I have often seen evidence that contact center agents’ performance is strongly influenced by the key performance indicators managers use to judge, and often reward, their performance. In one extreme example I found that agents in a high-value-customer service center were rewarded if they kept the average call-handling time below two minutes. This sounded positive until I uncovered the common practice of agents dropping calls as soon as they reached two minutes, regardless of whether the customer’s issue had been resolved. This and other observations lead me to conclude that agent performance metrics should be chosen carefully, as companies will reap what they sow, and that companies must positively reinforce performance so agents deliver on the chosen metrics.
Recently I came across a vendor – Snowfly – that supports one of the most innovative ways I have seen to address both issues. It provides a service to help companies set up their key performance metrics and can point them to the ones most likely to produce desired results. Snowfly then helps them set up a reward structure for agents who meet these defined metrics that stays with the company’s budget. The system collects data relating to the metric – for example, the value of sales made – through integration with systems such as ERP and CRM.
Then comes the novel piece. Snowfly’s research shows that agents, like many of the rest of us, love to play computer games, even to the extent of preferring to win tokens to play games over getting a direct reward. So the rewards in its system for meeting metrics are e-tokens to play games. The games are accessible through Snowfly’s Web site, so agents can log on, find out how many tokens they have won, use them to play the game of their choice and by doing so win points. Agents can cash in their points for prizes, which can be cash, vouchers, time off or something else. The cash value of points and the number that an agent can win are controlled by the system so a company can place caps on them to ensure that rewards fit within its budget.
The vendor claims good results from this approach. Agents are shown actually to spend little time playing games, but as they strive to win prizes, attainment of set goals has been shown to go up dramatically. The Snowfly service provides reports required to see who has reached what goals, who has taken which prizes and other details, even tax liabilities. To attract companies to its service, Snowfly requires customers only to sign a letter of agreement and pay only for what they use.
My benchmark research into agent performance management shows that 59 percent of companies reward their agents based on meeting set metrics and on average companies use three different metrics. So if your company would be interested in an innovative way to manage this process, with the intent of driving up agent performance, I recommend you take a look at what Snowfly offers.
Richard Snow – VP & Global Research Director