Modern contact center software solutions have not only helped in making communication a hassle free process but have also reduced the workload of the callers. Ease of application and the smooth interface has enabled them to contact a large number of probable customers in a considerably less amount of time.
The technologically advanced outbound telemarketing software comes with automated features for the regular actions like alerts for follow-up, appointment setting, calendar management etc. As a result, the callers do not have to fret about the routine activities of the call-center and can instead devote their time for lead management process.
However, despite these benefits and ease of functionality, the contact centers can be a very stressful place to work. The impending deadlines, the pressure of achieving the targets and performance, the fear of rejection makes it difficult for the agents to keep up their zeal while at work. In the long run, this can eventually lead to burnout and can also result in agent attrition.
Thus, it is important the senior staff members strike a balance between professionalism and entertainment. Equipping the executives with class infrastructural facilities or the best telemarketing software alone will not help. It is essential that you make the routine activities fun as well. This is probably the reason why many companies are today going ahead and embracing the concept of “Gamification.”
In simple terms, gamification refers to the process of using game mechanics to non-game experiences in order to motivate good performance and to build loyalty. During this, the supervisors utilize fun activities in order to encourage the callers to improve their productivity. This is enabled using real-time feedback, targets set to accomplish, rewards for completing the goal the fastest or in the set time period and allowing the executives to compete, collaborate and communicate with each other about things other than work related.
Many people tend to think that games can distract the executives from their work and can have a negative impact on their performance. However, on the contrary, fun activities have a universal appeal and can keep them engaged for a long time. When used in the right manner, this can help you to improve the skills of your workforce. These days many companies have recognized the importance of gamification and have started choosing an outbound calling software that can easily amalgamate with the gaming features and make it a simpler process for both the managers as well as callers.
The practice includes attempts to improve the agent’s efficiency by capturing their performance data and using it, in turn, to motivate them to do better. These techniques strive to tap the potential of the individuals by utilizing their desire of socializing, learning, a sense of achievement, competition, the need for feedback and recognition in the peer group.
Add rewards and incentives to the entire process, and you will understand why this is more preferred than simple ceremonies like ‘employee of the month’ or ‘Best Agent Award.’ This is also termed as an innovative method to improve the camaraderie between the colleagues. When they know that their peers are also trying to achieve the same target, they will pull up their socks and will make attempts to perform better.
In order to make gamification a part of your organization, it is vital that you choose an advanced cloud customer service software that has the features of real-time data capturing and historical reporting. This ensures that the incentives and recognition are made correct.
Here are a few ways in which gamification can help you in making the contact centers a fun place to work.
1. Encourages Healthy Competition
• The executives will strive to be better only when they see that their co-workers are also doing the same. Healthy competition can lead to better productivity. The contact center managers can use rewards and bonuses for the callers who have completed their target in a certain amount of time. Instead of financial reward, you can also provide him with a badge, points or vouchers. However, it is important that the supervisors ensure that no animosity or jealousy comes into the play area. It is essential that the competition is clean and without any bad intent.
• With gamification in the picture, the primary objective of the business can be subdivided into mini missions and rewards or recognition can be used in order to recognize the efforts of the representative. In order to add more excitement and to ensure that the callers put in their maximum efforts, many companies tend to put up a time bound contest.
• Example, Rix Insurance Agency uses the cloud contact center software in order to connect with the probable buyers. The managers have devised a new scheme in which the caller who gets more number of customers in the business in a single day is rewarded with bonus points. Each new client can add one extra point to the score sheet of the buyer. The sheet is evaluated at the end of the month.
• When the total reaches to 50, the caller is upgraded to the next level in which he is given the freedom to make his own pitch and convince the buyers. The agents who have crossed the next level are given the option of work-from-home. This ensures that a competitive spirit is present in the company. This also helps in reducing absenteeism or lethargic nature at work as each day and every call counts and can change the winning picture.
2. Motivates the Callers
• Through gamification, it is easier to spice up the interest levels of the callers as the mundane work can be converted into competitive activities and rewards can be provided for those who are able to complete them. While it is true that incentives are a great source of motivation, one must also remember that the entire gamification process is an encouragement in itself. It changes the way the callers work in the call-center and makes their job more fun and interactive in nature.
• When the callers know that each of their interactions are being watched and scrutinized and can lead them to recognition and rewards, they push their boundaries more in order to excel in their conversations. This can improve the overall productivity of the organization.
• Example: A Fitness and Gym Training Center that used the outbound calling solution in order to stay in touch with its consumers found that more than often the queries of their buyers were left unanswered by the callers. Despite having a large amount of knowledge base the executives usually bucked the responsibility of solving the problems away.
• The managers then decided to gamify the solution in order to maximize the efficiency. It decided to use the metric of call resolution as well as customer satisfaction score in order to evaluate the representatives. The company introduced a leaderboard and show where the callers stand on the above-said KPIs. At the end of every month, the one who ranked first was given the opportunity to have a weekday off and also share his success story with the peers.
