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Call centre gamification: opportunities and threats

Regina Pazvakavambwa
By Regina Pazvakavambwa, ITWeb portals journalist.
Johannesburg, 09 Feb 2016
Computer games tap into the human psyche and get at the things that really motivate employees, says Verint.
Computer games tap into the human psyche and get at the things that really motivate employees, says Verint.

The rapid growth of gamification and the computer game culture are helping to create more efficient and profitable contact centres.

This is according to Graeme Gabriel, strategic back office workforce optimisation consultant at Verint, who notes computer games tap into the human psyche and get at the things that really motivate employees.

Gamification sees the use of game mechanics and design techniques to create a game-like experience in the enterprise. The main purpose is to make work more appealing, motivating, and fun while still meeting company goals.

Research and Markets predicts the gamification global market will witness exponential growth and post a profound market growth rate of more than 48% by 2019.

The growing need to improve customer interaction is a significant factor that is expected to foster market growth during the forecast period, it says.

Gabriel believes organisations can use the principles behind the games to communicate objectives and drive performance in call centres.

He suggests that employees be made the heroes in their game (jobs), where they feel they are building toward a cause or accomplishing something great.

"When organisations choose an employee of the month or reward the highest sales achiever, they are already using gaming principles.

"By using the processes around game mechanics and experience design, and incorporating the right technology, contact centres can now digitally engage and motivate agents to achieve their own, as well as the organisation's goals."

According to 1Stream, for the business, gamification offers an innovative tool to drive core key performance indicators strategies into the call centre, to align agents with management thinking, and decrease churn with agents becoming more engaged.

For the agent, gamification can offer a transparent way to be rewarded for meeting or exceeding company goals, he says.

Jed Hewson, co-founder of 1Stream, says call centres vary in size, sophistication and business objectives but most rely on the performance of their agents.

Also, because salaries make up 70% of the cost in a call centre, it is important that agents are productive and their work is of a minimum standard quality, he adds.

"Gamification solutions are designed to appeal to the culture of a younger generation and engage agents in a way that allows them to achieve recognition and rewards whilst achieving company key performance indicators targets."

"By receiving real-time feedback on their performance, agents instantly understand their value to the organisation, enabling them to take pride in the things they're good at, and to work on the things they aren't good at."

Contact centres need engaged employees with robust and flexible processes that support their interaction with customers, overlaid with an appropriate technology set, says Gabriel.

In SA, the contact centre industry has not embraced gamification to the extent it can be declared a success or failure, says Hewson.

But, gamification is seen by many operations management teams as addressing priority issues such as churn, shrinkage and shortage of mid-management skills levels, he adds.

The question of the success of gamification relates more to implementation of the solution than the system itself, says Hewson.

Design and strategy are crucial to the success of a gamification solution, he adds.