Gaming the System: WFM Gamification in the Contact Center

Let’s play a game. It’s easy. Just answer two questions:

  1. How do you challenge your agents every day?
  2. How do you reward agents who meet those challenges?

Take a minute to think about it.

Now, those were kind of trick questions. Not because there’s some twist hidden in them, and not because we’re not going to give away the prize as promised. It’s because I did it to generate a specific kind of response in you, and to make a point.

If I was effective at it, here’s the response I got:

  • I bet at least a lot of you (I’d really bet most of you) perked up a little when you read the first paragraph. A game? A game means you can participate and win.
  • Many of you thought: is it going to be difficult? It turned out it was an easy game—in fact it’s something you do every day as you analyze your call center performance.
  • Then there was the reward. It wasn’t much, was it? Neither money nor fame. Only visible recognition in our blogosphere. And I’m betting that that was enough to get your attention.

Which takes me to the point I wanted to make.

What you’ve just experienced is gamification. We took the passive “blog reading” task and turned it into something you had a stake in. Not a giant stake, but a stake doesn’t have to be life changing to make it compelling. It just has to be enough to make you want to participate and want to be one of the winners. Our goal was to engage you in this blog. If you’ve read this far, we were successful.

That’s the principle, almost in its entirety, behind gamification, applied to your call center staff. Its intent is to amp up the level of engagement, participation and personal reward as part of their everyday work experience. It’s about making the work experience personal, about satisfying personal goals that at the same time make the business prosper.

Gamification taps in to some of the basic, positive factors that motivate people. Things like:

Challenges

People like to take on challenges. In the call center, those challenges can range from hitting a specified FCR rate to topping one’s personal best for call handling volume.

Competition

People like to face off against others, in a cooperative and positive way, and they’ll work hard to come out on top.

Rewards

People like to win something when they accomplish something. In the call center, there’s not just one winner. Anyone who achieves the goal or tops their own performance history is rewarded.

Acknowledgement

People like it when everyone knows they won. In the call center, each morning when agents log on, they see the results of yesterday’s games, the results of their own performance, and the new goals and challenges for the day.

That’s how you keep your staff engaged.