In the high-pressure call center industry, agent engagement is a persistent challenge. Reps are under pressure to meet growing customer expectations, deliver excellent service in every interaction, and, increasingly, hit targets for upselling and cross-selling. Could call center gamification be the answer
By leveraging gaming-related elements, you can alleviate some of this pressure and turn tedious tasks into exciting challenges. This creates opportunities to boost morale, improve agent performance, and make work a little more fun, while also enhancing customer experience business metrics.
Let’s explore the steps you can take to implement gamification in your call center and add a little bit of play to your work.
Gamification involves using elements and technology typically associated with gaming to reinforce positive employee behaviors and boost productivity. These elements include competitions, leaderboards, point systems, and more.
In a call center, it is usually deployed to address issues like low morale, agent disengagement, and lagging CX and sales metrics. When done right, it’s a win-win for call center management, leading to happier staff and stronger KPIs, with 57 percent of managers stating that gamification improves performance.
Research shows that the global gamification market is projected to reach $96.8 billion by 2030, so it’s clear that this novel approach to agent engagement is becoming more commonplace throughout the industry.
Pretty much any aspect of contact center operations can be gamified. It all depends on the specific goals of your organization. Some will be more concerned with improving specific metrics, while others may want to gamify the overall learning process.
Training and coaching, as well as onboarding, naturally fit the gamification model. You can incorporate certificates, badges, level progression, and more to encourage structured learning for both newcomers and long-term staff in need of a refresher.
You can also use games to improve different aspects of employee performance. For example, you could set incentivized individual goals for making a specific number of calls or a team-wide target to improve first call resolution.
There are plenty of novel ways to incorporate gamification in your call center, but some tried-and-tested approaches can be best to get started and develop an understanding of what motivates your agents.
It’s a classic for a reason—nothing sparks competition quite like a leaderboard. A ranking system makes call center gamification visible and motivates agents to try and outperform one another. You can even put up screens in the office to keep it front of mind for your staff.
A leaderboard can track any target you choose, whether it’s sales or successful customer interactions. It’s also a useful way for call center managers and supervisors to quickly assess performance levels and determine who needs extra support.
When you want to motivate employees to achieve a specific goal or reach a milestone, you can tie these targets to a points system. This encourages focus and allows you to prioritize agent workload depending on your call center’s needs at the time.
You can display these points on a dashboard, send notifications for different achievements, and reward agents with badges when they hit defined targets. For example, if your focus is increasing sales, you could award badges for hitting 50 cold calls, 100 cold calls, and so on.
In a similar vein, assigning challenges to call center agents, or even an entire team, enables you to focus on specific business aims. Challenges can be short- or long-term, but they typically have a simple, clearly defined objective.
You might challenge your team to clear the call center callback queue in less than 2 hours, or put up a reward for the first person to achieve 10 successful upsells. Making the challenges time-sensitive is especially useful if you need to hit targets by the end of a week/quarter.
By running simulations of common real-world scenarios, you can help prepare and empower your agents, equipping them with the tools they need to deliver successful outcomes during their next customer call.
A simulation can cover anything you want, from cold calling to query resolution. Whatever it is, make sure you’re simulating tough scenarios. A practice run at handling an angry customer will help your agent remain calm when faced with the real thing.
Call center gamification often rewards individual performance, but remember that team-based competitions can be useful too. Dividing your agents into teams and devising challenges can foster healthy competition while also encouraging teamwork and collaboration.
These challenges can be one-off or long-term, depending on your needs. Maybe it’s a one-day event where the team with the most query resolutions by 5pm wins, or it could be a prize for the team with the best CSAT score at the end of the quarter.
No, not crypto. We’re talking about your own company currency! By developing a currency, and even a banking system, as part of your call center gamification strategy, you can get your agents to commit to the process on a long-term basis.
With this approach, you can put a price on rewards according to their value and allow agents to save up for the biggest prizes. If the rewards are really worth it, this system may even encourage agents to stick around for longer than they would have otherwise.
Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of trivia? Whether it’s individual or team-based, quizzing your agents can add an element of fun to your learning process. This doesn’t only encourage engagement, it also improves knowledge retention and career development.
You can deploy a quiz at any time, whether it’s a one-off event or a test at the end of a training day. From a leadership perspective, the results will also give you insights into agent weak spots, so you can adjust future training accordingly.
Adding gamification to your contact center can improve everything from agent engagement and productivity to customer service and sales metrics. Whatever you want to achieve, you can tailor your strategy to align with your specific business aims.
Call center gamification can enhance agent engagement and, as a result, increase productivity in your contact center. With the incremental incentives on offer, you’re always keeping agents invested in their own performance levels and pushing them to achieve more.
With call center performance reviews only taking place once or twice a year, gamification is a way to foster an environment of real-time feedback and continuous improvement. Using elements like leaderboards, badges, and rewards, you’re giving agents a reason to stay engaged.
Employee turnover is one of the biggest challenges in the call center industry, and low agent engagement is a big driver of churn, with disengaged reps 84 percent more likely to think of quitting or be looking for a new job.
Call center gamification, as noted above, can improve staff engagement which, in turn, improves agent retention. The biggest predictor of disengagement is lack of goal clarity, and gamifying tasks can help define targets while also adding a sense of achievement via a rewards system.
Culture is critical to success. Companies with distinctive cultures are 48 percent more likely to see an increase in revenue, 80 percent more likely to see an increase in employee satisfaction, and 89 percent more likely to see an increase in customer satisfaction.
Gamification improves call center culture by contributing to an environment where positive behaviors are rewarded, tedious tasks are reframed as exciting challenges, and the more difficult work aspects are minimized in favor of a fun approach.
Gamifying your call center is a way to help foster collaboration and teamwork in an environment where workers may feel isolated in the role. You can do this by providing single targets for the entire team or diving agents into smaller groups with specific aims.
This approach to gamification can be especially useful for call centers with a lot of remote agents. The remote working model can present challenges when it comes to fostering a sense of community, and team challenges can help overcome this.
62 percent of agents want ongoing training but, on average, call centers only allocate 10 days or fewer to training on an annual basis. With this disconnect, it’s important that leaders find ways to incorporate more training opportunities in the day-to-day.
Gamification not only allows management to meet the demand for training opportunities, it also improves learning outcomes and boosts knowledge retention. With more frequent opportunities to learn, and a rewards system, agents are incentivized to study more.
Before submitting a job application, 82 percent of people consider the employer’s reputation and brand. Things like salary and whether or not remote working is available still matter, of course, but it’s clear that culture plays a part too.
People want to work for exciting, engaging organizations with a positive culture—this applies to both prospective hires and existing staff. With gamification in your call center, you can cultivate an ethos based on growth, learning, teamwork, and an element of fun in the workplace.
Benefits of Call Center Gamification
So we’ve discussed the benefits—engaged agents, increased productivity, lower churn—now let’s look at some call center gamification tips to get you started.
Before you gamify your call center processes, you should clearly define why you’re doing it. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve and make sure the objectives within your gamification strategy are tied to your business aims.
For traditional call center metrics like CSAT, first call resolution, or average handling time, you would create challenges around these KPIs. To boost productivity, you might focus more on service level or number of cases handled per day.
Whatever it is, make sure it’s clear, specific, and measurable. You need to be able to track progress and determine whether or not call center gamification is having the desired effect. This way, you can change your approach if necessary.
There’s no point setting unrealistic targets and dangling a carrot that’s always out of reach. If your agents cannot realistically hit their targets, then gamification could actually damage morale.
On a similar note, you want to make sure that you spread the winnings around. If it’s the same top performing agents being rewarded repeatedly, the rest will disengage and lose focus. Reward steady improvements as well as big achievements.
Before you start playing Monopoly for the first time, it’s a good idea to have a look through the rulebook. Call center gamification is the same. To fully participate and be in with a chance of achieving their aims, your agents need to understand the rules of the game.
