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Improving agent engagement with gamification

Question:

We don’t have a budget for gamification or other monetary incentives, but we’d like to improve agent engagement with the hope of reducing our agent attrition rates. Can you share some ideas to help us get started?

Answer:

Too many companies concentrate on decreasing agent attrition instead of improving retention. If you want to change the culture of your contact center and make it a more upbeat and satisfying place to work, pay attention to agents while they work for you. With the right practices and applications, managers can build great contact centers where people want to work, because they know they are appreciated and are making a contribution every single day.

Here is a list of agent engagement best practices that will help organizations set up a strategic framework and guidelines that will build a culture where employees can thrive.

  1. Build a culture dedicated to providing continuous feedback, coaching and training – this creates a positive environment where agents will go above and beyond, as they know that management “has their back.”
  2. Openly communicate what is happening in the contact center – this can be achieved by communicating frequently via newsletters, team meetings, manager communications, or executive town-hall meetings. Invite agents to participate in department planning before implementing changes.
  3. Support the use of preferences and flexibility in schedule changes – encourage agents to participate in the planning process and select schedules that position them for success.
  4. Provide opportunities for career development – offer contact center employees a multi-year career path to encourage them to stay with the company.
  5. Treat agents like they matter – ensure agents receive the same benefits as other employees in the company; do not require them to travel to work when the weather is bad, and allow them to participate in company events, like holiday parties. Senior executives should show support by coming to the contact center to listen to calls and speak with agents.
  6. Show agents the contribution they make to the success of the company – share survey and QM results with agents on a timely basis so they can appreciate the difference they make in the company; give employees visibility into their own reports so they can see a direct correlation between their performance and the achievement of contact center goals.
  7. Celebrate success – use contact center performance management, gamification and QA solutions to consistently recognize outstanding performance and keep agents motivated.
  8. Encourage supervisors and managers to take an active role in the agents’ success – contact center leaders should be available, approachable and foster bi-directional communication. Supervisors should work as hard for agents as their agents do for customers.
  9. Conduct employee surveys on a regular basis – take the time to find out what your employees think, share the results, and put suggestions into action to improve the operating environment. Demonstrate to agents that their feedback is important.
  10. Proactively identify agents who are at risk of leaving – look for the warning signs that an employee is disengaging. Ascertain and rectify the issues that are making the agent unhappy.
  11. Provide company time to volunteer for corporate-sponsored charities, blood drives, local boys’ and girls’ clubs, or match employees’ contributions to other charities – demonstrate that your company is a good corporate citizen so employees feel good about where they work and sense they are making a difference in ways that matter to them.