How to Keep a Remote Contact Center Engaged and Productive
Now more than ever, companies are adapting or preparing their call centers to go remote. Many who explore this new territory are finding unexpected benefits of having a remote workforce, like cost savings, better employee schedule adherence, and broader talent acquisition. There are still concerns, however, around how to effectively maintain high levels of performance like:
- “How am I going to keep agents engaged?”
- “How am I going to keep agents productive?”
- “How will I maintain a strong company culture?”
- “How will I recognize and reward agents?”
- “How will I effectively monitor performance?”
An effective gamification strategy, based on measurable rules and metrics that align with a company’s goals, help address the concerns above. Gamification is more than a buzz word. Since the early 2010s, gamification has attracted serious interest from contact centers as a creative method to increase productivity. Gamification incorporates game elements into non-game environments.
In the contact center gamification encourages agents to develop a positive competitive race toward achievement among employees. Gamification is also a great tool for keeping remote agents engaged, productive and motivated.
Rewards are given to agents who successfully showcase improvement. Various individual metrics are used to determine improvement or achievements, such as:
- Average speed to answer
- Number of calls accepted, sales made, or appointments set
- Total talk time
- Number or calls to provide resolution for customers
- Total number of first call resolutions
- Ability to resolve issues without escalation of problems
- Customer-reported satisfaction or rating
An effective tracking system is needed to measure these performance metrics. When implemented properly, game elements motivate agents to achieve a higher level of performance without sacrificing quality. A system that tracks game results in real-time enables remote call centers to implement a gamification strategy no matter where their agents are located.
Misconceptions about Gamification
There are a lot of publications on the web that talk about the potential advantages and drawbacks of gamification. There are differing opinions, however, which can lead to misconceptions. Frequently ones include the following:
- Gamification is a game:
While it is true that gamification utilizes game-like elements, the two terms have different meanings. A game can be defined as an activity or competition people undertake for the sake of pleasure and without any conscious purpose other than winning or earning a reward.
Gamification is much more than a game. It is a business strategy. It utilizes people’s tendency to be motivated by competition and rewards. Its purpose is to encourage behavioral change in real-life circumstances such as work environments, education and social engagement.
- Gamification is a fad:
Distributing tallies, points, coins and prizes can be fun, but when a well-planned strategy is missing gamification can lose its effectiveness, which creates the perception of it being a fad. When deployed with a strong, automated strategy of how to handle coins, badges, rewards, level-up progression, leaderboards, teamwork, direct competition, and a reward marketplace, gamification benefits are sustainable.
Keep in mind, every company’s strategy requires a different mix of game elements to succeed. There are great success stories about how gamification has positively impacted businesses indicating that gamification is here to stay.
- Gamification is the solution to everything
As mentioned earlier, the efficacy of gamification depends greatly on strategic implementation. Simply offering badges, points, and level-ups does not guarantee positive outcomes. There are contact centers where gamification may not work in fact. There is the possibility that some of your most productive agents are simply not competitive by nature and gamification could undermine their contributions. It’s important to understand what motivates your employees and implement a strategy based on that.
Keys to Successful Implementation of Gamification for a Remote Contact Center
There are a few important factors that contribute to a remote contact center’s successful implementation of gamification and optimum results.
- Competition: In any call center gamification implementation, competition is the greatest motivation. Although agents won’t physically be together, make sure to set up teams to promote a sense of competition and camaraderie. Also, make sure agents are competing for coins or points that can result in meaningful rewards.
- Transparency: All agents must be able to access statistics, points, badges, and rewards earned by every participant in the competition. Transparency guarantees a sense of fairness.
- Real-time reporting: For gamification to be effective in a remote call center, real-time reporting is a must-have requirement. Agents need to be able to track their personal performance and see how they stack up against peers in real-time. Supervisors also need to be able to keep tabs on how their teams are progressing (or not).
- Oversight: To make sure that everyone competes in a professional manner oversight from management is necessary.
- Qualitative and quantitative measurements: Scoreboards and other quantitative records are the easiest measures to rank call center agents with. Qualitative metrics, however, such as written customer feedback or thank you notes from grateful clients can also be valuable. Include both types of measurements if possible.
Call center gamification provides a clear overview of agents’ performance in real time. Through professional competition, agents are motivated to outperform their coworkers in a work environment filled with healthy rivalry. A higher level of performance becomes easier and more pleasurable to achieve through well-controlled and properly supervised competition. At the end of the day, a strong gamification strategy will help remote contact centers sustain employee engagement, boost company culture, and consistently improve agent productivity.