As I search and scroll through the feeds of the social media networks that I manage, I am seeing a trend rise in the contact center industry: gamification.
Gamification is the idea of using methods that work out to be like a game in the pursuit of accomplishing a work-oriented task, problem solving, or as a way to boost engagement. Many other industries have incorporated gamification into their business practices as they directly target their consumer base. In the contact center, this can be a huge tool for obvious reasons. Contact centers tend to get a bad rap just because of the nature of the work. Every once in a while, we hear of contact centers that outshine the competition, but that is because of the methods they employ, such as gamification and other non-traditional business approaches.
At Incept, we fully embrace positive competitiveness and love to play games with our Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs). Not only does it make the day go by faster, but it really does keep our employees engaged. Needless to say, when a CME is fully engaged in their calls with their donors or customers, they are going to have an easier time producing meaningful conversations and reaping positive results for our clients.
What your contact center stands to gain
- Increased employee engagement. The great thing about gamification in the contact center is that it can bring quiet employees “out of hiding”, especially in a work environment where most employees call desk their home base. When I was a Team Captain and would essentially help run my team on a night when my Team Leader was gone, I used gamification as a way to keep my whole team attuned to what it was that I was asking them to do. A popular and easy way that we had games in the rows were with the help of a whiteboard and dry-erase markers. Hangman was usually the game of choice. If my CMEs were able to get an appointment, they would get a guess at the puzzle and could ultimately win an extra break while I took their calls for them. It motivated them to not only press for their own performance but to keep tabs on their peer’s performance. When the going got tough, it really helped us pull together as a team to accomplish our goal before the night was over.
- Increased self-accountability. It is always a great thing for management to notice when an employee takes their own success seriously and grabs the wheel. In our contact center here at Incept, CMEs will keep tally marks when they hit desired call metrics that we are pushing for performance and productivity. With our blood bank division, we try to aim for making an appointment for a blood donor to donate over the phone with us, and we will mark a tally if we scheduled that donor within 10 days of talking to them, if we scheduled that donor at a client-desired location (such as a donor center), and if that donor met a specific blood donation type. Many metrics can be implemented into this practice, but the key to tally marks is that it keeps our employees aware of their performance to that day, and it gives them something visual to base their performance off of rather than just a percent-to-goal.
- It is an easy way for management to develop positive professional relationships with employees. When you come to work with the idea that your boss is going to play a game with you that day, it can make it a lot easier to be there! Keep in mind, a call-center employee does have a stressful job. Talking to hundreds of people every day, repeating scripts thousands of times per month, and the wear and tear of conversations can really leave you feeling tired at the end of a productive workday. When you have a positive boss that encourages you to do your best through something as simple as playing a game in between calls, that can help alleviate some of that stress. Not only does it do a good job at reducing angst, but it can also make an employee want to work harder as they begin to feel like they are more of a core member of the team they are on.
The relationship between a manager and his or her employees in a contact center is so important, because the idea behind the team concept we employ at Incept is that we are all part of one unit and we have no limits.
In what ways do you practice gamification among your own employees?
Image Credit: http://www.corpevent.com/