June 25, 2019
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Gamification is the process of applying game mechanics to non-gamified environments, such as contact center operations. It has been lauded in recent years for its value in improving onboarding training results, keeping agents constantly motivated and engaged and incentivizing behaviors that help them meet and exceed department and corporate goals and objectives.
Although launching a gamification program can be easy, keeping the program fresh so that users continue achieving sustainable results requires more attention. We have gathered the top 10 best practices for introducing gamification seamlessly in your contact center and accomplishing long-term success. This blog addresses the first three; the remaining best practices will be presented in Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.
1. Start Small
It can be tempting to create a multi-dimensional gamification solution with many badges and levels right out of the gate. However, simplicity is best. Pick one thing and build from there.
With dashboards & leaderboards, for example, less is more. Keep them small to begin with, but allow personalization so that users can add their co-workers. Also provide context by structuring them by department or location. This allows users to see how their actions are helping to achieve a larger goal.
After your agents achieve early success with gamification and you learn what works well and what could work better, it’s time to innovate. Observe and consult with your agents to brainstorm new functions, behaviors and challenges to add to the program to keep everyone engaged and productive. A gamification program is not a one-and-done endeavor. Keeping users motivated requires continuous updates and improvements.
2. State Clear Goals
Before you introduce gamification to your team, it is important that you set and then communicate clear objectives. Be sure that you can answer the questions – What is the point of the game? What’s in it for my team?
Think of gamification as a way to amplify desired behaviors and choose behaviors to gamify that will have long-term impact. In order to prevent user fatigue, track user progress and appropriately recognize and reward milestones and completion of goals. Show them their colleagues’ scores and progress. Reset the leaderboard for each game module to keep the competition fresh and reduce the chance for anyone to have a permanent advantage.
Another powerful way to engage users is to frame actions and ideas within a compelling context. Explain why they are being asked to take action to earn points, search for a treasure or survive the mission. This will provide a reason to interact with your content.
Most importantly, the behaviors you gamify must generate real value to your users and the company. It is this “value” that keeps users in the flow of the game, advances it and drives sustainable behavior change.
3. Use Science to Advance Learning and Sustain Motivation
Motivation is what encourages users to continue the game and advance their learning. The best method for motivating users is to employ scientific motivational theory. One line of thought is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, beginning with physical needs for survival and topping off with self actualization. Maslow theorized that the lower level needs must be satisfied before the higher levels of need can be met.
Scientific American offers another theory, containing three basic elements: the likelihood of goal achievement increases when you are in charge, chances of goal attainment are higher when you see value in content and actions, and the odds of sticking with a program are greater when you make progress and see improvement.
Using these and other theories of motivation when designing your gamification program can go a long way in achieving and sustaining user success.
Learn more about these best practices and how to keep gamification fresh in your business in the Guide to Gamification Greatness ebook.
Achieving Long-Term Success
As is true in general for any incentive or learning program with the goal of changing employee behaviors to result in improved individual and company performance, it is important to track what is working and what could work better and then make the ongoing changes necessary to keep things fresh. We’ve touched on the first three of the 10 Best Practices for Achieving Long-Term Success with Gamification. Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3 of this series for the remaining proven best practices.