Wednesday, February 21, 2018

"Follow the Leader", Featuring Patrick Russell

What are some gamification best practices you recommend, to ensure success?

Although the term “gamification” is relatively new the practices is as old as contact centers themselves. Prior to having software solve all our needs we used to “gamify” the workplace through peer or team competition. Often with some sort of corkboard display to track and monitor the completion and performance. I’ve managed and created large thermometer team games, car races, horse races, etc. all using nothing more than a corkboard and a little creativity. Here we will examine a few best practices with varying levels of cost and sophistication.

Gamification Technology
There are a handful of tech companies that offer gamification solutions but they’re not all created equal. The best in class solutions will aggregate data systemically from literally every piece of technology involved in your operation. This will expand the number of metrics you can leverage as ways to compete. These solutions should have easy to access and fun agent portals with individual, team and enterprise dashboard to make it easy for any level of user to see performance and competition trends. The true leaders in this space will have the ability for agent to earn badges (like a video game) for completing certain performance milestones and ideally allow individual agent to initiate competition with their peers without involved any member of leadership. I’ve used some systems that allow agents to wager “points” between each other based on achieving a defined goal fastest or reaching the higher level of performance for a given metric. The level of engagement that can be derived from systems like this is astounding. Imagine turning all of your agents into personal performance managers while simultaneously making their job more fun.

Gamification Practices
Nothing is worse than participating in something that isn’t fair or lacks follow through from the managing party. Earning buy in requires a lot of things and failure to maintain buy-in will result in a failed gamification effort. Any successful gamification practice will include these attributes:
  • Regular and dependable updates
  • Fair competition
  • Variables are almost entirely within the agents control
  • The prize is worth the effort
    • Not all prizes have to be monetary. Recognition, favorable shift preference, seating choice, and time off priority can all carry a lot of weight.

Gamification Planning
Regardless if you’re aiming to add technology or build an in-house (corkboard style) game for your agents to take part in its important that you have a solid plan and include a representative from all of the primary involved parties. So often I see programs initiated that just miss the mark and its often a result of not including input from a single front-line employee. Incentives, the process, even the theme should include input from all involved levels. Implementing a game can be as much fun as the game itself but you have to be inclusive.

Patrick Russell has over 15 years in the customer/client relationship industry. He has experience with large multi-site operations (300+ direct/indirect reports), process analysis/improvement, RFP development, SAP AFS interface/business lead and product/program management.

He has a deep understanding and experience with contact center technology focusing on improving the customer experience (Workforce optimization (Workforce Management, Quality Management to include speech analytics, Performance Management to include gamification)).

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