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1.jpgThe Takeaway: For gamification strategies to deliver improved customer engagement, you need to balance your business objectives with genuinely enjoyable incentives.


Gamification deployments are fast becoming more common - and more expansive. Business leaders now realize there are virtually no limits to how or where gamification strategies can prove valuable, as this approach has the potential to dramatically increase customer engagement and customer experience management in numerous capacities.


Of course, for gamification to deliver on this promise, it needs to be deployed correctly. This recent white paper, for example, dives into the issue of how to use gamification to improve contact center performance. In this article, we'll take a look at an even more fundamental issue for achieving gamification success: Should gamification be fun? The answer may not be as straightforward as you'd think.


Why Gamify?

To answer that, you first need to address the basic question of why a company should pursue gamification in the first place. Gamification's value lies in its potential to encourage desired behaviors among a given group. Many companies use gamification to train employees more quickly and effectively - in the white paper highlighted above, for example, you'll see how contests can motivate agents to achieve better performance. To see how these types of gamification programs can deliver results, check out this blog post.


Other organizations focus their gamification efforts on customer engagement. Forbes contributor John Rampton explained that gamification can be particularly useful for B2B companies that need to train and explain to enterprise users how to best utilize a given product. A gamified experience has the potential to be much more engaging, and therefore effective, than a traditional product demo or user guide.


That's why businesses have embraced and continue to embrace gamification. The next question is, how can organizations get gamification right?


What Makes Gamification Work?

This is where the element of fun enters the picture - and it can get complicated. There is a very basic tension inherent to gamification strategies. On the one hand, gamification's effectiveness is predicated on the idea of making users - be they employees or consumers - want to engage in the behavior the company desires. For that to happen, the "game" part of the gamification program needs to be fun and satisfying for everyone who participates.


The problem that many companies face here is that if a business leans too heavily on the "fun" side of the equation, then the game may come to dominate and the effort will lose its focus on the real objective of encouraging the right kind of user and customer engagement. In other words, it's very possible to make gamification too much fun.


Say, for example, a company implements gamification in its contact center by rewarding points to agent teams for completing calls in below-average times, improving first-call resolution rates and so on, and these points show up on a big, communal board and can be redeemed for free dinners and movie tickets. That will probably motivate agents quite a bit. In fact, if the rewards are tempting enough and the competition fierce enough, agents may start to focus more on earning points than what really matters: improving customer experience management. They may rush through calls or distract their rival colleagues, and the end result is bad for the business as a whole.


At the same time, though, if the gamification effort isn't fun enough - if the rewards aren't all that appealing, etc. - then there won't be enough user buy-in to make much of a difference.


This can be a difficult balance to achieve, but it's absolutely essential for maximizing the value of gamification programs. So what factors should you consider to make sure your gamification effort is fun but also remains focused on your ultimate engagement objectives?


1. Identify Goals

The easiest way for a gamification strategy to get off the rails is if the fundamental goals are not fully fleshed out and clearly identified. Without firm, established targets, a company may naturally shift the balance increasingly toward making the gamification program fun, as that will lead to greater engagement. But unless customer engagement is the goal in and of itself, then this should not be the primary guiding light for the gamification strategy, either at its inception or as time goes on.


2. Use Customer Engagement Analytics

With the goal or goals identified, the next key to ensuring the right balance between fun and results is to closely monitor customer engagement analytics. After all, it is difficult, maybe even impossible, to develop the perfect motivation system at the onset, without any data to work with. Basic results - such as the number of participants, the rewards meted out, etc. - will provide useful baseline insight, but more thorough analytics are necessary to see precisely how users are engaging with the gamification strategy. Are the incentives encouraging the desired behavior, or do people seem to be solely interested in collecting badges or other rewards?


3. Constantly Reassess

With the analytics in hand, you'll be able to reassess how the gamification program is working, then make subtle changes. Critically, this should happen on a continual basis. By fine-tuning along the way, you'll be much better able to strike that ideal balance between fun and effectiveness.


Tell us: What strategies are you using to make your gamification fun and engaging without losing sight of your goals?

