Kirsty Halloran September 01, 2020

Gamification in the Contact Center: Maximizing Productivity and Increasing Job Satisfaction for Remote Employees

In the face of the COVID 19 global pandemic many people have moved from working in busy office environments to working from home for the first time. Avaya has supported our customers in multiple ways during this transition including providing  complimentary licenses for Avaya Contact Center Platforms which allow contact center agents to work remotely without compromising customer and employee experiences. However, for some employees the move from office-based to remote working can result in disengagement which could have negative outcomes. Avaya provides a solution through gamification that maximises contact center productivity; ensures positive outcomes for employees; and results in the alignment of employee activity with company objectives.

Moving to the “Work At Home” model typically starts with business continuity basics such as Internet, Phone Access, Security and other critical systems as advised on best practices for a remote worker strategy.  Once the transition to homeworking occurs, employee related issues can surface related to the new remote setup that can impact contact center employee performance.

Avaya has partnered with Noble Systems to enhance Avaya’s Contact Center systems with a robust collection of game mechanics which introduces elements that emotionally elevate an employee’s engagement levels. Award winning Noble Gamification increases productivity and reduces attrition in contact centers. The solution leads to increased productivity through the promotion of clear goals, competition, rewards, recognition, and learning and coaching. Noble Gamification leverages intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors to promote and reinforce desired behaviours and gain greater buy-in and positive outcomes for contact center workers.

Goals

Goals need to be very clear to the remote agent, and scorecard goals are central to the gamification platform. Each scorecard represents the most impactful KPIs as they relate to helping the company achieve its organisational goals. Progress bars, experience points, trending arrows, and clickable leader boards provide transparency, so the employee understands where their destination is, and how they stack up against their peers.

Experience points are earned by achieving goals. These drive agents’ status in the gamification “Levelling” feature.  Badges are rewards for achieving important steps that support organisational goals. The badging system is designed to “stairs-step” employees to their new targets. Once an employee achieves a badge, they acquire spendable points and unlock rewards. The spendable points equate to a virtual currency the user can redeem for either monetary or non-monetary rewards (for example having their supervisor take 30 minutes of their calls).

Competition

Competition can be a motivational factor in Contact Centers and to maintain this in a remote environment there are several competitive features within the platform. Contests can be quickly set up to be run between employees, teams, locations, or user-defined groups.  The system has the ability to use historic performance to normalise data and allow clients to run contests amongst disparate groups in an equitable manner.

Duels are a head-to-head competition. The main motivational difference between duels and contests are that in a duel the employee selects who they want to compete against.

Tournaments are competitions that bring everyone into the same competitive event. These can be across various KPIs. Employees can be awarded points for each round won. They can also vote for their friends on each of their matches. Motivation can be drawn from competitors receiving the majority of the votes, and having to live up to those expectations, versus a competitor receiving less votes and wanting to prove everyone wrong.

Social Interactions

Social interactions are reduced in a remote working environment. Face-to-face interactions can create an environment buzzing with energy – and energy creates energy! Collaboration emerges from interactions between employees bouncing ideas off of each other and learning from peers. Social interactions take place in the workplace by catching up at the break room, sharing personal stories and forming connections. Many of these elements are absent from remote working.

Staying socially connected with peers is valuable, and “Friending” in the solution facilities this. The timeline and newsfeed are features within the platform that promote significant motivational value by facilitating peer feedback and recognition to each other. The profile area of the solution allows employees to have a level of control over elements of their work. There are several features which facilitate employee autonomy such as the ability to personalise their profile picture, background wallpaper, and add accessories to their persona. This makes the space an area they can take pride in controlling.

Page bursts highlight an impactful achievement by an individual. Additionally, a ticker tape is available that scrolls across the top of the screen highlighting all the recent achievements in the employee community.

The leader-board can also showcase contests or KPI leader boards that are being run. Individuals want to be recognised in front of their peers. This type of recognition is generally regarded as more powerful than private recognition.     

Rewards

The Raffle Wheel or Prize Table may be absent in a remote agent context. The redemption of spendable points is handled through various features within the platform. The “Auction” allows employees to bid on monetary or non-monetary prizes against their peers.  Noble Gamification is integrated into one of the largest e-gift card providers. This means there is no manual processing of fulfilment required. Employees can redeem their spendable points for an e-gift card and the fulfilment is electronic with complete tracking.  The solution also provides location-based rewards for clients who have operations that are geographically separated. The leader board can display a virtual raffle, another redemption feature where employees will acquire raffle tickets and then place them on the prizes, they value the most.

Coaching

In a remote setting, taking an agent off the phone to sit with them to correct an issue may not be as straightforward as in a face-to-face environment. Additionally, classroom training may now be absent which could impact customer experience and performance. Quality and compliance standards may suffer.

The solution includes an integrated gamified learning management system. The coaching module allows supervisors and managers to correct employee behaviour before it is too late. Coaching sessions can be created with multiple employees; documents can be attached; follow-on meetings set; and the impact of the coaching effort tracked.  Upon completion of the successful coaching session agents earn spendable points and supervisors earn experience points that affect their status.

Conclusion

“The out of sight, out of mind fear of going remote can be greatly assuaged through gamification.”, says Nancy Jamison, Industry Director at Frost & Sullivan. “Rather than worry agents will sit at home gaming, with gamification you can turn the game into total employee engagement with complete visibility of the results. It’s a definite win”, she added. Gamification can better engage employees, increase retention and drive productivity and efficiency.  It is best placed to allow organisations to target their middle 60% performers to improve their performance which is where the focus of impact is and is particularly beneficial for the engagement of remote workers. 

An Apple and Android mobile app enables employees to use this solution on the go whether the organisation has mobile workers, disparate groups or if contact center employees just want to check their progress while they are away from their desk. This is yet another element of the solution to keep contact center employees emotionally engaged wherever they are.

Maximising Productivity and Increasing Job Satisfaction for Remote Employees

Kirsty Halloran

Kirsty Halloran has worked in the business communications industry for over twenty years and has held many leadership roles across functions such as Product Management, New Product Introduction, Sales Enablement and Marketing. She is currently responsible for the marketing of Avaya Alliance Partners. Kirsty holds a B.A in Economics and Politics and a Master’s Degree in Information Technology from the National University of Ireland as well as several professional qualifications.

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