Turning Customer Support Into a Game

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What if you could har­ness the same enthu­si­asm in your cus­tomer ser­vice employ­ees as when they are play­ing Angry Birds or Candy Crush? That’s the idea behind gam­i­fi­ca­tion, apply­ing game mechan­ics to busi­ness tasks to make them more engag­ing. This approach is rapidly gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in employee train­ing and moti­va­tion.

Gam­i­fi­ca­tion actu­ally is noth­ing new; sales com­pa­nies have been using con­tests to moti­vate employ­ees for years. But with the growth of tech­nol­ogy and social net­work­ing, it has taken off. Online quests are replac­ing sales con­tests, with vir­tual accom­plish­ments as cov­eted as “real world” incen­tives. In fact, gam­i­fi­ca­tion is grow­ing so rapidly that “more than 70% of the world’s largest 2,000 com­pa­nies are expected to have deployed at least one such appli­ca­tion by year end 2014.” (Gart­ner).

Gam­i­fi­ca­tion works because it’s engag­ing. It makes the tedious fun by play­ing into the nat­ural human desire to com­pete. It boosts employee engage­ment and dri­ves per­for­mance and results. That’s why so many com­pa­nies use gam­i­fi­ca­tion in cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing and sup­port.

Some recent examples:

  • Call Cen­ter Response Improve­ment: Delta Air Lines part­nered with Nog­gin­Labs Inc. to develop ‘Ready, Set, Jet!,’ a game to train its call cen­ter employ­ees – who help cus­tomers and ‘up-sell’ addi­tional prod­ucts and ser­vices. The game focused on the routes Delta flies, to improve employ­ees’ knowl­edge of its geo­gra­phies and offer­ings. Play­ers earned “money” through the games and could spend it on vir­tual sou­venirs. They also could chal­lenge other play­ers to mini-games. “In the first two months since the ini­tial launch, Delta call cen­ter pro­fes­sion­als have vol­un­tar­ily logged more than 16.2 mil­lion min­utes of game time, the equiv­a­lent of more than 30 years [of train­ing],” accord­ing to the pub­li­ca­tion Chief Learn­ing Offi­cer.
  • Prod­uct Knowl­edge Train­ing: The global mar­ket­ing com­pany Exact­Tar­get, which helps Coca-Cola, Gap and Nike mar­ket new prod­ucts, devel­oped a game — The Knowl­edge Guru — to train sales staff. It brings play­ers to a moun­tain with three paths. By learn­ing top­ics, play­ers can move up the moun­tain, ulti­mately deliv­er­ing the scroll of wis­dom to a guru. There are prizes for high scores and an over­all win­ner. The game helped sales teams rapidly increase mas­tery of new prod­uct infor­ma­tion while reduc­ing call response times.
  • Lead­er­ship Train­ing: NTT Data’s Ignite Lead­er­ship Game immerses employ­ees in man­age­ment sit­u­a­tions while build­ing skills in nego­ti­a­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, time man­age­ment, change man­age­ment and prob­lem solv­ing. It enables play­ers to col­lab­o­rate and pro­vides instant feed­back. Man­age­ment believes it can iden­tify future lead­ers sim­ply by fol­low­ing the game’s results. Forbes reported that “50 employ­ees ended up tak­ing on team lead­er­ship roles, which was 50 per­cent higher than had done so through tra­di­tional train­ing and coach­ing meth­ods.” In addi­tion, play­ers have gen­er­ated 220 new ideas, which led to a 40 per­cent increase in employee sat­is­fac­tion.

An Impor­tant Caveat

Not all games are cre­ated equal, and as many com­pa­nies have failed as have suc­ceeded with gam­i­fi­ca­tion. To be effec­tive for your com­pany, your gam­i­fi­ca­tion pro­gram must be care­fully planned and tied to busi­ness goals.

Look­ing for More Information?

Here are a few exam­ples of short videos that pro­vide a deeper glimpse into the topic. Gam­Ef­fec­tive offers a good basic expla­na­tion for enter­prise gamification.

Freshdesk shows how to gam­ify your help desk. Badgeville shows how gam­i­fi­ca­tion boosts cus­tomer engage­ment, employee pro­duc­tiv­ity and col­lab­o­ra­tion. The Train­ing Game makes the case that mil­len­ni­als, who grew up with gam­ing plat­forms, find gam­i­fi­ca­tion train­ing very effective.

We wel­come your input. If you have a suc­cess­ful gam­i­fi­ca­tion pro­gram, please share it. If you find a help­ful video, please post the link in the com­ments sec­tion below.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.

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