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Extreme Makeover: Gamification Changes the Face of Telecom Contact Centers

November 14, 2016

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In its heyday, the home improvement reality show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was appointment TV. Ty Pennington and his crew of exuberant carpenters, architects, contractors and designers would, in just a week, transform a worn-out house into an unbelievable dream home for a lucky family sent away on vacation. Witnessing the metamorphosis and marveling at the final results (and the consequent family hysteria) was always impressive and entertaining. Though not as speedy or likely to incite tears of joy, gamification’s impact on the contact center and greater organization is typically more resonant for several key reasons.

First, there’s a lot more to gamification than is implied by the oft-cited but inadequate definition: “the use of game mechanics in non-game contexts.” Gartner research analyst Brian Burke’s is better: “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.” Burke’s inclusion of the “digital” dimension embodies gamification’s use of contemporary web application technology, big data and analytics, and user experience design and communications capabilities, which in aggregate, enable reliable, secure and flexible enterprise-scale solutions and therefore the potential for broad, lasting impact.

Second, current gamification platforms provide the scorekeeping apparatus (i.e., data warehouse and business logic engine) to encode and align gamification rules and objectives with existing business performance goals or easily integrate with the telecom contact center’s existing measurement and assessment systems. This fundamental capability ensures that the performance objectives established for any gamification initiative are completely consistent with the metrics used to measure success at the business level.

Third, gamification solutions add value to and stimulate the meaningful use of social features, performance scorecards and analytics, data-driven incentive and recognition programs, collaboration, Voice of the Employee (VoE) channels and other enterprise systems through a wide array of game types and metaphors. These inspire and align employees in different ways, cross-functionally and between operational level

But gamification’s intrinsic allure may be its greatest quality. Unlike traditional contact center productivity, efficiency or talent development solutions, it rarely fails to elicit the attention and enthusiasm of senior executives drawing them directly into the employee engagement process and serving as a catalyst to update outmoded performance management systems.

While drama, mishaps, miscommunication and personality conflict (albeit contrived) are desirable in producing reality television, they are far less captivating in the reality of the workplace. These risks are mitigated when employees are equipped with accurate performance intelligence, effective support tools, multiple channels of communication and entertaining ways to play, cooperate and thrive.

Ty Pennington’s home makeover adventures, like so many other reality shows, made the ordinary interesting. Similarly, gamification has captured the business limelight because it brings performance management to life — gives it personality that is visual, dynamic, social, compelling and yes, fun. It democratizes intelligence by integrating traditionally siloed databases and reporting dashboards into a complete and accurate performance analysis resource available to all.

It has the potential to “flatten” the organization, too – unifying purpose, mission and support from the front-line through the C-level. Gamification can create friendly, competitive or collaborative bonds between senior executives and front-line employees while maintaining consistent alignment with business purpose that would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve on an enterprise scale otherwise.

Aggressive competition, customer churn, innovation and disruption, high rates of workforce turnover and so much more place tremendous strain on telecommunications providers. Though there is no simple solution to these challenges, gamification offers a fresh approach to performance management that has not only demonstrated impressive effectiveness in addressing telecom contact center demands, but has uniquely captured the attention of employees at every level.

Business pressure across the telecom sector will undoubtedly increase, so isn’t it time to compose that casting call? Among the growing community of qualified, inspired gamification solutions vendors exists the extreme makeover dream team that can help transform your contact center organization into the customer and employee experience dynamo you’ll need to succeed in today’s economy–without the scripted drama of reality TV.

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