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2016
scottbakken

Skinny Dipping

Posted by scottbakken Apr 27, 2016

pDSP1-20329173v750.pngDiving Into Analytics with Only the Bare Necessities

 

While placing my order for a $2,000 fish-finding tool, I envisioned walleyes jumping into my boat faster than I could toss them in my cooler. After a few frustrating afternoons on the water, I realized I would have been just as well off with a simple $149 model. Shelling out two grand for a tool loaded with bells and whistles would make sense if I were deep-sea fishing for tarpon. But deploying it for walleye was like using a bazooka to kill a mosquito.

 

Depending on what information they’re looking to reel in, contact centers investing in “big data” may also experience buyer’s remorse. Big data is all the rage these days but for many organizations, big data is overkill. What it often produces is big expenses and big headaches.

 

Indeed, big data, which is engineered to optimize predictive analytics and other sophisticated methods for extracting value from unstructured information, requires a big, big effort. Collecting a critical mass of data and gaining clarity about how to massage it to achieve predetermined objectives is a big job in itself. The processing piece that comes next demands highly skilled analysts who know how to discern operational subtleties and find the proverbial needles in an endless supply of data-stuffed haystacks. That’s a tall order for organizations of any size, much less contact centers whose size and budget don’t allow them to even consider jumping on the big data bandwagon.

 

Go Lean

A better option? Skinny data. More specifically, skinny speech data. Unlike big data, which is essentially a collection of data sets so large and complex that they become awkward to work with using traditional database management tools, we can define skinny data as solving specific problems around targeted business issues with minimal supporting data.

 

A data source that’s particularly well suited for skinny data applications is speech analytics, which enables you to move from data creation to easy-to-interpret results to business decision faster than you can say, “I can’t believe how inexpensive this is.” In fact, valuable “skinny” bits of information are probably in the speech tool you’re already using.

 

Leveraging skinny speech data can help contact centers improve agent effectiveness, minimize compliance risk, capitalize on selling opportunities, identify complaint trends, reduce customer churn, decrease operational costs and mine rich new veins of business intelligence.

 

Conversations I had with data science executives from two large insurance companies demonstrate the folly of pursuing big data when skinny data can get the job done quickly and efficiently. The first executive told me he wanted to process large customer data sets to predict churn using voice, text, e-mail, demographics, tenure, surveys and other forms of data.

 

The second executive was confident he could leverage speech analytics to generate valuable insights about churn and other business issues. He told me, “We already have so much big data that we don’t know what levers to pull right now. I just need some basic information that’s aligned with our KPIs (key performance indicators).”

 

 

Bingo.  Skinny data can help you cross the finish line while big data is still generating a multitude of reports that are just as likely to confuse as impress. The contrast is stark: why sink $1 million or more into an enterprise CRM when actionable targeted analytics can be achieved by simply combining customer interactions and sales data?

 

Granted, if you want your analysis to uncover issues that are currently unknown and unanticipated, that’s a job for big data. But skinny speech data is ideally suited to boost contact center profitability by applying basic but effective methodologies to issues like First Call Resolution (FCR), root cause of calls, uninformed or unprofessional agents and customer frustration.

 

Skinny Speech Studies

A speech analytics pilot study built around an important business issue can help you discern the why behind the what and serve as a catalyst for change. For instance, if your rate of repeat calls is trending upward, an exploratory study can help identify the root cause of the higher rate and provide the necessary insights to take corrective measures.

 

Start your study by identifying an issue that relates directly to your KPIs, then spend two or three weeks searching through agent-customer conversations to find calls that support the study’s objectives.

 

Next, fill a bucket with 75 to 100 relevant recordings to share with your company’s decision makers. Invite them to sit around a table and listen to selected calls. Actually hearing the voice of the customer is far more impactful than reading reports or interpreting a set of dashboards.

 

Presenting the study with a compelling narrative interspersed with skinny pieces of data—snippets of audio and nuggets of analysis—can build awareness, initiate discussion and move your team to action.

