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There’s a right way and a wrong way to employ gamification for contact center agents.
Gamification is a hot topic in the world right now. It uses game design techniques and mechanics to steer participants towards certain goals by reinforcing actions or behaviors with rewards. For your contact center, employing games is an energizing way to get agents to meet specific time-based metrics, such as reducing average handling time (AHT) or first call resolution (FCR) rate.
Using gamification the right way keeps agents in the moment and focused on the daily, weekly or monthly goals that agents and teams need to achieve. The wrong way makes short-term goals the main focus at the expense of longer-term development. While immediate objectives and career development are not mutually exclusive, all too often contact centers place sole emphasis on the former. However, the right technology can play a part both in contact center gamification and developing agents professionally.
Games encourage friendly competition between teams, and even among agents on the same team. Contact center gamification technologies can be implemented within CCaaS solutions to give agents a fun way to track their progress from their dashboard. These take the form of leaderboards, which shows where agents or teams stand in relation to each other when tracking a given metric. Badges are also common to contact center gamification, giving agents a visual component to charting progress on team and individual goals.
Gamification for contact centers can also be home-brewed as well, using more analog forms of engagement. Leaderboards can take the physical form of posters or whiteboards displayed in prominent places, based on information from supervisor dashboards customized to critical brand metrics. This also allows for customization of games to agent-specific interests. For example, is the majority of one team auto racing enthusiasts? Design the leaderboard to look like a race-track. Even better — encourage agents to design their own “car” out of paper to mark their progress around the “track” of the leaderboard. In both cases, visual appeals to agent interests contribute to agent experience by making them feel seen and heard on a personal level, in addition to the fun of the game.
The key to making contact center gamification thrive is rewarding agents properly for achieving goals. Things like gift cards are a fun idea, and allow agents to treat themselves when their personal circumstances otherwise might not let them. With that said, employees always respond well to rewards that value their time and finances. Reasonable paycheck bonuses and paid days off in exchange for meeting a larger team goal are suitable rewards.
To make the agent feel especially rewarded, however, rewards that lean into their professional development go a long way. Prizes such as additional training time away from the active phones is a good start. Expanded responsibilities for agents help motivate agents to develop their skills, see the larger mission in a contact center’s work and more clearly understand their place in it. For example, make senior agents your team trusts “performance ambassadors” that attend training and share findings that help everyone link gamification to best practices. And yes, pay raises and promotions should be considered for consistent high performance. To maintain the legitimacy of customer service work as a viable career path, long-term rewards must be considered in an agent’s development plan.
Contact center gamification is a great way to break up the monotony of the workday and keep agents engaged on the goals at hand. It is not, however, meant to be a substitute for an agent development plan. The drive for short-term goals (such as reducing AHT) and long-term endeavors like professional development, should not be thought of as interchangeable. Long-term development plans should be in place for agents who consistently rise to the occasion on the contact center floor.
Contact center gamification without meaningful development is frustrating, and agents who feel directionless in their careers know it all too well. Using gamification to make contact centers more efficient solely from a metrics standpoint wastes the people skills that agents can bring to their position, leading them to look elsewhere. That feeds into another crucial issue — contact center turnover, according to Medallia, could run as high as 80% annually depending on the vertical. Setting a long-term career path has been cited as a means of fighting agent attrition, which consistently plagues contact centers the world over. There’s no reason for the pursuit of short-term goals at the expense of long-term development to continue. New technologies, such as cloud-based contact center platforms, not only provide new possibilities for contact center gamification, but they give agents practical training and experience on an evolving technology, giving you a leg up in the development game. The rest of the agent development plan, however, is up to the manager.
Even though it’s ideal to serve as many customers as possible, brands work in service of people, not numbers. Metrics aren’t everything, though the pressure to optimize them is real, which is where an Odigo CCaaS solution can help pursue the twin goals of meeting metrics and developing agents. Our highly personalized omnichannel bot can assist agents on simple queries across messaging, chat and voice channels, using natural language understanding (NLU) to respond with relevant information in a natural way. Moreover, they qualify calls to be sent to agents who can cement lessons learned in training, providing empathy-imbued CX while helping optimize for AHT, FCR and other metrics. With that said, make no mistake — the kind of quality CX that helps brands grow comes from authentic agent-customer interactions. To learn how Odigo can help your contact center reach your goals and develop that authenticity, arrange a call with one of our specialists.
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