Contact centre is an integral mechanism. The result and, consequently, the customer satisfaction depend on the coherence of his work. Each employee is a detail that makes company to raise its entire level, and a properly motivated employee is a piston, the main element of the engine.
The key problem that many contact centres face is staff turnover, high employees’ outflow during training, and low-skilled employees that are often irreplaceable. In conditions of the staff shortage, the tools of motivation are becoming more sophisticated. We at DirectCall use various motivation instruments, and the most effective and the most flexible of them will be discussed below.
Gamification is an approach of introducing gaming moments into non-gaming processes. The main question that arises when reading the term “gamification”: “Do work and tasks become frivolous?” Our answer is “no”. Turning to the theory of generations*, major part of current corporate employees are representatives of “generation Y” (from 1983 to 2003). Who are these “Y-people”? The main feature of this generation is to be instantaneous, momentous; to have low concentration of attention, to possess a desire for entertainment and social recognition, whereas money is not their main motivation. Since the “Y-people” have a low concentration of attention, and project teaching process requires to process and to memorize large amounts of information, gamification comes to the rescue. Involvement persists after training. Thus, refined information becomes interesting, and the manifestation of individual charisma is encouraged. It allows the employee to develop their own “features” forming the basis for unconventional thinking.
For instance, under conditions of a dramatic increase in the number of calls and complicated emotional state of the most customers, one of the projects required to ensure the same high quality of service on the support line for public utilities. A sharp rise in workload implies that large number of “rookies” are involved into the project, normally leading to the collapse of the service quality. New employees require time to adapt, especially in the conditions of constant stress. On the other hand, we faced the task to reduce the employees’ burnout and the outflow of experienced operators due to the high stress levels and increased work intensity during the “high season”. The systematic management of the project made it possible to attract, to train newbies quickly and to launch new line operators, meanwhile retaining other project staff due to the following solutions:
- Project segmentation
We divided the knowledge base into theme groups and difficulty levels. We also created respective groups and separated the line for the heating season issues. If a client chose the topic for IVR incorrectly, the call was shifted by the operator to the appropriate skill group.
- Changing the project concept
We changed the concept of a service for the team. The line for complaints and malfunctioning requests was re-qualified into a service of psychological support and alignment of the clients’ emotional condition. Conflict management techniques have been introduced into the knowledge base and trainings.
- Introduction of new “gaming-like” trainings
We Introduced a set of additional mini-trainings of psychological relaxation. The morning training called “to accompany out of the tram” shifted the focus of attention from personal issues to the service tasks. Breathing exercises and mini-trainings called “exchange of experience” during and at the end of the day reverted the operators to a productive emotional state and allowed them to relieve the stress obtained during customer service, i.e. to leave “work at work”.
*The training called “to accompany out of the tram” denotes the state which follows the conditions of an employee travelling to work. He thinks about everything except work. Therefore, morning training is aimed at transferring thoughts from personal to job-related issues.
All three decisions enabled the company to solve the tasks, and the important role in these processes was played by managing the psychological state of the operators, based on simple exercises set in a form of game.
Gamification meets most of the needs of employees. When developing your own system, the first thing you need to determine is the business objective: what is the result you want to motivate your employees for? Further, the rules of the game and the mechanics are set, and the appropriate tools are selected afterwards. The three most used instruments are normally applied in a combined manner:
- Points – to quantify an employee’s achievement. This tool is not flexible, but some kind of financial or non-financial motivation can be tied to it. Various checkpoints with motivation grading might be set as well.
- Badges are more flexible instrument, suitable for the needs of social acceptance and self-esteem. The most well-known usage: “Employee of a month”. Badges intend to outline a person from the group and to praise him/her for contribution to business task. Badges might be collectible.
- Ratings intend to fuel competitive spirit. They are suitable for employees that are motivated to be the first or better than others, whereas they can be suppressing for more passive colleagues. This tool is performing well by dividing employees into teams.
The above-mentioned instruments are basic and elementary. Their range can be easily broadened to meet exact objectives and, more importantly, to meet the needs of employees’ groups fulfilling these tasks. Richard Battle, a researcher of games, has outlined 4 types of players:
- Killers – no more than 10% from the total number, pursuing leadership status and always want to be the first. Normally, these people are leading the ratings. They are motivated by power and leadership status.
- Careerists – alternatively called “accumulators”. A decent tool to motivate them is badges. They are prone to collect achievements by their nature and are often called “munchkins” in the gaming world.
- Sociophiles – highly appreciate interaction with other players.
- Researchers – want to learn all the aspects of the game and to accumulate the knowledge. They are not interested by ratings or prize positions. They are concentrated on the process that should be interesting for them.
If a resulting game product is selected in a right way, we obtain the following objectives:
- Employees are aimed for task-solving
- Stress by newbies is eliminated
- Processes are divided into reachable goals
- Experience of every participant is defining collective action
- Fear of failure is suppressed
- Unconventional thinking by participants
- Desire and will of employees to solve tasks
- Learning new skills and forming positive attitude to work
Summarising, gamification is one of the most important instruments which is applied in different sectors of business, especially in the industry of contact centres. We can develop game model for any task, from training newcomers to fulfilment of the global projects. Specialists want to be participants instead of executants. They are involved into working process and make it interesting and multidimensional. High-profile staff is obtained, including teams, where each participant and his experience has crucial meaning with an opportunity to apply it.