 

Skinny Successes

While many organizations apply speech analytics to ongoing, long-term initiatives, many quick wins have been gained along the way, many of which have made an immediate impact on the bottom line.

 

Here are seven industry examples that may spark ideas about how you can use skinny speech data in your own organization to solve key business issues.

 

Higher Education

Business analysts exposed agents who were making potentially litigious “guarantee” statements. Those agents were taken off the floor the next day.

 

• National Retailer (consumables)

Analysts quickly uncovered a recurring issue related to packaging/shipping failure.

 

• National Retailer (apparel)

Analysts discovered an opportunity to reduce callbacks with a simple change: the retailer’s website offered a next-day shipping option when no such option existed.

 

• National Retailer (home improvement)

Analysts recognized an opportunity to identify customers who were threatening lawsuits. After shifting focus of the initiative to “small claims court” phrases, the client was able to rectify the marketing issue that was causing the problem.

 

• National Retailer (wellness)

Analysts saw an opportunity to curtail the ongoing problem of agents making medical misstatements that left the client vulnerable to significant legal consequences.

 

• Collections

A chief compliance and privacy officer was aghast when told by his analysts that a number of his collections associates were routinely using phrases that could be considered false threats, such as “Take back your car.” According to this executive, the dollar cost of an enforcement action could run as much as $10 million.

 

• Telecommunications

During the detection auditing process an analyst discovered agents who were using unprofessional language and inappropriately commenting on customers’ bad credit ratings.

 

Conclusion

Unlike long, complex initiatives that take nine to twelve months and produce results that don’t always justify the expense of producing them, skinny speech projects can generate fast, low-cost wins in four weeks or less and demonstrate to key stakeholders that your speech software is generating a healthy ROI.

 

About MainTrax

MainTrax is a leading provider of speech analytics professional services and managed services to end users and industry partners. Free of allegiance to any one solution or supplier, MainTrax has earned a reputation as an independent, unbiased resource for consulting expertise across a variety of products and providers.

 

About Scott Bakken

Founder and President of MainTrax, is an independent voice of the speech analytics industry.

 

Scott Bakken

scott@maintrax.com

www.maintrax.com

612-817-4090

iStock_000028815420Large.pngBabies. Jobs. Houses. Spouses. These are just a few examples of major events in people’s lives. They are the standard by which customer experience and marketing professionals must now drive experience design. Why? Life events are driven by emotion and are significant opportunities for companies to attract new customers or cement relationships with existing customers – for life. For example, having a baby is a defining stage of life when consumers are most likely to change their purchasing behaviors. Customers will recognize when companies show up during these critical moments and, if executed well, this effort will pay dividends.

Andy Mattox gathered three CX experts from Andrew Reise Consulting – Dan Arthur, Jeff Lewandowski, and Joe Piette – to discuss life event marketing and learn more about how to do it right. At a high level, they talked about the following topics:

Journey Maps

Strategy for Neutral or Negative Interactions

Empathy Starts With Employees


Journey Maps

How would an organization better understand customer life events?

Joe Piette: You still leverage some of the traditional customer experience tools like customer lifecycle and journey mapping to begin to understand the interactions. But I think the driver behind life event experience strategy is really more about determining how we fit into a consumer’s life versus how they fit into ours. Each company needs to answer this question: What are those events in a person’s life that cause the need for interaction with our business? In healthcare, there are definite triggers in a person’s life that drive the need to think about insurance: having a child, getting married, losing a job, retiring, getting sick, etc. The most important thing to understand is what the customer is doing, thinking, or feeling at that time. Customer journey maps are helpful tools to show where the customer may interact with the brand during that life event — “moments of truth,” so to speak.

Jeff Lewandowski: Another way to anticipate your customers’ life events is generation segmentation. For example, a lot of companies — particularly in financial services — are really interested in baby boomers, which overlaps with retirement, or millennials, which overlaps with buying a home or getting married. How do these different sets of customers come to and view these life events? By combining the generational awareness of your customers with appreciation for the specific life events, you know what to expect and strategize accordingly.

