Gamification is a hot topic in recent years. It is a tool that can be used in many arenas, and recently has had great success within customer service. There are many aproachs to it. Customer side, and agent side. Both are very affective because it encourages full engagement and gets results.
I spoke with Allan Branch of lesseverything.com. He had some insights into how he works with gamification. “We use Freshdesk.com for our customer support tool, it has some gamification features built into it. Internally our customer support team has a running game on who can answer the most tickets since Freshdesk has a leaderboard.
Customer support can often times be a thankless job, so anything an application can do to make a customer support rep smile, shake off a rude email or phone call is helpful.
Since launching LessAccounting.com 6 year ago we’ve found that customer support is the most powerful marketing we can do.
Allowing customers to rate their happiness thru PopSurvey.com gives customer support instant feedback on how they’re doing. Our support agents love to know when they make customers happy.”
Some great insight here. We can see from his techniques that they combat all areas of the customer needing support and make sure the customer remains a customer.
I wanted to explore more and get views from the agent side of things. I met with Bob Marsh, CEO of LevelEleven and we talked about the agents success using gamification.
“From the employee perspective, yes – gamification can be a great tool in the work place. Contests are nothing new to reps working in customer service call centers. For years they’ve used poster boards to track who has the shortest average handle time, or best first call resolution record. But gamification can take one off contests to the next level.
Gamification is the ultimate, most sophisticated way to motivate employee behavior by leveraging competitions that call center reps can easily engage with and enjoy participating in. Instead of using old poster-boards and markers to track contests, gamification campaigns within an app are more technologically savvy, dynamic, and fun – playing off of reps’ ambitious nature and offering real time status updates to keep the competition top of mind.”
He offered some great examples. “Within the sphere of gamification in customer service, competitions can be focused specifically on call center metrics like coding, turnover rates, or average handle time and first call resolutions. By building competitions focused around these industry metrics, you’re motivating your service reps to improve in those targeted areas and will see a real, tangible change in numbers.”
It’s always great to get the chance to speak with Walter Ruckes, an expert on gamification at BI Worldwide http://www.biworldwide.com
“Yes it can but there is a fine line between games with a purpose and additional annoyances. Based on our experiences with call centers and retail customers, we’d offer these three suggestions:
First, clearly define your goals for any game mechanic you apply to the customer service setting. Examples would include: seeking feedback about their experience, rewarding customers for their business, or helping customers get to the right information quickly.
Second, ensure that any gamification efforts fit your company’s brand. A Five-Star hotel will employ different tactics than a trendy restaurant. Somewhere in your company’s brand should be a fun factor. Brainstorm around this to share your company’s brand personality with each customer during the process.
Third, find the idiosyncratic fit with each message. Idiosyncratic fit is a behavioral economics term that challenges you to connect with each customer on a level that will make them feel like they have an advantage in winning the game and staying engaged with your company. One great example of this is letting customers know how you have responded to their suggestions or ideas and offering them a chance to be rewarded for additional ideas.
Some examples of the use of gamification in customer service
Things that can be implemented in companies of all sizes:
- Gamify your customer service training for store or phone-based employees. Challenge them from their first day at work to get involved, offer feedback, and work their way up levels to mastery. Depending on the difficulty of the position, this can be accomplished in as little as 2
- Surprise and delight any customer who provides feedback on the service they have received. Offer them special discounts or free samples for supplying their opinion, rather than having them call an 800# for a sweepstakes entry.
- Offer opportunities for inside information to any customer who is interested. Bring in product or service experts at special times to help
your customers get the most out of your product.
- Understand generational and personality differences. Young, extroverted groups of teenagers will loudly interact with your brand and share their feedback on camera if you ask them to. They will also Tweet and share photos of their experiences without even being asked. Introverted
baby-boomers are much more bottom-line oriented and will appreciate more subtle interactions with your brand.
- Do what you can to make customer service a group event, rather than an individual one. Sitting alone on hold waiting for an operator is statistically one of the top ways to alienate customers. Start an on-hold group on Facebook for people to visit while they wait, sharing their experiences and answers for others who may be doing the same. And don’t forget to reward them for visiting with some kind of follow-up or personalized response.”
So what can we conclude from this? Well, certainly we can’t deny that gamification works. Which method you use for implementation is a factor, and can often, if done right be very successful. I personally see it as a customer engagement tool, but others can disagree. Either way it’s a successful tool. You should try it for yourself.