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Gamification in Business: Tapping Human Tendencies for Contact Center Success

Humans like to compete. We like it so much, in fact, we're willing to engage in it by proxy, hence the intense football rivalries that break out in offices across the country every fall. When organizations tap into that basic human need to be a primary competitor in some event, they're encouraging employees to switch into motivation mode, according to Fast Company. In essence, gamification in business has become a trend because, well, it works. Gamification in the contact center specifically can work, provided the right systems are in place and the right incentives are made available. The good news? Companies that get it right can inspire and motivate their employees, deliver a better customer experience, and build a culture of success. Here's how.

Gamification in business in action: Contact center agent sitting at his computer
Gamification in business lets stakeholders turn basic human psychology into a major motivational tool.

Gamification in Business: What Contact Centers Need to Know

Employee motivation is critical to success in a fast-paced contact center environment, but engendering it can be tough at times. This is why gamification in the contact center holds so much promise: When management finds a way to make day-to-day operations more fun, they create a more motivated workforce.

Gamification can fit any workplace structure. At the highest level, said Onaplatterofgold.com, gamification strategies take "meaningful actions" and associate them with a reward. In a contact center context, meaningful actions might mean filling out end-of-call sheets properly or closing a sale. While employees aren't going to accept any old thing thrown at them as a reward, the prize doesn't have to be expensive — or monetary in nature at all. It could be as simple as this: "Whoever closes X sales for the day first gets 30 extra call-free minutes tomorrow."

In a "lone wolf" environment like a contact center, tasks and games that stress teamwork and shared goals may be similarly successful as gamification strategies. It's all about linking behaviors to rewards, and doing it in a way that doesn't feel forced or make employees feel pressured. And it can have a huge impact: Engaging contact center reps in these challenges can help them avoid burnout or absenteeism.

The goals of gamified strategies can be optimized as business strategies evolve, continually reaching for greater levels of sophistication and excellence.

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Gamification Inspires a Culture of Success

Company culture strongly influences employee engagement. If employees feel they're valued members of a dynamic, exciting company with a bright future, they're likely going to invest their talent in making the business a success. Gamification can play a valuable role in building a culture of success and can inspire employees to become invested in helping the company achieve its goals.

Stakeholders may build competitions around specific KPIs to help employees fully understand how to meet their most critical objectives. Contact center agents might compete against one another on first call resolution, which is a common performance metric. They might also try to outperform one another, individually or in groups, by achieving the quickest average speed in handling a call. These quantitative metrics make the contact center's goals very clear, increasing the likelihood that agents will meet them. The goals of gamified strategies can be optimized as business strategies evolve, continually reaching for greater levels of sophistication and excellence.

One tip that's often overlooked in gamification strategies: giving the initiative room to breathe and time to grow. Employees, even those who are intensely competitive when it comes to playing video games or Monopoly, may need some help finding the spirit before really engaging with the process. Once the change becomes an accepted part of workplace culture, people will come around.

Gamification Engages New Hires and Boosts Employee Retention

Established employees aren't the only ones to benefit from a little gamification in business. Organizations can use it to accelerate employee onboarding, getting new hires excited about their positions even before they begin working alongside their colleagues. Doing so helps reinforce the existing culture and establishes expectations for new hires, encouraging them to bring a positive mindset to an increasingly cohesive contact center team.

VentureBeat claimed that gamification in the classroom can help students retain information more effectively. The same can be true for business environments, giving the business a strategic advantage to consider if it needs to quickly staff the contact center for a seasonal campaign, a new product launch, or another special event. Those new to positions (temporary or otherwise) can be taught detailed information using gamified reinforcement for greater retention.

When it comes to boosting employee engagement and retention, the benefits of gamification are clear. By fostering a healthy atmosphere of competition in the contact center, companies can align their teams toward a common goal and have fun doing it, inspiring employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences. That, in turn, drives the kind of customer loyalty and bottom-line growth that can make everyone — from senior leadership to freshly minted hires — feel proud.

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