• February 1, 2015
  • By Donna Fluss, president, DMG Consulting

Grow Motivation Through Gamification

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Gamification has captured the attention of managers, employees, and customers. Emerging applications in this category are catching on in contact centers and being deployed in customer-facing Web sites to engage and retain employees and customers.

DMG defines gamification as "the application of gaming and behavioral modification science, methodology, and techniques in business applications and processes to accelerate adoption, promote engagement, and drive ideal behaviors by making experiences fun, motivating, and rewarding." While the concept and practice of using challenges—such as achieving reward levels—to engage people has been around for years, what's new is the developing market of packaged gamification solutions that provide companies with a framework, development environment and tools, and possibly a portal to use to create customized programs.

Recognition + Rewards = Results

Gamification is ideal for staff-intensive operating areas, where it can be used as an agent empowerment tool. It provides a framework that enables organizations to motivate employees and customers to do what they want done, by recognizing and rewarding their actions. Agent recognition and rewards are tied to reaching performance goals, something agents are accountable for anyway. For customers, gamification is a way of promoting engagement with the product, user community, brand identification, and loyalty. Gamification injects fun and competition into the process, in the form of surprises and perks via intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. There's now "something in it for me," whether the "me" is an employee or a customer. There's also something in it for the enterprise: engaged employees and loyal customers who are driving profitability by contributing more to the bottom line.

How Gamification Works

Gamification solutions provide agents with real-time performance data that is directly tied to the key performance indicators that matter most to them. These solutions are being used to motivate agents to improve their performance and rank by giving them challenges, tasks, activities, and quests designed to "level up" their performance. Many of these solutions come with internal social media communities to foster collaboration, encourage peer support, and provide a fun diversion while still delivering an outstanding customer experience.

A Competitive Landscape

When DMG started researching the gamification sector in May 2014, there were only a few vendors offering gamification solutions for contact centers. A few months later, three new solutions had emerged, and quite a few other vendors had indicated that they planned to make investments in this area in the near future. The top contact center gamification vendors are Badgeville, Bunchball, ClearView, NGUVU, PlayVox, and Snowfly. Prospects should carefully assess each of these solutions, as they are very different from one another.

What's Next for Gamification?

The potential for applying gamification to real-world experiences is far-reaching, tremendous, and limited only by people's imaginations. DMG expects more contact center vendors to incorporate gaming techniques into their solutions through internal development, partnerships, and/or acquisition, making these capabilities more readily available. Gamification has not yet started to enter the back office, but the opportunity here is huge. DMG expects the next two years to be highly productive for gamification providers, as organizations use these solutions to help reduce customer effort and positively engage with their customers via social community channels. Although the primary goal of gamification is employee and customer engagement, these solutions also hold promise for capturing insights into what drives specific behaviors. As these solutions mature, DMG expects them to generate an increasing amount of analytics that will be used to further develop more personalized motivational tools for employees and customers.

For more information about this emerging application, see DMG's recently released "2014–2015 Gamification Product and Market Report," available on the DMG Web site.

Donna Fluss (donnafluss@dmgconsult.com) is founder and president of DMG Consulting, a provider of contact center and analytics research, marketing analysis, and consulting.

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