It was the start of a new fiscal year, and my team was pumped and ready to meet the lofty goals set for our contact center. To capture that momentum and further motivate my team, I launched a contact center gamification program-racing to the finish line. At the end of every day, each agent would tally up how many sales they got, and advance their car across the racetrack board in the common area. Then at the end of each month, the agent furthest along would win a Starbucks gift card. Genius!
For the first few days, all the agents were excited and moved their racecars across the board. However, after only a few weeks, I had a stagnant gamification board hanging in my common area. My efforts to motivate the team through gamification and incentives had totally flopped!
As I’ve visited contact centers, I see that there are still many contact centers that manually track and monitor agent performance for gamification purposes. However, the results usually mirror that of my contact center – a failed attempt to motivate and get to the finish line.
What went wrong?
I was earnestly invested in the gamification program, my agents were excited about earning incentives and recognition – so what went wrong? There were a few issues that limited the program’s success that could be easily mitigated in the age of cloud technology.
The program was manual
My incentive program was centered on daily sales. However, to understand daily sales someone had to manually run a combination of reports out of SAP each afternoon to accurately determine each person’s quantity. Then the results had to be manually shared with the agents and the racecars had to be manually moved across the leaderboard. You can probably already notice the issue.
Manual processes are time-consuming, inefficient, and unsustainable. Luckily these manual processes can be eliminated by implementing data aggregation, performance management, and gamification tools available today that automate the entire process. Managers can create the rules of their incentive and gamification programs on the frontend, and the tool will automatically track each agent’s performance, publicize results, determine the winners, and even host a virtual “store” for prizes.
The program only measured one aspect of performance
An agent’s overall performance is multifaceted. While agent sales were important in my contact center and aligned with one of three strategic goals, other performance indicators were equally important. Gamifying only one aspect of performance can be ineffective in driving performance and demotivating to some agents.
We had agents on the team that weren’t high performers in sales, but always led the way in Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and First Call Resolution (FCR). Thus, incentivizing only sales performance created an environment where winners kept winning and losers kept losing. This environment is demoralizing, and instead of elevating the sales performance of bottom performers, it can make them more apathetic.
Incentivizing multiple performance facets appeals to more agents, as they have more opportunities to win. Additionally, my gamification program was a metaphorical race, clearly indicating that there would only be one winner, and the results compared an agent’s performance against its peers instead of a specific goal. A more effective program would have set goals for agents to reach for multiple performance indicators – sales, CSAT, FCR, etc. -- at their own pace and be recognized or rewarded when they got there. Employees would then be motivated to reach the “finish line” regardless of their proficiency level in a specific area.
The program only offered one type of prize
When developing your gamification program, remember that everyone has their own unique preferences and motivators. To effectively incentivize my employees, I should have taken feedback related to the types of prizes they’d like. The weekly winner in my gamification program was rewarded with a Starbucks gift card. I love coffee – so everyone else must too, right?
Additionally, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach, I should have allowed the winning agent to pick their prize from a library of options, or even save up towards a bigger prize. This would have ensured that my agents were actually motivated, and ensured that our prize budget was effectively utilized. As mentioned, some cloud-based gamification tools provide a “virtual store” for managers to list possible prizes, tracking and facilitating the “purchase” of these prizes with coins earned through challenges.
Make Gamification Successful
We all know that gamification positively impacts employee engagement, performance, and retention – and as a result the bottom line. Successful execution can be a challenge without the right tools. Don’t make the same mistakes I did - explore a cloud-based performance management and gamification tool that will automate these process, incentivize your agents, and pay for itself in no time.