Three Reasons to Integrate Gamification into Customer Care

Chances are you’ve at least heard of the word “gamification,” but what does it actually mean and how can it be applied to your customer care strategy?

Simply put, gamification is the process of applying game design, mechanics, and thinking to non-game activities with the hope that it will motivate customers, boost participation and increase engagement.

Many of today’s companies are using gamification to better engage customers and boost sales. Take Nike for example. The athletic company has experienced success with its Nike+ products, which prompts users to log fitness data to win points.

SAP is another great example of a company enjoying the benefits of gamification. The enterprise software company ranks the top contributors to its SAP Community Network. Users get points when they contribute to forums or when their content is liked.

For companies that want to improve their quality of customer care in a non-conventional way, gamificiation is the perfect solution. Not only does it help turn mundane tasks into exciting experiences, but it also helps to change behaviors, develop skills and motivate employees.

Below are three reasons why you should consider integrating gamification into your customer care strategy:

  • Improves efficiencies: Improving productivity is a top priority for many businesses. By creating an environment of healthy competition, employees will often push themselves a little further than they might otherwise.
  • Boosts work satisfaction: Your Communicators are your most important asset. When they are happy, your customers and bottom line are happy too. Implementing gamification helps employees become more engaged in activities that they might have found tedious or less-enjoyable in the past.
  • Motivates employees: It can be difficult to motivate employees at times. After all, fielding dozens of calls day-in and day-out can be exhausting. Gamification engages Communicators on an emotional level and motivates them to achieve their goals.

If you’re interested to learn more about gamification in the customer care space, read my recently published article featured in CUSTOMER magazine .

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

 

What Makes Your Employees Engaged and Satisfied?

Over the past few weeks, Cleveland has been abuzz with talk about LeBron James and the future of the Cavaliers. James recently made headlines when he declined his player option and became a free agent before signing a new two-year deal that also contains an option for 2016.

Why was this announcement significant? James essentially told the Cavaliers that he’s happy to finish his career in Cleveland but that the organization needs to hold up its end of the bargain by giving him the resources he needs to win (like a strong supporting cast). It’s safe to say James will likely undergo the same process of re-evaluating his situation next year as well.

As the Cavaliers are learning, it’s not enough to simply attract top talent to your organization. You have to keep employees satisfied, too, if you want to avoid the high costs of employee turnover. Aside from monetary cost, high employee turnover is also terrible for morale and employees may share damaging reviews on social media or company review websites.

So, what’s the secret to making sure your employees stick around for the long haul? The answer, as evidenced in a recent benchmark report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on happiness and engagement in the workplace, ultimately boils down to respect and trust (above even benefits and compensation). According to the study, 72 percent of respondents indicated that respectful treatment of employees at all levels is the most important overarching factor for determining a happy work environment, with trust between employees and senior managers coming in second at 64 percent.

Other top factors, aside from those related to job security or finances, include the relationship with immediate supervisors (58 percent), opportunities to leverage skills and abilities in the workplace (58 percent) and having an immediate supervisor’s respect for your ideas (56 percent).

So ask yourself: What makes your employees satisfied and engaged? Are you providing all of the necessary ingredients to produce the best quality of customer care? If not, it’s time to re-evaluate your approach to employee happiness.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Engaging Your Customers Starts With Engaging Your Agents

One of the keys to providing quality customer care is to keep contact center agents engaged in their work. After all, agents who are dissatisfied or bored with their jobs are less likely to go the extra mile to help customers. Customers can also sense if the person helping them is disengaged or doesn’t seem to care, which can create a negative customer experience. Thus, it is extremely important to keep contact center agents happy at work.

Effective management techniques can do wonders for keeping contact center agents focused on providing high-quality customer care. Creating both individual and team-oriented goals can simultaneously foster an environment of competition and teamwork within the call center, driving more production. Completing these goals on a weekly basis can also foster an ongoing sense of accomplishment among employees, keeping them positive.

Managers can also play a huge role in improving and maintaining agents’ morale. For example, they can take advantage of company time for team-building activities that can boost mood and create a team environment within the call center. Company-hosted social events can also provide an opportunity for agents as well as other members of the company to gather, socialize and get to know each other (at InfoCision, for instance, we like to host regular summer cookouts). This strengthens interoffice relationships and foster an upbeat work environment.

Finally, managers must be attuned to the needs of their employees. Agents need to be able to easily make use of their sick and personal days, and should not feel any pressure or stigma against doing so. Employees should feel free and, in fact, be encouraged to make use of any company benefits available to them. Maintaining a workplace where agents feel their needs are being made a priority is vital to keeping them content.

These are just a few adjustments businesses can make to keep their employees happy and engaged in their jobs, which should translate into higher-quality customer care. The key to any successful call center is the satisfaction of its agents. Is this your top priority?

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Common Characteristics of a Great Company

What makes a great company? This is a difficult, if not impossible, question to answer because businesses are successful for a number of different reasons. There are, however, some common threads that most truly great organizations have in common. What follows is some of those traits:

Innovation: Breaking new ground is the fastest way to carve out a large market share. Whether it’s a new technology, medical treatment or simply a different way of approaching an old business problem, companies that continue to push limits are the ones that usually make the biggest impact. Innovation is also not possible without a willingness to fail; not every idea is going to work and some may even crash and burn. But taking chances is also how a company achieves greatness. In 2007, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer laughed at the new $500 phone one of the company’s competitors was about to take to market—but the iPhone sold pretty well.

Great Customer Service: Whether a company sells B2B, B2C or both, providing a great customer experience helps it stand out beyond the competition. Those organizations that go just a little further to provide ‘service extras’ create loyal fans and help solidify themselves as viable for years to come. Today, companies must offer omnichannel service to truly be considered a best-in-class customer service organization. For some businesses, providing a high-quality customer experience through the contact center may be outside of their comfort zone. In that case, investing in a multichannel marketing partner  may be the best way to tackle customer service.

Employee Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction is an oft-stressed concept in business, but employee happiness is sometimes overlooked. Creating a positive environment for workers is an honorable goal, but it’s also good business because happy employees are more productive. Last year, for example, revenue for Fortune’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” increased by an average of 22.2 percent last year. Generally speaking, the most successful companies encourage honest feedback from employees and work with them to create the best possible working environment. These businesses also reward excellence with recognition and prizes, which lets working teams know that what they do matters to upper management.

Brand Consistency: Building a business that thrives over the long-term is next to impossible if customers don’t receive a consistent experience with a product or service each time they use it. It is unlikely, for example, that M&M’s would have become a popular snack if some of the candies were randomly filled with ketchup or mustard while the rest were pure chocolate. Customers like to know what they are getting with a brand, and once they build a trust with that company they often stick around for years or even decades.

No perfect formula exists for success in business, but emphasizing the above characteristics certainly increases your chances of making it big. More than anything, whether you do it by striving to create products that help people lead better lives, aim to always put customers first, or commit to taking special care of employees, the most important thing is to focus on people above all else.

The rest will take care of itself.