What are ways that an organization can identify life events so it can develop strategies accordingly?

Lewandowski: The care center probably is the No. 1 source of real-time information about your customers. Most companies get millions of calls per month but the agents’ capability to listen to all of that information is limited. On the other side, you often see a typical company’s marketing group hire third-party researchers to evaluate their customers instead of using the internal knowledge the company already has. Long story short: it’s very important to listen at the care center level, but it’s also very important to put the infrastructure in place to validate that a specific concern is happening with a significant number of customers.

Can you give some examples of what companies can do after they understand the life event better?

Dan Arthur:  From a marketing perspective, for something like retirement, just by better understanding the consumer’s attitudes, behaviors, and emotions at that point in time you can change your brand’s messaging or start a new campaign. The tone, timing, and cadence of messaging will be unique to that life event creating a stronger, more personalized connection. Also, getting married, having a baby, or buying a house can be very exciting times and positive events, but they’re also extremely taxing. So just because it’s a positive event doesn’t mean that’s how a customer is feeling at that time. It’s important to understand the full picture and range of emotions of the customer when crafting your communications.

Piette: We use customer personas to help paint a picture of how different consumers experience a life event, including their attitudes, behaviors, and emotions. These are used to help educate the organization, particularly for customer-facing employees that interact with customers every day. They are also great for designing personalized experiences across multiple channels.

What about big data – how does a company get insights into which customers are going through life events?

Piette: Big data is a great opportunity to bring science to the art of customer experience. But I worry that brands could get lost in the data, or too concerned with accounting for every X and Y data point. A lot of what focusing on life events is all about is being more human. These approaches we talk about, such as walking in your customer’s shoes, are not just lip service. They are about trying to understand from an emotional and proactive standpoint what the consumer is going through and how you can be more empathetic, more human in your interactions with them. That’s the balance between big data and some of the tools we bring to the table, like personas and journey mapping. There’s value in bringing the best of both.

Strategies for Neutral or Negative Interactions

When a company typically has had only neutral or negative interactions, what are some tips on how to use life events in an experience strategy?

Piette: Some of the best practices aren’t radical ideas; it’s how well you do them that determines how successful you’ll be. First, understand what the trigger is so you can be more empathic in your interactions. Next, understand all of the different players within a life event and all of your different interactions and contact points during that life event. Then try to set up timely and relevant messaging and calls to action for that life event.

In health insurance, we use the example of job loss. With the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there’s a big opportunity for those who have lost their jobs to move from their employer-sponsored group insurance to individual insurance plans. When the ACA was introduced, the only messaging going out at that time to those who lost their jobs was a legal form letter about COBRA insurance. So we looked at the entire ecosystem around job loss. We talked with several different experts that interact with consumers going through the job loss journey on a daily basis, such as behavioral psychologists, HR directors, staffing firms, and career counselors, about the impact job loss can have. We talked to roughly 40 consumers about how they felt during job loss and what impacts it had on their lives. It turns out that timing is critically important, because if you reach out to someone too soon, they don’t hear your message because they’re so upset. It’s a deeply emotional event.

Next, the tone of the messaging is critical. If someone is eligible for COBRA, they’ve obviously lost their job. So customer care agents who handle those calls should be trained on that life event and how to be empathetic in that situation.

We talked a little about journey maps earlier, what is the connection between life events and customer touchpoints/moments of truth?

Piette: Life events are a broader way to look at the customer lifecycle. We typically have the same phases of a customer journey such as Shop, Buy, Use, etc. During a life event though, a customer goes through those activities slightly differently. So, by understanding the life events, you can make the touchpoints and moments of truth more impactful to the customer, become more personalized, and ideally capture more of the market. An example is in the utility industry: in the spring, an electric utility’s marketing material will discuss outages. While they are not specific to a life event, utilities know outages are a huge disruption in someone’s life. And most utilities have tried to match the life event experience approach to a known neutral or negative interaction. It’s a great way to apply it.

