Call centres have been relatively early adopters of gamification to motivate their employees. I would even say from my experience in my student days in technical support and subsequent coaching and training businesses, that some call centres already differentiated themselves in the positive by looking after their employees. But we still receive the question, what should a call centre focus on in gamification for their employees?
The first and rather obvious answer is the employees. For a lot of call centres the focus is first KPI’s and then employees, so I would say for gamification to work well let’s flip this equation and focus on employees first. What are the employees motivated by in their on the job tasks and the benefits the job may create.
For example, a customer service agent for an airline may like a happy ending at the end of their call with a customer and at the same time they find it motivational to track their progress towards travel related bonuses. So if this was the case then in the gamification design we would create shout-outs to the agent every time the customer also gave them 4 or 5 stars at the end of call survey and give an indication how their work is contributing to their travel benefits.
Understanding motivation at an individual level is key. Surveys and observation can give an initial baseline. Then allowing for their preference setting over time and options to choose from, may finetune these. Think about it in a similar way to an Amazon store refining what you are shown over time and please do it with their permission.
If you find the same motivational factors exist amongst larger groups, then make those visible on the statistic dashboard. I could imagine a team seeing the number of happy customers, leaving those 5-star ratings, increase on a real-time basis, also aiming for more of the same, when they are motivated by those very indicators themselves. Some call will not hit the big numbers and that is a fact of call centre life, seeing that others are still achieving it in your team will give you hope that you can too. Oh and just to be 100% clear this is a team statistic, not a named individual one.
Key customer indicators
Most organisations will have a few things their customers expect from them such as call efficiency, finding solutions to their problems or answers to their questions, amongst others. Knowing what your customers want and expect and what would constitute expected +1 is a great yardstick.
For example, if a customer places an order, they expect to receive the parcel with the product in good condition. I think this goes without saying these days, but then the +1 could be a personalised note on how to use it best or a call in the 24 hours that follow receipt to check if it is all working correctly.
I would even argue for changing the wording of call centre key performance indicators to customer expectation ratings and mapping them along the lines of what customers would expect. In most roles, it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to dream up new wording.
When I worked in call centres, I used to wonder how my manager knew whether I was doing a good job or not. One performance review, I asked him how he knew and he explained the typical indicators he was looking at. I have to say in those days they came from excel sheets with formula’s he didn’t create. But if I had them in a dashboard so I could monitor and knew what to aim for, I could have probably done even better.
With today’s gamification platforms, the feedback dashboards can give an agent a lot of good information on their performance and keep them on track to achieve their best day. It can also be useful to see progress over time and how I perform in comparison with my direct teammates.
Team targets and benchmarks
In some cultures, team achievement supersedes, individual performance and there team goals would be much more effective. Celebrating together is often also much more fun. Having a single winner of a competition, may cause a bit of envy and potentially discouragement for others, but maybe also a bit of competitive spirit to do better next time.
Giving individuals and teams benchmarks as to how they compare with others is a positive idea. You can achieve this with leaderboards or you can simply show how a person or team is doing against the company average.
My last top-tip for call centre gamification, however, is to co-create it with your employees. Let them have a say, it will give you probably more ideas and spur on a bit of motivation too. Get them involved in the design phase, then have them give feedback on pilots and continual improvement for future iterations. Keeping gamification updated and fresh should follow similar trends as fashion with seasonal campaigns and then some core basics that remain. So there will always be scope to have them give input.
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