Can gamification work in customer service? Well, yes, yes and yes, it can. I didn’t just say yes three times for emphasis, that question can actually be asked from three different angles, the answer to which in all three cases is still yes.
You see, gamification in a traditional sense applies to an obvious relationship of either all employees or customers and the corporate entity itself. It was originally a concept that came about to alleviate the tedium and barriers inherent to training, to ensure engagement, enjoyment, motivation and absorption. It was quickly discovered, however, that it worked magnificently in daily work in the same manner, but with less finite goals and scope.
Of course, it’s also been used for years as a corporate entity/customer model, with giveaways, contests and other events driving sales and rewarding loyalty. There’s a free prize at the bottom of this article, and send in a box top now to get your own personal limited edition spoon!
But, with customer service, this really could be applied in several scopes, or all of them. It could be applies only on the employee side as a form of methodology, best practice credo and motivational tool. It can also follow the corporate entity/customer relationship, or it could reflect on the direct interaction of an employee and a customer.
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Truthfully, a balance of all three is the way to go, some more heavily than others. Applying it on the employee side would basically follow a tabletop style of gaming, with calls or contact instances being encounters with a “monster”. Resolutions of various forms, effectiveness and quickness would amount to a certain level of success, resulting in increased levels, experience, privilege and the like. That’s pretty straightforward isn’t it?
Of course, for the corporate entity/customer game model, it’s a pretty simple earning of points for each call and resolution without incident, which is something practiced by a lot of companies now. This one’s not very complex and you probably already do it but don’t think of it as a self-entity.
Lastly, we have the agent/customer relationship, which gamification can be implemented upon, though in a less contrived manner. The basic rules are that a customer will earn some kind of incentive – perhaps some kind of small discount, if they are able to resolve the problem within an amount of time, and not have incidents with the agents who are helping.
These can be further motivated by encouraging surveys to extend this reward, allowing you to give the company metrics on how well their agents are doing. This data can feed into the gamification implemented on the employee-only side of things, creating an obfuscated full loop of functionality consisting of two intertwined game models, with a third stratum binding them with minimal over-complexity.
So, yes, this system can and should be implemented into customer service. In fact, I think all of professional and mundane daily life should be gamified, allowing for more engagement in the experience of pure life itself, and contributing to the happiness and productivity of all of the world and its children.