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Training & DevelopmentPeople Management

Three Keys for Improving Agent Performance with Gamification

By Patrick Hall, Uptivity

By Patrick Hall, Uptivity

MORE AND MORE enterprises have experienced how gamification stimulates a friendly competitive spirit and positively reinforces staff to achieve higherquality performance and greater productivity.

According to 1to1 Media, “Gamification is a new concept in employee engagement that is gaining popularity as a solution to improve performance and retain good customer service agents” (“How Gamification Can Inspire Productivity in the Contact Center,” www.1to1media.com). Indeed, 88% of organizations are now running competitions at work (“How to Use Gamification to Motivate Your Agent,” www.icmi.com).

Given increasing adoption of gamification, Gartner predicts 70% of Global 2000 businesses will be managing at least one gamification application in 2014 (“Innovation Insight: Gamification Adds Fun and Innovation to Inspire Engagement,” www.gartner.com)

With gamification being widely adopted, contact center managers may be confident in applying gamification to improve agent engagement, motivation, performance and retention.

Three Keys to Success

Key #1: Identify key performance goals most important to your organization’s success, and design your gamification practice to support them.

threekeysCenter leaders need to know what is required to improve productivity and quality. Typically, they find out by using workforce optimization systems with analytic reporting that help identify opportunities for gaining efficiencies and effectiveness.

Once they know where specific areas needing improvement are, they can structure achievement programs to encourage agents to excel in those areas. Leaders can, for example, incorporate key performance measures, such as QA evaluations into achievement targets. Typical targets are high QA scores, such as an average score over 95%, top ranking on script adherence, perfect attendance, all positive customer survey feedback and timely training completion. Managers define achievements and recognize high performance with point scores.

“By defining goals and recognizing accomplishments that improve the customer experience, gamification incents agents to deliver exceptional service,” explains Barry Knack, Uptivity’s director of education. “Appealing to a multigenerational workforce accustomed to playing digital games, gamification boosts morale, engagement and motivation.”

Key #2: Display contest results to acknowledge and reward top performers.

Making results of achievement contests visible creates friendly competition, fosters camaraderie and keeps agents engaged. Announcing awards and game standings automatically via alerts and dashboard updates stimulates involvement, motivates agents throughout their shifts and gives timely feedback to top performers. Publicized awarding of points and badges is not distracting. In contrast, by striving to earn recognition for improvements, agents contribute to organizational success.

Consider points and badges as rewards that agents receive for meeting goals. Agents will seek to earn awards that recognize them and will stimulate their peers to make similar improvements.

Leaderboards are valuable for showing cumulative performance scores in rank order to reinforce competitive spirit engendered by specific contests. This ongoing improved performance reporting helps to maintain alignment with your key goals for success.

Key #3: Keep gamification structure flexible.

Keeping achievement definitions flexible ensures that agents who perform outstanding work are rewarded. Leaders should create custom achievement types and define performance qualities and targets that recognize unanticipated, unique achievements. When achievements support goals, flexibility enables leaders to reward agents and groups for making unanticipated improvements that deserve recognition but were not included in a defined contest.

Game Time!

Motivating agents to meet and exceed performance standards consistently is certainly challenging. But, most agents respond well to competing to improve their performance relative to standards, past performance and peers. Contact center who have adopted gamification successfully know that agents will embrace “gamified” work particularly when recognized and rewarded for work improvement achievements. A gamification practice can energize a workforce to outperform. So, let’s start playing!

– Reprinted with permission from Contact Center Pipeline, www.contactcenterpipeline.com


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