Some new words can give the wrong impression. Take “gamification,” for example. It may sound as if employers are inviting their employees to play games just for fun, when actually this is a technique increasingly being used to recognize achievement and thus help improve performance. Several workforce management software vendors have introduced gamification systems that support setting targets, measuring achievement against those targets, rewarding players who meet their target and displaying winners who do best at meeting or exceeding their targets. This concept is not entirely new in contact centers, which long have used notice boards that recognize achievements such as “agent of the month,” which is also an award to the employee best meeting his or her targets. A new product called Verint Gamification supports similar capabilities but visualizes them in more engaging ways that link meeting personal goals with enterprise objectives.
It has been developed using the GamEffective product, which Verint has embedded into its customer engagement optimization portfolio. It can draw data from any of the other Verint applications, as well as from external systems such as CRM. The system includes graphics tied to themes so employees can visualize and play games they prefer, whether a football match, a race or building a city. Other features support personalization and noncompetitive leader boards, raffles, ad hoc competitions, simulations, quizzes and surveys; all of them provide data as input to show who is winning. Results can also be shown on balanced scorecards or benchmarks. Games can be played individually or within teams to help motivate both people and teams. Games can also be played across the enterprise, helping collaboration as one team can see the impact of their performance on other teams. From a technical perspective the system requires little or no coding to put in place, is highly scalable, currently works on Android and Apple mobile devices and is available in the cloud. Users of Verint’s other products can automate actions based on rules that apply across what formerly were independent processes; for example, performance in a game might show that an employee needs specific training, which can be set up through the workforce management application, or customer feedback can be included as part of quality management.
As noted, the purpose of Verint Gamification is to improve employee performance, and in this sense it is related to coaching, mentoring and training. It supports setting targets, monitoring metrics and rewarding employees but takes the learning process one step further by making it fun to learn from and collaborate with other employees. In doing so players can gain new skills, information and techniques in a more engaging way than traditional training courses. Employees can play a game at their leisure or be prompted to take part in those that are required, for example to complete a certain task. The system reports on how well they are doing, and this can be taken into account as part of the quality assessment and reward processes.
The system brings together all four aspects of gamification – setting targets, measuring and recognizing achievement, having fun and motivating individuals and teams to perform better. It does this by engaging and motivating employees, and playing in teams can improve knowledge sharing and collaboration as the team works together to achieve the end goal. I believe both of these are of high importance because our recent benchmark research shows that employees across the organization – with the exception of IT – now engage with customers, making collaboration and sharing of information essential to provide consistent experiences for customers. Employees benefit from gamification by gaining new skills, getting to know other team members better and sharing experiences and knowledge. In many instances they are recognized and rewarded for reaching set goals, and of course it can be refreshing to have some fun at work. Employers benefit by linking games to business targets and having employees more motivated to reach their goals, both during games and in carrying out the usual job tasks.
As ever the name of the game is improving employee engagement and thus performance. Our benchmark research into the agent desktop and customer service reveals the importance of engagement, showing that satisfied agents twice as often meet key customer-related metrics such as CSAT and NPS as agents who are not satisfied. Used in the right way gamification can help motivate self-learning, collaboration and strong performance. I recommend that organizations evaluate how Verint Gamification can help improve employee engagement and ultimately the customer experience.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director