2.jpgThe Takeaway: Customer engagement analytics can supplement or even replace traditional marketing research, delivering more accurate and comprehensive insight.


Customer engagement analytics solutions have the potential to deliver an unprecedented degree of insight for enterprises. When first deploying this technology, most companies tend to limit their focus to the contact center, where the raw information is collected in the form of customer phone calls, emails, live chat, social media and so on. Increasingly, though, businesses are discovering that customer engagement analytics insights can be equally powerful - and sometimes even more effective - when utilized beyond the contact center.


Our latest white paper dives into this issue in much greater detail. In this blog post, we want to take a moment to highlight an especially promising application of this approach: marketing research.


Moving Beyond Surveys

The potential of customer engagement analytics insights for marketing research is arguably most apparent when it comes to the well-worn customer survey. As we discussed in this earlier blog post, customer satisfaction surveys - one of the more common types of marketing research - have many inherent flaws, including limited scopes, rigid topic focus and unpopularity with participants. This does not mean that surveys should be abandoned entirely, of course - they still offer significant value - but it's important to recognize their limitations.


Even the Marketing Research Association, while defending the customer survey, acknowledged, "Within the sphere of marketing research activities today, few have lower prestige than the simple survey."


In that previous blog, we focused on the advantages customer engagement analytics offer compared to surveys when it comes to marketing research. Now, let's take a look at a sample use case.


Accurate Insights

In our white paper, we gave the example of an electronics retailer and how it could use customer engagement analytics to address product issues before they become serious problems. Let's now say that this same company is trying to measure the effectiveness of a recent marketing campaign promoting a line of HD TVs.


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Did your latest marketing campaign deliver? Find out with analytics.


Naturally, sales figures will be the ultimate measure here. To get more granular and specific, though, more in-depth marketing research is necessary. A customer survey would reveal a fair amount of information, but that can't compare to the level of insight the company will gain through the use of customer engagement analytics.


With this approach, the firm can examine every instance of customer interaction, searching for and identifying uses of key phrases relating to the marketing effort. Immediately, this can provide a more accurate sense of the level of awareness the campaign achieved. From there, the analytics solution can reveal consumer sentiment surrounding elements of the marketing effort by examining the actual words that customers naturally use when engaging with company representatives. This is all without the artificiality inherent to asking consumers to describe their own reactions, via survey or otherwise, and without imposing any sort of burden on these individuals.


With this rich, comprehensive insight, the marketing team will be much better able to craft effective future campaigns, thanks to their newfound ability to quickly and efficiently learn how to best target their ideal demographics.


How can your company's marketing research efforts benefit from customer engagement analytics?

Picture1.jpgCollections contact centers and accounts receivable management (ARM) firms face a constant challenge: balancing the need to maximize payments while maintaining quality service and strict compliance.  So what can collections and ARM firms do to drive operational improvements and stay one step ahead of the regulatory curve?


The answer lies in speech analytics for call center collections.


Speech analytics converts spoken conversations into analytical data – either during or after the call – eliminating compliance risk, improving agent performance, increasing recovery rates, and much more.


Take a look at 5 reasons why speech analytics is critical in the call center.




This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

It was the typical noon-time rush at my local Starbucks—certainly not my favorite time to stop, but I was hungry and needed a snack. I ordered a drink and a bagel, and moved out of line to wait. My drink came out quickly, but five minutes later there was still no bagel. I caught the eye of an associate and asked where the bagel had gone. “Oh that’s the new guy, he’s still learning the ropes,” was the response I received. No apology, no attempt to rectify the situation…It got me thinking: Situations just like this occur every minute, all day long, because with customer service comes high turnover—so there’s always the new guy, but customers shouldn’t be their guinea pig.ALcBvCnr.jpg


The lunch rush? Of course that’s not the right time to bring a new employee up to speed. They should be prepared for all situations before they’re assigned a shift. And to prepare associates for providing great customer service, you need to coach them using roleplay and plenty of immersive examples. Don’t just tell them how to interact with customers, have a process that shows them what great customer service entails.