Arthur: Customers really don’t want to interact with their utilities on a day-to-day basis, but customers expect them to show up when they need service. For example, moving can be one of the most draining transitions in a person’s life, and arguably a life event. If you call the utility and all they care about is completing the transaction with you and there’s no sign of empathy or consideration for all the variables going on with the move, your satisfaction will be lower.

Empathy Starts with Employees

So we’ve talked about how to understand the life event, manage some of the key moments of truth … what does this mean for customer-facing employees? How does a company tactically make this real for a customer?

Arthur: We’re having that discussion right now with several companies that want to extend their brand to the front line and make sure every touchpoint executes the brand’s promise. We stress hiring practices to help with that so you get the right people with the ability to be genuine and empathic in certain situations. Training and mentoring also are important. Consider something as simple as a bank overdraft — it might not be a life event, but there’s an impact on the customer’s pocketbook so there will be some passionate emotions. Handled correctly by the bank, this can be an opportunity to show how you understand what the customer is feeling. Then you can guide the discussion in a more positive way.

Lewandowski: There’s a natural propensity to want to get to the results. Everybody starts to do customer experience thinking they’ll get to some kind of end result, which usually is financial. Often too quickly the mentality is something like “How do I squeeze the financial benefit out of this?” There’s a chronology in how to get there. Happy employees deliver good customer experiences. These experiences engender loyalty, which results in financial returns. People have a tendency to want to skip some of the dirty work, so to speak, and get to the financial results.

Final thoughts? It sounds like this is the next generation of the traditional customer service ethic of putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.

Piette: Life event experience design is about connecting more positively with people, across all touchpoints and leveraging what you’ve learned across every channel.

Arthur: Connecting with customers at a deeper level will be critical for companies to compete in the future. How you make them feel is what they will remember in their interactions with your brand. Understanding the drivers and experience that creates positive emotions will be a differentiator.

Lewandowski: If you’re making life event experience design part of your strategy, the key piece is educating your employees on those relevant life events that intersect with your brand and what your customers are going through in those events. Then your employees can better understand what those customers are experiencing at certain points in time, where they are in their journey. You can’t build or encourage empathy without that education. And it makes the difference between really connecting with a customer versus reading off of a script. It’s more human to say, “Oh really? I’m so sorry. I will do anything I can to help make this easier for you.”

Learn More

For additional thoughts and insight, check out their site. Set up a time to speak with an Andrew Reise expert about CX goals within your organization.

About Andrew Reise

Andrew Reise is a customer experience transformation firm. Their unique approach consists of their own methodology and a group of distinctly selected consultants - who are all veterans in customer experience. Their process is proven and their people boast a 'do it all' no-nonsense approach and are empowered to do the right thing even if it means going above and beyond the original scope of work

We're excited to announce that the Registration for LISTEN 2016 - the industry leading event for Customer Engagement Analytics - is now open at www.listen2016.com. Attend LISTEN to take your EngagementOptimization.com experience face to face.

 

LISTEN 2016
Registration Now Open
Early Bird Deadline is May 31, 2016
opal.jpg
LISTEN 2016
November 2 – 4, 2016
Opal Sands Hotel, Clearwater Beach, Florida


What’s new for LISTEN 2016? A lot!!
  • New location – Opal Sands – newest hotel on Clearwater Beach right on the Gulf of Mexico
  • New half-day pre-conference workshops for executives and analysts
  • New 101 and advanced executive and analyst tracks
  • New Roundtable discussions to facilitate peer-to-peer sharing
  • New pre-event activity and team building options
  • New spouse activities
  • New mobile events app – customize your experience, x, and x
What’s the same…only better?
  • Exciting pre-event activities
  • Many session options and great customer content
  • Partner pavilion—learn about our partners’ technology offering
  • Networking – even more opportunities this year
  • Product demos in the lounge – come talk to the experts
Early bird special – Register by May 31 and save. Early bird rate is $499 (Standard price is $799).
2 for 1 discount – Register 2 – Don’t leave anyone out. Register two attendees from your company and get one free! Also valid with early bird pricing.
Presenter package – Present in one of our sessions or participate on a panel and receive 2 free passes to LISTEN 2016! ($1,898 value).

