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How Gamification Can Help Call Centers Operate More Efficiently

How Gamification Can Help Call Centers Operate More Efficiently

[fa icon="calendar"] Aug 18, 2015 9:16:00 AM / by Oscar Giraldo

Oscar Giraldo

What is our definition of Gamification here at PlayVox? We believe that Gamification is just using data in a useful and smart way to drive people’s behaviors for the better.

Gamification can be applied in different industries. One of my favorites examples is the Gamification of Dancing, Just Dance, a video game that encourages players to imitate a pro-dancer on the screen. The system tracks your movements and provides feedback and points based on how you’re doing it. The scoring system measures the player's performance on the floor. Best moves win. That simple.

Applying this simple but powerful concept in a call center to encourage agents to improve their quality, productivity and effectiveness is a pretty good idea. Here is a video from Neal Topf, President of CallZilla a BPO call center outsourcer based in Florida, explains how Gamification have helped his company achieved an overall increase of 30% in agent performance."

Processes You Can Gamify In Your Call Center:

Call Center management is one of the most challenging and people intensive jobs I’ve ever seen-it’s what inspired my creation of PlayVox a few years ago. In order to illustrate how difficult is to manage a call center, I’ve made the following list with the common processes and problems call center manager needs to deal with every day:

Recruiting: Staff turnover at call centers is about 33% and can go as high as 70% at those with staff exceeding 1,000 agents. That means that you’re in ABR mode (Always Be Recruiting). Depending of why your agents quit, you will need to optimize your hiring process, but most importantly, find creative ways to retain your top performers.   

Training:  Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones. A Microsoft study highlights the deteriorating attention span of humans, saying it has fallen from 12 seconds to eight seconds. Getting 100 people trained in 3 weeks on product, procedures, tools, tactics and tricks to sell or support consumers is a far cry from easy.  

Coaching: In a global survey that SuccessFactors conducted in 2014 in partnership with Oxford Economics, 1,400 Millennials told that they want more feedback from their managers.  

In a Call Center environment feedback to call center agents should be hourly or at least daily.  

A company may get millions of calls about a product and must handle each one well. So if you’re delivering feedback to your call center agents every month (or even every week), you’re not giving them the data they need to improve in the next interaction with a customer.


Performance management: Activity trackers like FitBit or fitness apps like Nike+ are gaining popularity within consumers from all ages. Many runners and fitness fanatics have been quick to embrace wearable wireless tracking devices for measuring physical activity and calories burned. Now, a growing number of physicians are formally studying whether such "wearables" can improve patients' health by spurring people to get moving.

Consumer-grade products like FitBit, Nike+, Runkeeper are accustomed us to expect real-time feedback and data about our workout performance. However, in the workplace more specifically in call centers, most of the times agents did not receive information about their own performance as frequent as they will expect. If agents don’t receive frequent feedback, they typically won’t improve. Generally call centers send a weekly spreadsheet report by e-mail to agents, so here is a very big are for improvement in large and small organizations.

Employee engagement: In order to drive sales and provide great customer experiences, you must have an employee engagement strategy for your agents and supervisors.


“An employee’s discretionary effort results in the Engagement-Profit chain. Because they care more, they are more productive, give better service, and even stay in their jobs longer. All of that leads to happier customers, who buy more and refer more often, which drives sales and profits higher, finally resulting in an increase in stock price.” says Kevin Kruse on his Employee Engagement Research (Master List of 32 Findings)

Stats that matter:

  • Companies with high employee engagement scores had twice the customer loyalty (repeat purchases, recommendations to friends) than companies with average employee engagement levels (Source: Are They Really ‘On the Job’?, Pont).
  • In a major department store chain, customers scored higher in customer engagement measures when they were serviced in departments with employees who had high levels of employee engagement. (Source: Getting Engaged, Bates)

Customer Service Executives should have an employee engagement strategy, just as they have a CRM strategy. Call Center management is about empowering agents to engage with customers. Customer centric organizations know that engaged and well trained front-line employees makes contribute in more revenue and happier customers.

Quality management:

When agents feel empowered they provide better service and more engaging interactions with customers. A good quality program should help empower agents not just supervise them.

Celebrate agent success. When an agent provides exceptional service and receives positive customer feedback on a call, it can easily go unnoticed or recognized. Let your team recognize the great service by peers, supervisors and management. Agents that get the proper recognition for their exceptional service become more empowered and engaged—and this translates to more satisfied customers.  

This is an example of a Gamified Quality Scorecard. Provide agents with data in an easy to consume way so they can improve faster, build a self-managed culture in your call center using data that they can use to make decisions to improve the service they provide to customers.



Traditional models for quality and overall call center management practices have to change in order to run more efficient call center organizations. Employee engagement must be part of the corporate strategy. Agents and supervisors need to be empowered and recognized.

Gamification is a trend that is helping organizations think differently on how to manage their call centers. Technology is impacting our daily lives and trends like social media and gamification are a bit part of the innovative technologies being adopted by enterprises broadly.

How does your contact center measure up?

 

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Oscar Giraldo

Written by Oscar Giraldo

Founder & CEO of PlayVox - Entrepreneur on a mission to make call centers better places to work.

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