Gamification Four Best Practices to Motivate Call Center Agents
Illustration by Eric Jackson

A growing number of companies are using gamification in the contact center to motivate agents to improve their performance and skills. “We’re finding that these types of performance measurement tools allow agents to take control of their achievements,” says Christina Cowell, product marketing manager, Workforce Optimization at inContact. “Frontline agents become more accountable and proactive to enhance performance and meet and achieve expectations without supervisors needing to watch over them or remind them constantly about goals and performance.”

A key benefit to using a gamification platform for performance improvement is that it can encourage collaboration and a healthy competition among agents. Agents can see their progress in real time, as well as the progress of other members of their team and/or center. It also gives supervisors another vehicle for offering public feedback, recognition and encouragement to their teams.

For some employees, the public status and achievement associated with gamification models can be motivating by itself; others may need more tangible rewards. Contact centers can set up a shopping-type system in which agents can redeem points for things like bonuses, additional paid time off or preferred shifts, says Ken Falk, WFO technical product manager for inContact. “It can be a cost-savings measure, as well. Typically, you would have to pay a bonus to get people to work a certain shift, but with gamification, you can allow the true performers to float to the top and pick those premiere shifts. This can motivate your employees who are stuck in a less desirable shift to achieve each week’s trophy or goal in order to be eligible for that better shift.”

How can you ensure that gamification will motivate and engage your staff? Cowell and Falk offer the following best practices:

Know your audience. Find out what makes your employees tick. To get them to react positively to challenges, you must first understand what drives them to work toward a goal.

Make sure that the incentives are driving the desired behavior. If your objective is to improve Csat survey results, reward the positive behaviors that contribute to higher scores.

Celebrate the winners, but keep the challenges fresh and attainable for all employees. “If employees feel like they cannot succeed, they’re not going to help the team work toward that goal,” Cowell says. “It’s good to have a mix of team and individual challenges and goals, because not everyone works the same way.”

Create a friendly environment of competition in which you allow your employees to lift each other up, and not put each other down, says Falk. “Make sure that your goals don’t require one employee to fall for another to rise”; for example, awarding points to the top five as opposed to those who achieve a certain metric.

What’s on the gamification horizon? inContact clients can expect to see enhancements in the tool that will drive automated actions in the contact center based on agents’ performance management achievements, Cowell says. For example, when an agent has mastered a certain achievement, that information is passed to the ACD so that a company’s highest-profile customers can be automatically routed to the center’s higher-skilled agents.