Gamification is new to Ireland, and management can be hesitant to try. Why? Because generally managers are older than their staff, and suggesting playing games in the workplace to them is a brave move. So, why not suggest a new performance improvement strategy?
If you missed ‘Gamification Part 1 – what and why’, you can find it here: https://kpiconsultingireland.com/gamification-part-1/
Gamification – a performance improvement strategy
‘If it’s not broken, why try to fix it?’. Imagine yourself as a 50+ Senior Manager, or CEO, and one of your enthusiastic managers suggests playing some games with the team. Imagine thinking ‘who hired this guy?’. Remember your audience….you’ll have to sell this, so think about how you word it.
‘I’ve an idea to improve performance in the call centre, and it’s a bit different. I understand it has been very successful in other call centres and has increased profits. We need to try it so we’re not ‘missing a step’. There’s your 5 a day – improve….performance….successful….profits….missing a step (translates to ‘left behind’ – CEOs don’t like that).
I know not everybody likes playing games. Yes, some people could get upset being asked to have fun and play games. And yes, this is a valid argument. Everybody is different and that’s what makes working and managing people so enjoyable.
Please click here to read more about improving performance with gamification
And here’s the dilemma. It’s 2019, and the world is a very funny place. Nowadays, everyone has an opinion and people get offended very easily. 30 years ago, everyone also had an opinion, but didn’t have the ‘soapbox’ to tell it to the world. They also got offended in the same way, but didn’t have access to the ‘soapboxes’ to tell everyone how offended they are. Generally, in my opinion, the ‘soapboxes’ are inhabited by people with negative messages, and unfortunately people scare easily.
A plane crashes, you think the ferry is safer.
A ferry sinks, it’s back to the plane.
A friend once told me they’d rather take a plane than a ferry because they had never learnt to swim. It surprised me as I never knew they had learned to fly. Wow, every day’s a school day!!
Difficult Calls cause negative reactions
In a call centre, staff always remember the difficult call one of their colleagues experienced and news of the call spreads like wildfire. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was, and how many excellent calls were dealt with since. Once people are reminded of it, it causes hesitance and caution. Nobody wants to experience these calls and they believe that the next call could be ‘their experience’. As with the plane crash, we remember the crash, but nobody informs us of the hundreds of thousands of successful flights since the last crash. We eventually forget, and then there’s another. ‘They’re dropping like flies these days’, we think, and the cycle begins again.
Call centres can be difficult places to work
Call centres can be difficult places to work, and generally staff have a certain length of service. If you’ve got an exciting and enjoyable environment for your team, you could get 3 years of service before they wish to move on, but these places are few and far between. I’ve managed a call centre where the average tenure was 3 years – it was a fun, energetic and exciting place to be and I’m confident that anybody who visited this call centre would agree.
Gamification creates positive distraction
Creating exciting and fun, performance related, games in your call centre creates a distraction from the mundane. Some may not like it, but let’s stop creating our policies and procedures based on the voice of the minority. It’s the occasional bad call (if not occasional, you’ve other fish to fry, and really shouldn’t be wasting your time reading this), the very odd plane crash (one if every 1.2 million flights, and getting safer) and the ferry….actually, I have no idea about ferry disasters….but you get the point.
Prepare for the worst
I am a firm believer of preparing for the worst, but this is not that. If you worry about the next call, or next flight, you’ll never grow, and you’ll never improve. Listen to the negative views, and find solutions. Don’t expect to find a solution for everyone, because that will never happen. Take a chance, believe in it and own it.
Or, go back to that Senior Manager, or CEO, and ask, ‘Do you know why they hired me?’
Here’s something you can do tomorrow.
Buy an electronic dartboard – you know the type. Plastic darts so nobody can use them as a weapon (you know you have people in your team who would!!). Every week, staff receive points for achieving goals set for them. The person with the most points on Thursday, gets to throw three darts on Friday morning. The score they get, is the number of minutes they can go home early that day. Everyone loves an early finish on a Friday. Perhaps give them a bottle of wine too….your choice. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, and your team will love it – trust me!!
Oh, and make it visible. The rest of the team need to see just how good, or bad, their colleague is, and think about how they may have the chance to do the same next week….if they work harder!!
In part 3, I will discuss the costs of Gamification and provide a few more ideas to liven up your call centre. Until then, thank you for reading and if you need any advice about gamification, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org