Posted on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 @ 11:03 PM by Carlos Lahrssen
Gamification is a growing trend for call centers, but does it improve customer service? Although using the principles of gaming seems like it would bring an element of fun and motivation to customer service work, there may be some drawbacks as well.
Gamification ExplainedTake the principles of online games and apply them to the work of customer service, and you've got Gamification. Modeled most closely on social media games like Farmville, gamification allows employees to earn rewards like badges and points for meeting goals in their customer service work.
Software is added to traditional call center software to provide the gaming features. Because call center work can seem like an endless parade of unhappy customers and paperwork, making it more like a game may help keep employees motivated to perform at their best.
AdvantagesManagers vary in the levels of positive reinforcement they can provide as well as how many employees they can personally reward or praise at a given time. Gamification offers a built-in system of rewards and incentives to call center employees, making positive reinforcement almost automatic. Not only that, gamification takes the possibility of favoritism out of the picture. Computers don't pick favorites, intentionally or unintentionally. They just follow the program.
Another advantage of gamification is that the software provides sophisticated analytics that can quickly show how each employee is performing. These analytics allow for customized feedback and advanced training to help employees hone their skills.
Bringing a sense of fun into a call center may encourage employees to remain positive about jobs that may otherwise become mundane and stale. Repetition usually leads to boredom, but the gaming elements encourage repetition to attain higher levels and gain points and badges.
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DisadvantagesAlthough digital reinforcement is better than none, employees may miss the personal feedback and kudos that often make repetitive jobs worth the effort and help to counteract the verbal abuse of many customer service positions. Employees that aren't capable of reaching top status may get discouraged and frustrated. The same people tend to win at games most of the time, which can be demotivating for everyone else after a while.
It could also become a problem for employees to be motivated by points or a leaderboard status rather than by providing quality customer service. If the system becomes too mechanical, employees will feel a lack of control over job-related decisions, which will negatively impact their job satisfaction. Not everything can be electronically managed.
Much like video games in our personal lives, boredom does eventually set in. Unless the software is varied enough to introduce new rewards and situations regularly, gamification risks the same waning interest to which pretty much everything else online is subject. Gamification also doesn't do anything to help the problems of low pay, high stress, and other problems of customer service jobs.
Final ThoughtsGamification may be a trend on the rise, but for business owners with call centers, it is worth careful consideration before making a decision about whether gamification is best for their company. It may depend greatly on the type of business and the dynamics already in place.
Next step: Contact Nexogy to find out about call center options for your business.
Carlos Lahrssen is president of Nexogy.
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Topics: call center