Are today’s contact center agents more isolated? How gamification could help

For many organizations, the quality of their contact center agents is key to the success of their entire customer service strategy. That’s why it’s critical for businesses to stay focused, perfected, and committed to delivering a high-quality customer experience…

Gamification is one of the most powerful tools any contact center can use to train agents more effectively. This can help increase their involvement in any organizational or technological change that needs to be implemented and reduce the risk of agent attrition or absenteeism. Here, Gary Bennett, VP UKI/MEA/Northern Europe at Enghouse Interactive assesses the challenges contact centers continue to face in keeping agents engaged and feeling tightly integrated with their colleagues. It considers the impact on these frontline employees of spending time away from the main office or operations center, working in remote or hybrid teams, and examines how gamification can help keep them happy and engaged.

Team working

Building team spirit has been difficult for contact centers during the pandemic. Agents have often had to work from home, dealing with difficult customers with little immediate access to support. In a recent survey commissioned by Enghouse Interactive, 91% of contact center professionals surveyed said they were likely to leave their jobs in 2021.

With many agents still at home for at least part of the week, contact centers are looking for ways to increase agent engagement and boost morale, leading to growing interest in gamification as a way to motivate agents; improve their level of performance and generate better results.

The ultimate goal of gamification is partly to make work more enjoyable for agents, but also to spark their enthusiasm by giving them the opportunity to improve their performance and be seen more positively by their peers and managers, all the time, advancing the goals of the organization. This could relate to customer service, for example. Happier employees, after all, often lead to happier customers, which, in turn, can increase retention rates and customer lifetime value.

In the specific context of the contact center, gamification could be used to integrate typical game elements (e.g. leaderboards, points, badges, contests) into the day-to-day agent work, creating a healthy sense of competition , or getting workers to collaborate toward a common goal — around first-contact resolutions, for example, or overall customer satisfaction ratings.

Even the most routine administrative tasks can become much more engaging if reframed within the framework of a game, with agents competing to develop the most accurate or delivered reports in a given time frame. The key again is around healthy competition. Agents should never feel embittered at losing, but rather very proud that by doing their administrative work well, they are making a major contribution to the well-being of the team and the well-being and success of the whole company .

Set up a structure

The key to success with gamification is ensuring that the activities agents undertake are clearly linked to the overall goals of the company they work for.

Organizations should set goals for agents undertaking gamification and these should be based on key performance indicators (KPIs) of the services the business itself offers. Agents can be assigned individual or group goals – and to promote continued engagement, these should be intermediate and achievable goals within the gamification approach, as well as longer-term goals .

Gamification should never be a “one-time thing” either. For this to be effective, the company must continuously monitor agents, recognize their progress and achievements, and encourage their participation. They can create different leaderboards to match participants’ different skill sets and offer constant feedback based on points and positions.

They can send push notifications to the smartphones of agents playing the game with their latest ranking or a series of motivational messages.

Offering frequent prizes is another key approach to keeping agents and teams interested. Rewards can be delivered via codes that players receive in the app. The frequency of reward delivery depends on the needs of the game (weekly delivery is most common) and will not always be financial in nature.

Collect the rewards

Many companies have reported positive results from contact center gamification. In terms of the effect on the organization itself, some companies have reported significant increases in sales volume, sales quality, and campaign profitability. The approach also often has a considerable impact on the agents themselves, leading to both marked reductions in absenteeism and substantial increases in productivity levels.

The job of a contact center agent can be difficult and stressful and this has been particularly the case during the pandemic, when many have had to work from home, and some at least have felt isolated and disconnected from their colleagues. Many are also likely to have had to deal with difficult and emotionally charged conversations with stressed or anxious customers. In this context, gamification has had an extremely positive impact both in terms of advancing organizational goals and increasing agent engagement and morale, and given that we expect its use by contact center managers and their teams will increase further in the future.

About Enghouse Interactive

Enghouse Interactive is a subsidiary of Enghouse, a publicly traded Canadian company (TSX:ENGH), which provides enterprise software solutions focused on remote working, visual computing and communications for software-defined networks of new generation. The Company’s two-pronged growth strategy focuses on organic growth and acquisitions, which to date have been funded by operating cash flow. The Company is well capitalized, has nominal long-term debt and is organized around two business segments: the Interactive Management Group and the Asset Management Group.

Further information about Enghouse can be obtained from the Company’s website at www.enghouseinteractive.co.uk