Badges and Ribbons Encourage a Motivated Agent Workforce

I want to take a moment to talk about something that concerns some people who are bringing Gamification—or considering it—into their call center workforce management. Badges. Ribbons. Medals. Those little icons on an agent’s portal that say “good job,” or “great job” or even “need improvement.” Some people think that, as a reward, they’re too weak, too trivial. But they’re not. In fact, they’re a great contributor to a consistently highly motivated call center workforce.

Here are some reasons why.
1. Badges take on larger, symbolic, meaning.
For a small graphic artist cost you can create highly personalized badges. But even the most generic of badges—the crossed ribbon and the loving cup—come to represent things that are important: personal achievement, team success and company recognition. When agents log into their personal portals, they instantly see that a silver badge has become gold, and carry around that sense of accomplishment throughout the work week.
2. They reward progress in a non-distracting way.
There’s a reason you use a badge instead of something bigger and extrinsic (for example, a gift certificate) as the main reward: a reason you keep things modest and low key. If the reward is symbolic, it keeps the agent’s eye on the real prize: performance. That motivates both individual and group behavior. You can add other, extrinsic rewards, such as an extra day off for topping the quarterly leaderboard. But you can’t make gamification about the quality of the reward itself. In that case, agents will be motivated, not by the reward of doing well, but by winning the prize (and that can lead to efforts to game the gamification system itself).
3. They show struggle and raise flags.
With badges, both agents and management can see at a glance which employees are having a struggle—dropping a level or staying flat at a lower level too long. Because you can establish badges for each discrete step of the call process—from number of calls to First Call Resolution to documentation—agents (and you) can better pinpoint exactly where the need is for additional training or counsel. And you can also spot those employees who are clearly not carrying the load and take steps to replace them.
But keep in mind that badges are personal. Because a badge shows not just success but struggle, each individual’s status should be monitored and viewable by management and by the agent. Additional training and or encouragement should be considered.
4. Internal recruiting.
When a slot does open up in your agent force, and it’s something you’d like to fill internally, badges help you make a good choice. An example would be an opening in the day shift. You might want to try first to fill it with an agent from one of your other, less desirable, shifts. Using badges to evaluate performance gives you a solid foundation to judge and select candidates.

5. Ongoing Evaluation.

Badges in a gamification WFM system also provide an ongoing evaluation of your agents. This allows you to quickly decide which agents should be positioned in key areas of your call center.

Those seemingly trivial badges become a significant part of the gamification process. In the ways I’ve discussed here, and in many others as well, they motivate, they reward, they create community, and they go a long way to improving call center productivity and outcomes.

You may also be interested in viewing our Metaphor SecurePay webinar. Metaphor SecurePay can help call centers reduce risk and fraud while limiting PCI scope. Watch our You Tube link of the webinar.