Vikram Subramaniam, VP Customer Experience at Elance-Odesk-Upwork, is a customer experience expert. We met with him to discuss his views of gamification and customer experience. Prior to Upwork, Vikram ran customer experience at Yahoo!. Vikram discusses his views of using gamification as a way to speed up and tune the process of organizational change.
Sometimes, we go to so much trouble to recruit the right people for our customer contact centers, that we forget the importance of onboarding — helping newbies make it through those first nerve wracking days on the job. If done right, though, onboarding can put new employees on the fast track to productivity, and much more. It certainly takes the sting off those first days on the job and is likely to keep employees happier and more engaged.
Onboarding is much more than speeding up the initial time it takes an employee at a call center to learn how to do their job; it’s also more than orientation. It presents companies with a meaningful opportunity to engage employees, convey to them the larger corporate picture — brand, goals and culture, and even reduce turnover.
Check out our new white paper: best practices for customer service and call center gamification. We’re focusing there on the use of gamification to engage customer service employees, balance service, satisfaction and issue resolution and increase training and onboarding.
Recently, we have been taking the time to think more about Customer Service and Gamification. We feel that customer service gamification in call centers is so much more than giving employees rewards for completing basic activities; it is certainly more than a variety of competition-centric game mechanics. Why is that? The answer is simple: simplistic gamification of customer service tasks has nothing to do with delighting customers or customer service employees.
Persuasion science, when you think of it, is not that different from research based deep thinking about that elusive quality: employee motivation. And no one argues that remaining motivated in a customer support or customer service setting is not simple. Customers yell at you, you are constantly tracked and measured, and the work requires patience and perseverance in the face of repetition. In a call center scenario you may be simply ignored or yelled at. One of the book’s most telling examples is about a call center.
Before we go into what works to motivate call center employees, let’s examine conventional wisdom about customer service or call center gamification. We’ll then see why it is wrong.