When your employees do make mistakes, and they will, have a procedure in place that uses the situation as an opportunity to build value. If the Starbucks associate had said “Thanks for telling us—we’re a little out of process today and I apologize. Here’s a card you can use for any drink—and next time I hope you’ll find us more in step.” With this, I would have felt appreciated, like a valued customer, not like the forgotten consequence of training gone awry.


All great customer service is built on great process, not great people. Sometimes in customer service, associates come to you with seemingly innate skills for connecting with customers and making things right. But those amazing employees are mostly luck and luck’s not a strategy. You can’t control your associates’ every words and you can’t control that one missing bagel, but you can have processes in place to deal with situations in a way that’s positive for employees and customers alike.


To create processes that drive great customer service, catalog and model each step of your everyday interactions. Next, make sure your customer experience team measures how often—and how well—your associates adhere to those models.


The truth is your new guy is an opportunity. He shows where your processes are failing. That’s exactly what you need to know to stay ahead of your customers’ expectations so they don’t go blogging about missing bagels. Starbucks, you’re good; you could be even better!


About Interaction Metrics

Interaction Metrics is a customer experience agency that maximizes the value of experience planning, satisfaction surveys, mystery shopping, customer interviews, and customer service evaluations.  Only Interaction Metrics Findings Reports combine actionable customer experience metrics with specific recommendations for how to improve.

1.jpgThe Takeaway: Engagement analytics offer far greater accuracy and are more comprehensive than surveys, revealing more valuable, actionable customer satisfaction insight.


In our recent white paper, we focus extensively on the issue of Customer Engagement Analytics Beyond the Contact Center. As you'll see in that report, this approach can offer a wide range of major benefits. One of the most significant: Engagement analytics can serve as an upgrade - and a potential replacement - for the customer satisfaction survey. Here's how.


Customer Satisfaction Survey Shortcomings


"35% of marketers consider customer satisfaction their top metric."


Obviously, companies need to keep a close eye on customer satisfaction. In fact, a recent Salesforce study found that 35 percent of marketers consider customer satisfaction as their top overall metric, making this the most popular choice. Traditional revenue goals and customer acquisition followed, selected by 33 percent and 24 percent of respondents, respectively.


The real question for companies is how to best obtain this insight.


Surveys have traditionally held this role. But there are numerous reasons why surveys are less than ideal:


  • They're fixed: You can't change the questions on a survey until it's completed. That makes surveys inflexible and limits how quickly you can ask new questions to investigate recent customer satisfaction discoveries.
  • They're unpopular: Seventy-two percent of consumers have said surveys interfere with their experiences on a website, according to OpinionLab. The more aggressively you promote surveys, the more damage you may do to your brand.
  • They're limited: That same study found that more than half of customers will not spend more than three minutes filling out a customer satisfaction survey. That limits how much insight you can gain each time.


Put together, these shortcomings ensure that any company relying entirely on surveys to gauge customer satisfaction will likely end up with an inaccurate impression, which in turn can lead to sub-par decision-making throughout the organization.


Upgrading to Customer Engagement Analytics


By embracing and deploying customer engagement analytics, companies can overcome all of the shortcomings inherent to relying exclusively on the customer satisfaction survey. In the simplest terms, this approach to analytics has three key advantages over surveys.


  • Comprehensive data: With a survey, the marketing team needs to very carefully choose which questions to ask, and inevitably there will be information your company wants to acquire but is forced to leave unaddressed. When analytics is applied to every form of customer engagement - including phone calls, emails, live chat and social posts - then there's really no limit on the type of insight that the organization can glean.

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  • Unobtrusive information-gathering: Unlike surveys, analytics can effectively run in the background - there's no need for clients to dedicate their own time or effort. This means there's no need to weigh the tradeoff between customer satisfaction insight and diminishing the customer experience.
  • Adaptability: With customer engagement analytics insight, you can shift the focus of your customer satisfaction research at any time. If a new issue crops up that requires more attention - for example, a surprising number of customers are dissatisfied with a particular product - you can further explore that development in detail, without abandoning your original information-gathering target. With traditional surveys, you're locked into that initial focus and can't adjust without compromising all of the research you've already conducted, and you'll miss valuable opportunities by the time you develop a new survey.