 

call-center-agent-performance-metrics.pngHow do call centers gauge areas of weakness and strengths of their agents? Call centers implement metrics to help track performance of agents and to get insight into where to improve customer service and the overall customer experience.

 

Implementing call center agent performance metrics is not, by any means, a new trend. But, with so many to choose from, how can you determine if you’re using the metrics most suitable for your call center needs?

 

We’ve put together a list of key call center agent performance metrics your call center should be implementing, including:

  • Forecast Accuracy
  • First Call Resolution Rate
  • Average Handling Time
  • Contact Center Efficiency
  • Contact Quality

 

[FULL BLOG POST]

 

This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

x_0_0_0_14000880_300.pngKey Takeaway: Addressing your contact center agents' desires is critical for maximizing productivity.

 

If there's one thing that every contact center manager can agree upon, it's that agents are the backbone of any customer service strategy. Without great agents, it doesn't matter what tools, technology or strategy a company has in place - the customer experience isn't going to reach its ideal level.

 

That means that contact center decision-makers should make appeasing their agents a top-level priority. Of course, to reach that goal, it's first essential to recognize what it is that these agents actually want.

 

With that in mind, Customer Think contributor Anna Warchol recently rounded up some of the more common agent wishes, gathered throughout 2015. Those organizations that can best address these concerns and desires will be able to boost agent job satisfaction and enthusiasm, and improve customer engagement in the process.

 

Feedback needed

One of the most significant items on agents' wish lists was high-quality performance monitoring. However, as one participant highlighted, monitoring needs to be handled very strategically to satisfy call center personnel.

 

"Quality monitoring. It has to happen, it has to be fair, and the agent has to be told about it," the respondent said, according to Warchol.

 

The writer went on to explain that the current system utilized by many contact centers consists of little more than supervisors scoring calls in a somewhat random way. Naturally, this approach isn't going to satisfy agents, as it's simply too subjective and small in scope. An agent who has 50 great calls in a row but only receives a score on the 51st, which went poorly, is not going to feel he or she received a fair judgment, and justifiably so.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 12.14.47 PM.pngInstead, agents desire monitoring that is comprehensive, automated and completely objective. To that end, new contact center technologies are needed. For example, a robust interaction analytics solution will examine the entirety of a given agent's calls, not just a select few, with objective metric-based performance measurement, as this recent white paper explained.

 

The right resources

Similarly, Warchol pointed out that many agents' wish lists noted the need for better technologies and tools. "We are only as good as the tools we are given," was a common refrain, she reported. The writer went on to note that efforts to improve agents' technological tools must go beyond the mundane, such as PC updates, and instead incorporate advanced solutions. These can include cloud-based software, omnichannel capabilities and speech analytics resources.

 

This is especially noteworthy because many contact center leaders think of tech upgrades solely in terms of improving customer engagement and support. Obviously, the end goal for any business's contact center is to satisfy customers, and it's true that solutions such as speech analytics can play a key role here. However, the fact that embracing new technologies can also improve agent job satisfaction makes these upgrades' benefits both wider-ranging and more substantial overall.

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 12.15.00 PM.png

Agents as customers

One last noteworthy entry on call center agents' wish lists is the desire to be treated more like customers. As Warchol acknowledged, this may come across as rather corny, but the fact of the matter is that far too many business leaders do not take the time to get to know and understand their agents. Instead, they leave the contact center as a somewhat disconnected component of their organization, and that distance can't help but wear on agents.

 

To combat this tendency, it's important for leaders to engage with their agents more frequently and to a deeper degree. Only then can decision-makers recognize their own agents' wish lists, and figure out how to meet those goals.

 

How does your company address agents' wish lists?

iStock_000046740412_Medium-Edit.png
What do your customers really want? Finding out isn’t just a matter of asking. It’s about asking the right questions – something that Forrester Research says most companies fail to do.