Outline exactly what’s required to win and the steps they must take to get to the finish line. This way, everyone has a fair chance. Be specific with your criteria and also communicate when and how the winner will be announced.
To motivate agents, you need to offer meaningful rewards. Some common rewards include gift cards, subscriptions, scheduling priority, extra time off, better parking spots, and more. If you’re not sure what to offer, ask your agents directly and use the most suitable suggestions.
If you’re worried about the added cost of providing these rewards, look at it this way—the average cost of turning over a rep is $14,113. If gamification prevents even one agent from churning, it will likely have covered its own cost and then some.
You want to keep your rewards proportional to the achievement. For a one-day cold calling challenge, a small gift card for a coffee shop or an extra break will suffice. Finishing top of the sales leaderboard, on the other hand, might require a bigger prize like an extra day off.
You can also reward team performance with a social event or an off-site trip. Finally, if you’re in a tight corner and you really need to motivate your agents, you could offer the ultimate prize… the chance to sleep in on a Monday morning.
Feedback is an important aspect of call center gamification. By encouraging your agents to share their thoughts, you can develop an understanding of what is and isn’t working and what you can do to improve things. Try organizing focus groups and sending out surveys.
It’s also important that you take the next steps and act on this feedback. In doing so, you’re showing your employees that you value their opinion, further boosting engagement and morale.
As with any other call center function, evaluation and iteration are key to ensuring continued success. By analyzing changes in KPIs and listening to the aforementioned agent feedback, you can determine the success of your call center gamification strategy.
Remember that you can have too much of a good thing. Using games for every little task can actually make work more tedious and worsen staff morale. Make sure you’re deploying it strategically and quality monitoring agent sentiment over time.
How to Successfully Implement Call Center Gamification
There are a ton of games you can use to add some fun to your call center, but we’ve handpicked a few of our favorites to get you started.
Bingo is a classic, and most people will be familiar with the rules, so it’s a handy starter game for your call center. You can be specific and focus on KPIs you want to improve and agent behaviors that you’d like to encourage, or keep it broad and varied.
For example, if you want to improve first call resolution, you might include “FCR above 75 percent” on your bingo card. If customer experience is a priority, another square might say “call abandonment rate below 5 percent.” You can provide small prizes for individual squares and a big prize for checking off every box on the grid.
A leveling-up system promotes agent growth and is particularly useful for improving learning outcomes in your contact center. With this approach, you allow agents to ‘level up’ once they complete a training module or section.
You incentivize this by offering privileges for reaching new levels. This could be extra breaks, priority when it comes to shift selection, or even a cash reward for bigger milestones. Another approach is to reward agents with points for progression so they can build up points over time and ‘spend’ them on rewards.
Trivia is a versatile call center gamification tool. You can conduct a random session at any time and pick the topics that suit your needs. Maybe you’re launching a new product, and you want to educate the sales team? Just drop in trivia timeouts in the weeks leading up to the launch.
You could use the framework of shows like Jeopardy or Family Feud to add an extra layer of fun and encourage agent participation. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even assign an agent to play the role of host and quizmaster.
Everyone loves an awards show, especially when they’re in with a chance of winning. Hosting your own ‘Oscars’, with awards like ‘Top Problem Solver’ for most resolutions and Agent of the Year, is a fun way to recognize achievements and boost agent morale.
Why not go all out? Black tie dress code, little gold statuettes, even a red carpet to kick off proceedings. Making the awards part of an off-site social event will separate it from the everyday and add a sense of occasion.
Choosing call center gamification is a proven way to boost agent engagement and insert a little bit of fun into the workday. Using leaderboards, competitions, rewards, and other gaming elements, you can reduce churn, enhance your brand reputation, and develop a growth-focused company culture.
With Scorebuddy, you can use customizable scorecards, integrated business intelligence, personalized agent dashboards, and a fully featured learning management system to support and fine-tune your gamification strategy.
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