More engaged customer service agents lead to better customer experience. The problem with most contact centers today is the lack of engagement and motivation by agents. Agents often have no idea how they are performing until they do something wrong and their manager pulls them aside. Empowering agents with real-time performance feedback and incentivizing them with positive reinforcement through gamification is a proven method for business results. In fact, research by Aberdeen Group shows that gamification is a “cost effective” way to incentivize customer service agent performance.
“Gamification” became a big buzzword in 2012. More than 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies said they planned to use gamification for marketing and customer retention. In 2018, a lot of companies are also now using gamification to drive employee engagement.
But perhaps nowhere is gamification more powerful than in customer service—that is, using games and competition to increase visibility into such things as call center rep productivity, feedback, and efficiency, thereby improving performance and retention, and ultimately your bottom line.
For a large contact center, just a 1% increase in customer satisfaction translates to millions of dollars more in revenue. This means any tool that provides tangible results in customer satisfaction is an investment in your brand with high return.
New Customer Expectations, New Service
To truly understand the importance and value of gamification in today’s call center environments, it would help to first take a look at how the relationship between a brand and its customers has changed over the last few years.
Before, as in five to 10 years ago, marketing (ie, the company) controlled the brand reputation and image via its campaigns. Now, thanks to the proliferation and ubiquity of tablets and smartphones and their myriad “touchpoints,” it’s really the customers and their interactions with your brand that actually end up becoming your “brand.”
It’s a scary proposition, for sure. I’m saying that your customer service is not just for “service” anymore—it’s for your whole brand image. And I’m not the only one saying this.
“The customers kind of control what your brand is, and every single interaction that your customer has with you matters, and makes an impact on that brand,” said Jon Aniano, SVP of Product Management at Salesforce.
This new interface between the company and the customer occurs 24-7 and through various channels, from mobile to social to web, turning the contact center rep into a sort of friend who is always there for your customers and can anticipate their every need and whim.
“Your customers, whether it’s in the sales process or the service process, are asking you for more,” Aniano said. “They expect to text with their sales rep or text with their customer service department the same way that they text with their friends and family. They want to connect over Facebook Messenger. They want to use What’sApp. They expect 24-7 service on the channel where they want to interact with you, and all of this kind of leads to sales teams and service teams specifically being asked to do more.”
But how, in this new and incredibly demanding customer-brand relationship, can you enable your contact center reps to do more? To perform their best and also stick with your company and push through the tough times?
As it turns out, gamification is one of the most powerful if not the most powerful tool in your arsenal. Why? Because all of this new technology and all of these new touchpoints and interactions actually provide ample opportunity for one huge thing: GETTING OODLES OF DATA. Which you can turn into VISIBILITY. Which you can then turn into PERFORMANCE and LOYALTY.
And that’s what gamification gives you: data, visibility, performance, retention.
The Benefits of Gamifying Your Call Center
Leveraging gamification to motivate contact center agent performance is incredibly effective and powerful for the following reasons:
At its most fundamental level, gamification incentivizes your agents to perform better because they can see what’s going on with their own performance and that of their peers. Making a competition out of it becomes fun, and when it’s clearly visible in real time who is doing the best, reps are incentivized to up their game in order to get their names up there on that leaderboard.
Gamification empowers your service reps by allowing them to see and measure their own progression and KPIs in real time.
3. Recognition and morale
When you can use gamification to know who has exceeded his/her target KPIs and reward that person accordingly, it’s a big morale-booster. Gamification also removes the perception of favoritism because everyone’s performance can be clearly seen, recorded, and displayed.
All of the above—incentivization, empowerment, recognition—make for happy call center reps, and you already know that happy reps stay longer. In some cases, keeping an agent on board for just two or three months longer is enough to pay for the entire gamification investment.
It’s Your Move
When you consider all of the above, you have to conclude that call center gamification is here to stay, which means your new worry shouldn’t be if you should do it but when and how soon, because you can bet your competitors are getting their beaks wet, too.
It’s a whole new world out there. The customer is king. The customer’s interactions with your brand also define your brand, which means your contact center agents have to be on point. They need visibility to stay motivated to deliver great customer experience.
Gaming, once confined to “consoles,” has entered the business world. Get started here.
Steve Sims is VP of SPM Products at CallidusCloud, customer feedback and customer experience solutions expert.
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