Trends in Gam­i­fi­ca­tion for Cus­tomer Ser­vice Training

Five Simple Rules for Staying in the Game – Impact Blog!

Gam­i­fi­ca­tion is gain­ing trac­tion in all kinds of indus­tries includ­ing sales, cus­tomer ser­vice, employee train­ing, cus­tomer engage­ment, edu­ca­tion, even hir­ing and fir­ing. So what’s the buzz about? Gam­i­fi­ca­tion takes the com­po­nents of games—a goal, clear rules, feed­back sys­tem, com­pe­ti­tion, points, strat­egy, rewards, nar­ra­tives, team­work, etc.—and uses those to make every­day tasks more inter­est­ing, engag­ing or motivating.

Gam­i­fi­ca­tion builds on the premise that games are fun and engag­ing. After all, World of War­Craft claims over 1 mil­lion play­ers! Gam­i­fi­ca­tion takes this trend and puts game design into the work and train­ing space. It gives peo­ple a chance to com­pete against co-workers or against them­selves, gain points and rewards, and achieve a higher level of com­pe­tence in the workplace.

Cus­tomer Ser­vice: Train­ing Tool and Work­place Motivator

Health pro­fes­sion­als and pilots are just two pro­fes­sions that train on sim­u­la­tors, gain­ing valu­able expe­ri­ence before they ever step into the work­place. Sim­i­larly, “games” can be used to train cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives in a num­ber of areas includ­ing work­flow processes, pro­fi­ciency with tech­nol­ogy and soft­ware, and deal­ing with (vir­tual) clients before they actu­ally go out onto the floor.  As the user mas­ters a par­tic­u­lar skill, the pro­gram moves on to the next level, iden­ti­fy­ing areas for improve­ment, test­ing choices, track­ing progress and reward­ing successes.

Gam­i­fi­ca­tion can also be insti­tuted in the work­place, allow­ing co-workers to com­pete with each other, gain points, and sup­port their team for prizes. Employ­ees can see how they’re doing on mea­sures of pro­duc­tiv­ity, qual­ity of ser­vice and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, with feed­back for improve­ment. In both train­ing and on-the-job gam­i­fi­ca­tion, super­vi­sors can track progress and step in with addi­tional sup­port as needed.

Know the Score

When it comes to gam­i­fi­ca­tion, remem­ber that one size does not fit all. Just because “games are fun” it doesn’t mean that all games are fun to all peo­ple. They must be mean­ing­ful to the goals of your orga­ni­za­tion and its cul­ture. They should tar­get par­tic­u­lar behav­ior that needs to be cor­rected or strength­ened. Point and award sys­tems must truly mea­sure valu­able actions on the part of your staff. Here are some sim­ple rules to play by:

  1. Pro­vide Ongo­ing Rewards and Feed­back. Don’t wait until the end of the day, week or month to let work­ers know what’s work­ing and what’s not. As in any game, we want to know the score through­out the game! Insti­tute mean­ing­ful long– and short-term goals. This will help keep work­ers engaged over time.
  1. Make it Inter­ac­tive. Lec­tures can be dull and slide pre­sen­ta­tions can be sleep-inducers! The beauty of games is that they are inter­ac­tive. Play­ers can move things around, manip­u­late their envi­ron­ment, explore options and test new skills. Select pro­grams that keep the “player” immersed and engaged.
  1. Take Advan­tage of Self-Paced Learn­ing. In the world of gam­ing, each new feat you accom­plish gives you greater chal­lenges. The game remem­bers where you left off and your level of capa­bil­ity. Com­pare this to many train­ing sit­u­a­tions where you’ve had to sit through sev­eral hours of a pre­sen­ta­tion to get the few bits of infor­ma­tion you really want and need! Gam­i­fi­ca­tion saves pre­cious time by allow­ing for indi­vid­u­al­ized, self-determined behavior.
  1. Keep it Sim­ple. Some of the most fun games—those that have stood the test of time—are those with a straight­for­ward premise that almost any­one can play. Avoid pro­grams that are con­fus­ing or time-consuming to learn. Always go back to basics and eval­u­ate what you’re try­ing to achieve. What do you want your staff to gain by these activities?
  1. Word to the Wise. In 2011 research firm Gart­ner called gam­i­fi­ca­tion a “highly sig­nif­i­cant trend” with “enor­mous” poten­tial. But a year later, the com­pany noted that gam­i­fi­ca­tion was still being dri­ven by “nov­elty and hype,” and pre­dicted that by 2014, 80% of cur­rent gam­i­fied appli­ca­tions would fail to meet busi­ness objec­tives, mainly due to poor design. Just because it’s “a game” doesn’t mean it’s going to make your busi­ness thrive. Get clear on what objec­tives are to be accom­plished and what trends you want to encourage.

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