Gamification is becoming an accepted way to improve contact centre operators' performance. To apply gamification to a millennial workforce, competition and collaboration (teamwork) need to be combined.
There is no more sure sign that something is gaining traction in an industry than it becoming the subject of a market research report.
So the announcement of the 2017 Contact Center Gamification P…and Market Report, by Research and Markets ("The world's largest market research store") in April 2017 means that contact centre gamification is to be taken seriously.
"The concept of gamification has caught on in contact centres over the past few years, and vendors in other IT segments are adding gamification practices to their solutions," Research and Markets declared.
"Vendors of performance management, quality assurance, workforce management and customer relationship management solutions are embedding gamification techniques to improve adoption and utilisation of their core capabilities and to address the needs of their customers."
Gamification has been shown to be one of the best ways to engage agents.
According to Calabrio, a developer of workforce optimisation (WFO) and employee engagement tools, gamification has been shown to be one of the best ways to engage agents.
However, its implementation is no trivial exercise. Rather it involves "leveraging gaming science and psychology to increase agent productivity while reinforcing positive behaviours."
The trouble with most kinds of games is that there are winners and losers, and any activity that creates winners and losers is unlikely to be conducive to teamwork. So maybe the key to successful gamification is to combine the two.
Millennials seem to like to work in packs and thrive on communication and feedback.
That's what blogger Andrew Prokop argues in this No Jitter blog post, especially for a workforce comprising millennials. "Most striking is their affinity for teamwork," he says. "They seem to like to work in packs and thrive on communication and feedback. It's not that they cannot function on their own, but being a part of something larger is preferred to acting on their own."
So he suggests an approach to gamification that blends competition with collaboration and co-operation.
"A team can agree upon a set of metrics, create group or individual challenges, and measure the success of all team members in real time."
He says the results of these competitions can extend beyond simple badges. "Agents no longer feel isolated from the rest of their team. Even those who aren't participating in a challenge can take pleasure from the horse race. Plus, rather than having to wait for a supervisor's feedback or an end-of-day/end-of-week report … agents get instantaneous updates as to how well they are doing."
He's not the only one to see that gamification applied to a millennial workforce presents unique challenges and opportunities.
Pascal Leclerc, Vice President of Marketing & Product Strategy at nGUVU, a company whose stated mission is "to create a better everyday work experience for contact centre agents," expresses as much in this blog post.
Gaming means competition, winners and losers, and this alone does not suit millennials.
"They challenge each other or create micro contests. They see each other win and lose, and cheer for their champions, thus becoming a part of a very social environment. Many of them are not interested in a $ game or a gadget prize at the end of the day – this becomes their sport, place to interact with colleagues, build a team, and show their success."
"When work resembles a video game, millennials thrive."
This Forbes articles sums it up nicely: "When work resembles a video game, millennials thrive."
Making working in a contact centre like playing a video game? Now that could be quite a challenge.
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