Take quantitative surveys, the No. 1 tool that organizations use when developing customer experience (CX) strategies. Conventional wisdom says they’re a gold mine of customer insights that simply cannot be gleaned from internal stakeholder discussions. Not so, according to Forrester Senior Analyst Deanna Laufer.

“Surveys are not enough,” Laufer warns in Anchor Your CX Strategy in Customer Understanding. “They may tell you the ‘what’ and ‘how’ but not the ‘why’ of customers’ behavior needed to envision future-state experiences. Firms with extremely or moderately effective CX programs, on the other hand, conduct more qualitative customer research more frequently to inform their CX strategies.”

At Andrew Reise, they agree that it’s a mistake to over rely on quantitative surveys. That’s why they advise clients to include ample amounts of qualitative research, including in-depth interviews, focus groups and ethnographic research. Those tools provide a holistic view of the CX and complement journey mapping work.

Unfortunately, they’ve seen far too many instances where a company is looking to gain customer feedback to inform strategic decisions, but it ends up only with feedback about the current way of operating. That approach is process improvement and not strategic development. Big difference.

They’re not the only ones emphasizing the value of ethnographic research, either. As Intel Research’s Ken Anderson wrote in Harvard Business Review, “By understanding how people live, researchers discover otherwise elusive trends that inform the company’s future strategies.” His company used those insights to better understand how PC and TV habits converge.

At a high level, Andrew Reise’s approach consists of four steps:

  1. Explore – Through secondary research, they explore the entire ecosystem of the customer to understand their world. They develop hypotheses about key moments in the customer lifecycle to get a holistic view of the customer.
  2. Immerse – Using primary research techniques such as focus groups, they uncover customer attitudes, behaviors and habits and validate the key customer interactions.
  3. Synthesize – Using CX tools such as journey maps and personas, they visually communicate whom the customer is and represent his / her emotions along the key touch points in the lifecycle.
  4. Communicate – They finalize all the previous work in a detailed read out that includes insights and recommendations. Posters, workshops and presentations all help to socialize the final deliverable.

If you’re serious about delivering a CX that maximizes brand loyalty and, in turn, your bottom line, they've got plenty more tips and secrets to share.

Please download their complimentary copy of Forrester’s Anchor Your CX Strategy in Customer Understanding report. It’s packed with examples of how brands such as Airbnb, Trane and Virgin Mobile took a fresh approach to research – and how that paid off.

About Andrew Reise

Andrew Reise is a customer experience transformation firm. Our unique approach consists of our own methodology and a group of distinctly selected consultants - who are all veterans in customer experience. Our process is proven and our people boast a 'do it all' no-nonsense approach and are empowered to do the right thing even if it means going above and beyond the original scope of work.

In order for your company to take advantage of the wealth of customer data at your disposal, you need to be sure you’re capturing customer data across all touchpoints (telephone, email, web chat, social media, etc.).question-marks.png

 

But the question is: How?

 

If you’re scratching your head and asking yourself “What should I look for in an interaction analytics application?” it may help to learn about some of the most important analytics features that can help you improve agent performance and drive better organizational outcomes.

 

Look for the following when evaluating interaction analytics solutions:

  • Automatic analysis of customer contacts
  • Supervisor & agent portals
  • Report generation & analysis

 

[FULL BLOG POST]

 

This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

In the ever evolving age of the customer, traditional business silos must be eliminated. Organizations are feeling the pressure to restructure and consolidate online and offline divisions to create a single experience. The majority of retailers still organize around channels while customers don’t differentiate their experience by channel. We are seeing more retail organizations recognize the benefit of meeting demand seamlessly without a disjoint in channels through the buying journey.Retail CX Omnichannel.png

 

Here's what to keep in mind when organizing for omnichannel success:

  • From the CEO to the store associates, all stakeholders have accountability in the buyer's journey.
  • Giving store personnel incentives for omnichannel orders is crucial.
  • Online and in store orders must not be partitioned and associates must not be penalized when online orders are returned in store. Some organizations have taken to crediting stores with sales that occur offline and online within a certain radius of the store.
  • Ongoing omnichannel training to store personnel is a must while eBusiness professionals must make shifts in their actions to drive omnichannel success.

