Attention all call center managers: It’s time to talk about you.
Picture it: You are the fearless leader of a call center team in 2018. Much like the call centers of old, your agents are grappling with 1) surges in call volume (both expected and unexpected); 2) evolving technologies; 3) increasingly complex customer cases; and perhaps most important of all, 4) the latent human desire to be appreciated, acknowledged, and active in the work environment.
Especially during crisis moments where we see spikes in call volume (and demanding customers), agents become taxed and frustrated when they feel the infrastructure doesn’t support them, or when they feel there is no overall incentive to stick around (even from a culture perspective). Keeping them engaged is one thing, but keeping them as employees is another.
And before you say it, yes, we agree with you: As a call center manager, the game pieces you must manoeuvre in order to keep your center, your agents, and the overall business infrastructure at the top of their game are vast and varied. And like any good puzzle, managing a call center has a unique set of ever-evolving challenges, attrition being high on the list. Only a few years ago, call center turnover was as high as 33%. While the source of this startling rate is debatable, call center managers can certainly do their part to strategize how to keep call center agents on the ball and in the game.
But where do I start? You ask. When in doubt, think of your employees and how to engage them. Think about how to impress your customers. Think about how to effectively change the behaviour of the people upon whom your business depends.
Gamification is the introduction of interactive, game-like principles and elements into different contexts. Its usefulness knows no bounds: By adding playful elements such as competition, rewards, and recognition into your call center, it can facilitate, recognize and reward learning, creativity, and social and personal growth. A pat on the back and a paycheque every once in a while will only go so far, so adding game elements into your call-center infrastructure is a possible way of keeping your team motivated and in the game. See below for a cheat-sheet on gamification in the call center game:
You should consider gamification if:
- Your agents are having trouble adapting to a new technological solution in your call center and they need to study up (and fast);
- Your agents are burning out and employee turnover is at an historic high;
- Your agents seem lethargic, disengaged, and are calling in sick more than usual;
- Customer complaints about poorly-trained or unresponsive agents are at an historic high;
- You want a clearer understanding or microscopic snapshot of how engaged your call agents actually are; and/or
- You have new employees who need to meet the team and train up on your company and their roles, and fast!
Gamification can potentially:
- Lower call center employee attrition;
- Boost agent productivity;
- Increase your own productivity;
- Improve upon a flawed or outdated training model;
- Encourage more well-trained, educated agents (something both your agents and customers will appreciate);
- Make for better customer experience via interactions with more well-trained, pleasant agents;
- Motivate your team to set high goals (or even vie for promotion) via healthy competitions;
- Encourage creativity;
- Provide a way of assessing your call center agents’ performance; and
- Vastly improve the culture of your call center and the overall perception of your business.
As a call center manager, anything that benefits customers, agents, and the overall infrastructure benefits you.