To learn more about the benefits of expanding interaction analytics beyond the contact center, be sure to read our recent white paper. And let us know:


How does your company measure customer satisfaction?



Engagement analytics can serve as an upgrade – and potential replacement - for the customer satisfaction survey

contact-analytics-improve-agent-performance-400x250.jpgIn the contact center, first call resolution (FCR) is crucial to the overall success of an organization, as it drives customer loyalty, profitability, and workplace efficiency.  It comes as no surprise that call centers should have metrics in place to properly monitor FCR – given its immense value.


But where should contact centers begin with FCR?  And what are some of the best ways to use FCR to drive improved agent performance and a better customer experience overall?


CallMiner will be addressing first call resolution best practices during an upcoming webinar (Thursday, August 11) presented by CRMXchange.  Take a look at the following key points the webinar will touch on.




This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

Picture1.jpgIn today’s customer-centric marketplace, “customer engagement” is somewhat of a buzzword.  But what does it actually mean?


According to CRM expert Paul Greenberg, the first step toward establishing valuable customer engagement is understanding what value means to them.  In that sense, Greenberg notes, the idea is simple: Try your very best to make your customers happy.


Enter customer engagement analytics.


In order to provide excellence service, more executives are turning to advanced analytics to measure customer and agent interactions and ensure their call centers are performing at a high level.


Take a look at 3 reasons why your call center needs customer engagement analytics.




This post originally appeared on CallMiner.

Benchmarking has a history of helping businesses compete in global markets. But these days, many companies are missing out on the opportunity to innovate due to an over-reliance on benchmarked metrics.


The practice of benchmarking was born in the 1950’s with companies like GE and Toyota. Then, what was in vogue was a process called reverse engineering in which companies examined competitor products to find out how to make their own products better.


In the 1970’s, a struggling Xerox took a cue from reverse engineering, but shifted the focus from product features to all the processes (including customer service) that drive success.[i] Since then, benchmarking has spread like wildfire—but so have its critics who call benchmarking a “virus,” and “a recipe for myopia, me-tooism and mediocrity.”[ii]



The problem is that while benchmarking is important—because it helps you keep an eye on the competition—it’s not enough. Benchmarked metrics merely skim the surface, and if you spend too much time watching your peers, you’re probably not allocating the resources you need to fully differentiate or innovate.


Customer service contact centers suffer the most from benchmarking’s shortcomings, using metrics like time-to-answer and first call resolution (FCR) as the golden mean for operational targets. And they often fall back on generic tools like SurveyMonkey to collect outcome metrics such as customer satisfaction (C-SAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS).


So what do you do instead?


Recognize that the customer experience is complex—more complex than an FCR rate or NPS score. Experiences consist of multiple factors, such as information, connection and timing, which break down into smaller elements like thoroughness of answers, proactivity of explanations and word choice. While benchmarked metrics can capture parts of this experience, and perhaps alert you when something is going very wrong, they won’t give you the nuanced information you need to demonstrate market leadership.


If you want customer service that differentiates your brand and builds customer loyalty, you must take a deep look at your company and customer interactions, and use metrics that compare your performance against your own brand promise. Every company has its own signature and opportunities to innovate. To make your company stand apart, you’ll need to demonstrate your signature—and this requires granular metrics.


The companies that are succeeding in today’s global marketplace are the innovators, so make sure you are challenging yourself beyond benchmarking. Make sure you are rallying your team to measure the granular details that really matter.



i. Canada. Performance Management, Alberta Finance. Other Performance Measurement Documents: Results Oriented Government. Alberta: 28 September 1998.

ii. Brierley, Sean. “Benchmarking Causes a Loss of Focus.” Finance Week. 01 June 2005.


About Interaction Metrics

Interaction Metrics is a customer experience agency that maximizes the value of experience planning, satisfaction surveys, mystery shopping, customer interviews, and customer service evaluations.  Only Interaction Metrics Findings Reports combine actionable customer experience metrics with specific recommendations for how to improve.