 

We would like to offer you a Forrester report "One Customer,One Organization, OneP&L"In this report, you will learn how to organize for omnichannel success, and ways to drive consumer centricity.

 

As the report mentions, many companies are already well on their way to creating an omnichannel organization transformation. These journeys are multiyear initiatives with quick wins along the way. This report is a great place to start learning about eliminating channels and creating an omnichannel, customer centric culture in your organization. Please let me know if you would like to discuss what you’ve read and how it relates to your organization.

 

About Andrew Reise

Andrew Reise is a customer experience transformation firm. Our unique approach consists of our own methodology and a group of distinctly selected consultants - who are all veterans in customer experience. Our process is proven and our people boast a 'do it all' no-nonsense approach and are empowered to do the right thing even if it means going above and beyond the original scope of work.

 

The Andrew Reise mission: Bettering the lives of our clients, colleagues, and communities.

The takeaway: Contact center gamification isn't just a theory - it's a proven practice.

 

If you've been reading recent posts on Engagement Optimization, you've probably come across arguments in favor of bringing gamification into the contact center - including this article devoted to the topic. There's good reason for this. The fact of the matter is that gamification is increasingly and widely seen as a new, exciting means of improving agent engagement and performance.Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 6.png

 

And it's not just industry experts who are singing contact center gamification's praises. A number of major enterprises have embraced the concept in recent years and have seen tremendous success with these efforts. Here are just a few of the more noteworthy examples of gamification's impact in the contact center.

 

T-Mobile's multifaceted success

Let's start by focusing on T-Mobile. The communications giant first implemented a gamification program in its contact center in 2013, and the effort delivered extremely positive results in a number of different areas.

 

The central component of the company's gamification strategy was the "T-Community." T-Mobile users could post questions on this forum and T-Mobile employees could provide answers in the same location. This is a fairly standard approach to addressing customer concerns. To boost engagement and effectiveness, though, T-Mobile injected gamification into the system. By answering customer questions and receiving positive feedback, contact center employees earned achievement points and awards.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 6.41.05 PM.png

T-Mobile employees embraced this form of gamification. More than 30,000 T-Mobile representatives took part in this process, with over 15,000 completing the "Getting Started" missions within the first two weeks of launch. Even more significantly, over the course of the first six weeks, T-Mobile employees earned approximately 187,000 achievement badges.

 

Those results speak to the impact that the gamification approach has on employee engagement. However, just as importantly, the strategy led to a significant boost in customer participation, as well. In fact, user participation in the T-Community increased 1,000 percent following the implementation of the gamification module. Such activity is a testament to user engagement, which in turn suggests significant gains in brand loyalty.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 6.41.26 PM.pngHyatt uses gamification to set agent goals

Whereas T-Mobile used gamification to encourage agent and user engagement, other organizations focus on leveraging contact center gamification as a means of directing employees toward particular goals.

 

That was the case for Hyatt Hotels. As CIO reported, the company implemented a program wherein agents received prizes for completing specific tasks - for example, hitting a certain call volume. The prizes in this case were virtual tokens, which could be used to play a game specifically created for Hyatt by a developer. Succeeding at these games would yield concrete prizes, such as gift cards.

 

Denise Pullens, assistant director of operations at the Hyatt Reservation Center, told the news source that gamification plays a role in each of these stages, and it's all designed to move agents toward specific goals - such as increasing upsells, for example.

 

"The main key to success is to identify short-term and measurable accomplishments," Brooks Mitchell, CEO and founder of the game development company that worked with Hyatt, told CIO. "In sales, while the ultimate goal is the sale, there are many smaller sub-behaviors which, if accomplished and rewarded, will lead to the end goal of the sale."

 

This doesn't have to be limited to sales, either. Organizations can deploy these types of solutions in the contact center as a means of encouraging various end goals, such as first-call resolution, positive customer satisfaction ratings and so on.

 

How can your contact center take advantage of gamification?