed within the designated AHT they get rewarded 50 points. This gets posted onto a leaderboard which helps motivate them with instant recognition.

Agents can be recognised and rewarded for completing training, which encourages agents to expand on their knowledge and expertise consequently providing better customer care. Moreover, with online training modules, agents can learn and expand their knowledge on multiple areas of the business giving them a better chance of career progression.

As agents become more empowered, the need to follow a set script is reduced, making the job more interesting, which means they are more engaged in their work.

 

How does Gamification support the bottom line?

A good gamification program can have a dramatic impact on the overall cost of running a contact centre. For example, if CSRs become more efficient (handling more transactions than before), fewer reps are needed as a result.

Contact centre can handle the same amount of enquiries with fewer staff if a good strategy is put into place. It is therefore critical to make the program “worth it” for those involved. Call centre employees aren’t going to press harder every day for a simple lunch coupon. They will work harder for an extra couple of days of holiday or a monetary gift card.

 

How Do You Create a Strong Contact Centre Gamification Strategy?

1. Objective and fair KPIs are critical when devising a gamification strategy. Stick to measurements that can be easily obtained, are fair across all departments, and have little to no judgment involved in order to avoid bias. For example: 

  • handle time
  • talk time
  • ACW time
  • QA scores  
  • attendance
  • sales numbers

2. There needs to be an element of competition which can be in the form of individuals vs. one another, or groups competing against each other. Either way, it’s important to show everyone involved where they stand amongst their peers, giving them the opportunity to improve and overtake the other teams.

3. The reward needs to fit the effort and be something that the team values. Whether you decide to do a monthly goal, a weekly goal, or even a daily goal, the reward for winning needs to be something that the team will want and be willing to work for repeatedly. 

 

Image source: https://www.cognizant.com/whitepapers/gamification-for-insurers-a-practitioner-s-perspective-codex2268.pdf

 

Tips on Successful Gamification Programs

Start small and work out the kinks

  • Don’t release a program to the masses unless all the bugs have been worked out. Start testing your gamification program with a smaller group.

Look outside your KPIs

  • Anything that can be counted can be turned into a game (Absences, Internal Kudos, Upsells, etc.)
  • Customers can be “Gamified” as well with loyalty programs

Make sure your employees don't burn out

  • CSRs already have a stressful job, so make sure that whatever game is implemented doesn’t create more stress for the employee and that there is no punishment for not meeting gamification goals.

Use your Workforce Management solution

For more information on how to put together a Gamification strategy, check out our article on “Gamification Part 2 – Putting Together a Strategy

 

What Makes a Gamification Strategy Different from Just Writing Goals on a Whiteboard?

Keeping up with gamification can be a very manual process. You need to run reports, maintain a leaderboard and distribute the information to everyone involved. Consolidation and distribution of gamification data should be an automatic process with the least manual intervention possible. Finding the right Workforce Management software that handles this process is a critical component to a successful gamification strategy.

For example, With Teleopti’s gamification module (the first vendor worldwide to introduce a game-like environment in a workforce management solution), contact centre agents are positioned as players of a game. The system with which the game is based on, rewards performance (by awarding gold, silver and bronze medals) – based on pre-determined parameters and metrics. As well as this, the contact centre manager/supervisor is able to upload their own key metrics in alignment with business goals and set games for different periods e.g. ongoing, monthly, weekly or daily!

For more information on how to implement Gamification with Teleopti, check out our blog: ‘Humanise the Workplace Series (Part4): Gamification’

 

Is Gamification Worth It?

In conclusion, Gamification doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can create huge gains in the contact center by keeping staff motivated. It is however, important to implement the right strategy for Gamification to be work.

Want to take it a step forward? Download the whitepaper: Gamification: Getting Started with a Real World Strategy