• While there was no physical incentive involved, the mere fact that they could address their colleagues was enough to motivate them. Also, the leaderboard was edited in real-time and the callers had access to it on their desktop. As a result, they could always know where they stand and how many points do they need to bridge in order to get to the top.
3. Training the Representatives
• Learning needs to be a continuous process. The call center software solutions come with the features of call monitoring and recording. This helps the supervisors to keep a tab on how the agent is performing while interacting with the purchaser. However, while this is an important step in agent development, this is rarely enjoyed by them.
• Coaching can become more fun when gamification is put into use. The executives dread long lectures and demo videos. This is especially true when the course is just a refresher of all that was taught in the past. Training is important to improve the performance of the representative. However, he will truly pay attention only when it is interesting and engaging.
• Example, A telemarketing agency that dealt with products related to health and wellness utilized the outbound call center software in order to connect with its prospects. Whenever a sales call was made the buyers asked a lot of questions pertaining to the safety aspects of the products. Hence, it was important that the callers were well versed with the offerings of the company.
• A refresher session was arranged once a month so that the knowledge about the product can be brushed upon again. However, the managers noticed that the executives barely paid any attention and saw the coaching classes as a break from the monotony of making the calls. Hence, it was essential to add to an element of excitement to the teaching period.
• The managers then came up with the idea of structuring the session around the idea of the popular game, “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” The agents were then posed different multiple choice questions related to the product as well as the terms and conditions under which the company operated. Every correct answer helped them to climb the money ladder.
• They also had a lifeline where they can consult an animated character once during the game in case they are not able to answer a question. The character gave them clues, guiding them to the answer. The caller who reaches the top first was rewarded. This unique game not only tested their knowledge but also kept the callers engaged in the session. In case any representative performs badly, he can be sent back to get training under the coaches.
4. Recruitment and Hiring Process
• It is essential that you hire the right man for the job. The agents are a representation of your organization in the market and you can make no mistake while choosing them. Working in a call-center can be a difficult task and you need someone who can overcome the pressure and still manage to sound pleasant while on the call.
• Every business house wishes to get maximum returns on minimum benefits. However, in the contact centers, the agent attrition becomes a norm after a certain amount of time. No company wishes to lose out on an executive after investing time, energy and resources in training him. One of the main reasons behind the dropouts is the incapability to close more calls or provide closure to the clients. Hence, it is vital that the probable callers know beforehand what they are getting into.
• Gamification can be an attractive tool to find the right man for the job. One of the contact centers launched a game which helped their potential candidates to better understand the work style of the inside sales teams. The game invited the applicants to try the cloud based call center solutions for a free trial and gave them the chance to live like a call-center executive for a week.
• Role plays and computer generated interactions were included. As a result, the callers could understand how to open the call, convince and satiate the buyer and finally close the call. In the initial weeks, the calls were of easy nature. However, as the days progressed the queries were made tough and the executive was tested. This not only prepared them for the forthcoming situations but also helped the managers to find the most suitable candidate from the pool of contenders.
5. Managing the Virtual Workforce
• The cloud contact center solutions allow the company to avail the benefits of the virtual workforce. While the remote callers help in reducing the overall expenses of the organization, it can become difficult to motivate them. The in-house callers have the opportunity of working in the office environment, interacting with the peers and discussing their concerns. As a result, they can spend few minutes away from their desk leaving all the tension of work behind.
• However, in the case of work-from-home executives they have no such chance. Also, their interactions with the supervisors are limited. They cannot just walk-in to their managers and voice their concerns like the office staff. There is no encouragement in person. However, with the application of gamification, this issue can be resolved as well. Instead of a pat on the back after a good call, you can send digital praise or virtual high-five after a great performance.
• Rewards structure and contests can help in promoting collaboration and interaction between the executives. They will feel more connected to the company as well as their colleagues when they are put to the same recognition tests. The recognition will also improve as they will grow familiar while interacting via the games. However, the competitions should be crafted keeping in mind both the section of inside sales teams.
It is essential that you use the gamification techniques in a smart manner. Otherwise, the effect can be demotivating as well. Ensure that the competition is fair and between people on the same level. There is going to be a difference between the experienced callers and the novice members. It is vital that the managers keep this in mind and make the leaderboards accordingly.
Example: A travel agency has integrated a leaderboard in their call center software solutions for small business. The main aim was to motivate the new entrants to push their call sales volume and to encourage them from the experiences of the seasoned representatives. However, the company observed that the effects were negative and the new callers were disengaging from the gamified system.
After observation, it was found that they were discouraged looking at the high score difference between the top and their own rank. As a result, it was decided that the leaderboards will differ with category and experience. As a result, the new individuals will contest among themselves, gain some experience, learn few tactics and then shift to the other level.
Gamification is changing the communication industry for good. It is essential that you be a part of this change. Only when your callers are happy will they be able to get more customers for you. Hence, it is essential that you put up innovative contests, games, and rewards in order to reduce the benefits of the burnout.
In call-centers where the task of the caller is often thankless and monotonous in nature, it is only through techniques like gamification that you can keep agent attrition at bay. Remember to add a fun element to your daily activities in the call-center, employ the best call center software and wait and see how this change affects your business for good!