Article published on EnergyCentral.com »
Today's dynamic business landscape, no matter the field,
offers profound opportunities and attendant challenges.
Utility companies, in particular, are routinely faced with
emergency conditions and unplanned events that can affect
hundreds, if not thousands or millions, of customers - all
of whom are looking to speak with a live person. This puts
the contact center on the front-line and requires a team of
agents who are engaged and armed with the necessary tools.
Gamification's growing record of accomplishment in
attracting, retaining, motivating and engaging employees,
strengthening customer bonds, and improving business results
continues to intrigue across many industries including the
utility sector. In fact, gamification's intrinsic allure
may be its greatest quality. Unlike traditional contact
center productivity, performance management or talent
development solutions, it rarely fails to elicit the
attention and enthusiasm of senior executives.
Though gamification is generally thought of as a tool to
motivate front-line agents and back-office personnel, it
can just as effectively serve as a C-level catalyst to update
outmoded performance management systems and draw executives
directly into the employee engagement process. This dual
capacity is instrumental in transforming organizational
culture, processes, brand, and engagement to optimize
success in today's global marketplace.
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 definition is
much 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 very broad impact.
Further, current gamification platforms provide the
scorekeeping apparatus (data warehouses that pull multiple
forms of data into a single, usable format, role-based
scorecards and dashboards, reporting and analysis features,
etc.) required to coordinate gamification goals with business
performance logic. Or these platforms can easily integrate
with the measurement and assessment systems already in place.
Gamification includes online social networking for coaching,
recognition and collaboration, survey and other Voice of the
Employee (VoE) communication channels, impactful
visualizations and a versatile array of game metaphors or
themes that can inspire and align employees in different ways,
cross-functionally and among every operational level.
Agent miscommunication and other contact center risk factors
are largely mitigated when employees are equipped with
stimulating performance management and support tools,
multiple channels of communication and entertaining ways
to play, compete and thrive. Gamification is not static, and
a flexible scorekeeping platform and extensible web application
framework provides an ability to keep the experience fresh and
compelling while always aligned with the evolving needs of the
organization and the well-being of its employees and consumers.
The contact center is inherently complex given the importance
and urgency of services provided, rise in business disruption,
shifting population demographics, varied nature of the customer
experience continuum, typically high rates of turnover and so
much more. Though there are no single, simple or quick solutions
to this constantly evolving, multifaceted challenge, gamification
offers a fresh approach to performance management that has
demonstrated tremendous effectiveness in addressing contact
center demands in diverse industries.
Moreover, it provides an extraordinarily persuasive catalyst
to motivate reluctant, disinterested or indecisive leadership
to replace the legacy systems that have long outlived their
ability to adequately equip and engage employees and partners.
There's no doubt that the pace of change will continue to
accelerate. Will your utility contact center be ready?
Greg Salvato is CEO of contact center employee engagement and
performance management software solutions company TouchPoint
Article published on EnergyCentral.com »