11 min read
Feb 1, 2021
Customer service

3 Call Center Gamification Ideas That Can Save You Money

Implement these three call center gamification ideas to save your business money by improving key metrics and boosting employee morale and employee retention rates.

Collin CoueySenior Content Writer

As a call center manager or owner, managing employee morale is tough. Your staff has to deal with a heavy call volume, the pressure to deliver excellent customer service, and difficult customers.

That’s why focusing on employee engagement and employee success is key when growing your business. If your staff feels motivated and connected, they’re more likely to stick around and feel invested in the success of your business. One of the best ways to get this buy-in is to have an excellent workplace culture that focuses on growing and rewarding employees. 

With call center gamification, you can both motivate and improve employee satisfaction while also gaining that improved workplace culture. It’s a win-win because your staff will have more reason to stick around to help grow your business. 

If you don’t know where to start, don’t stress. We’re here to explain not only what gamifying your call center means but also why it’s important to consider. Then we’ll give you three simple ways to start gamifying.

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What is gamification and how does it work in a call center?

Gamification is when a business implements game technology or techniques into everyday business practices in order to improve morale and drive goal completion. Put more simply, gamification is a way for businesses to make call center work, which can be monotonous and tedious at times, more engaging by providing fun prizes and common goals outside of just performance to motivate and encourage employees to provide better customer service. 

With gamification strategies in place, you’ll be able to motivate your employees and establish a culture where you reward hard work and top performers in a consistent, measurable way on an ongoing basis. Not only that, but you can deploy games strategically to boost productivity and improve metrics and customer service where they might be lagging.

For gamification to work, you need to provide meaningful prizes that employees actually want to compete for. If you’re concerned about where you’ll get this money, don’t be. We’ll explain more in the next section.

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Gamification can save you money

Gamifying your workplace will help increase your key performance indicators (KPIs) and improve employee morale to drive retention. It’s no secret that turnover rate in call centers can be high. In fact, surveys show that U.S. call centers have anywhere between a 30 to 40% employee turnover rate. 

Infographic on average cost to replace a call-center employee

Because it’s so costly to replace your employees, each and every person who leaves because they’re not engaged or they feel unsatisfied at work will hurt your ability to scale and grow. 

If gamification sounds good to you but you're wondering where to get the budget for prizes, take a look at how much your turnover is costing you by calculating your turnover rate.

To calculate your turnover rate, take the total number of staff that leave within a year and divide by your average number of staff. Once you have that number, divide by 12 to get your monthly average. 

Each one of those people leaving is another new hire to onboard and train, so if gamification stops even one employee from leaving, it should offset the cost of any prizes you might provide for your current staff. 

Setting up a gamification program will improve employee motivation because you're making their jobs more meaningful and rewarding them for doing their job well. Remember: A happy employee is one that performs well and doesn’t leave.

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3 ideas for call center gamification

There are many different ways to gamify your call center, but we’re suggesting these three because they are easy to implement and a great place to start if you’ve never considered gamification before.

1. Use daily prizes and perks to continually improve KPIs

The most simple form of gamification is implementing daily perks—choose a KPI to focus on and reward top performers with small prizes each day.

Create a calendar of KPIs you want to focus on throughout the week or month and then choose days where those KPIs are the most important. These can be the same each week, but we recommend you mix them up so that work doesn’t become predictable and stale. 

Pro Tip

While daily perks are simple, it can be confusing to track and reward the top performers each day if you’re using manual methods, so consider using call center software to help you track and monitor daily KPIs and other metrics.

As far as prizes go, keep it simple. Small gift cards to a coffee shop or extra breaks are fine for daily prizes. Alternatively, you can set up a points system where your staff can bank points for completing jobs in order to “purchase” larger prizes. 

Banking points has the added benefit of making sure your employees will stick around and strive for bigger and bigger prizes, but it requires a lot more upfront setup on your part to determine prize tiers. If that sounds too complicated, fancy coffee and extra breaks will work just fine.

2. Start a call center Olympics to find your call center’s champion of customer success

Holding a contest where employees compete with one another to see who can get the best KPI score for various metrics is a terrific way to motivate your staff. This gamification idea will take more planning and thought than the others and should be considered a big deal to win.

When planning, first decide whether you want to break your staff into teams or have them all compete solo. Once you’ve done that, choose several key metrics you want to boost and consider each KPI as a sport. 

Next, determine a timeframe—we suggest 2 weeks—when your staff can compete to see who will get the gold, silver, and bronze.

Finally, wrap up the call center Olympics by having a big party to celebrate the winners with real medals they can keep at their desks as performance rewards. Oh, and make sure the prize for this one is bigger than average. 

Even if it’s just gift cards, make them significant enough to motivate people to really try to win. Let your winners pick the place where the gift cards come from. Pick gift cards from local businesses when possible to further cement the community aspect of your business.

3. Promote team cooperation with games centered around charity fundraising

If you want a more altruistic method of motivating your team, consider starting a penny war. If you aren’t familiar with this, a penny war is a competition where two or more groups collect coins to score points based on the amount of money collected. 

The reason this is easy to implement for call centers is because you have measurable ways to determine who earns a penny to put into the collection. Like the other two options, the goal is simple: improve KPIs and help out team morale by offering them a way to donate to charity.

First, determine which charity you want to donate to. Consider polling your staff in order to get more buy-in from them.

Then, choose teams and determine which KPIs you want to target. Teams get to add a penny to their team’s jar for each employee who meets or exceeds those goals. If a team hits a certain threshold, they can then add a silver coin to another teams’ jar. These coins are worth negative points at the end of the game, equal to their denomination. At the end of the war, the team with the most points wins, and all of the money gets donated to charity. If it’s in the budget, consider matching the money raised to further motivate your team to succeed.

The great thing about a game like this is that nobody loses; the game demonstrates that it doesn’t have to be a monetary reward for your staff to motivate them to succeed. All of the money raised goes to charity, so even the losing teams can feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done. 

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Keep things fun and interesting, not toxic

Make sure you're setting up gamification techniques in your workplace in such a way that people are not putting each other down.

Healthy competition can bring out the best in people, but it can also bring out some bad workplace habits, so it’s crucial to make sure everyone is having a good time and that no one is putting anyone else down. 

Workplace gamification is a great tool to have at your disposal as a call center manager or owner, but it’s just one tool. You should always recognize your top performers, even if they aren’t winning competitions.

Tracking top performers and KPIs can be difficult, especially as your customer team grows. As we mentioned before, using call center software is a great way to engage and interact with your customers in order to address their needs. 

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Take a look at some other useful tools for call centers:

  • Customer service software covers any tool designed to help organizations manage multi-channel inbound and outbound communications, including phone, live chat, and email, and resolve customer issues. Typical features include call routing, ticketing, and analytics.

  • Customer engagement software refers to a tool that helps businesses manage and organize customer interactions throughout the customer journey in order to boost customer satisfaction, loyalty, and brand advocacy.

  • Gamification software promotes user engagement, motivates users, and helps improve performance with fun activities and achievements.

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