Gamification is one of those tech buzz words that gets thrown around a lot without being entirely understood or defined – something that can prove especially problematic for executives considering whether to bring it into their enterprises. “The idea behind gamification is not converting the work environment into a game – that’s the wrong approach,” emphasized Oscar Giraldo in an interview with PulsoSocial. “Gamification is just using data in a useful and smart way to drive people’s behaviors.”
Giraldo is the CEO of PlayVox, a leading provider of gamified workforce optimization solutions. With a primary focus on call centers, PlayVox has set out to transform employee engagement and change how workforce dynamics play out.
Today, PlayVox is announcing the appointment of contact center veteran Carol Snell as Chairman of the Board. Snell is one of the co-founders of Aspect Communications, which was acquired by Concerto for one billion dollars in 2005. She has served as the CEO of four venture-backed software companies and most recently headed operations at SalesPortal.
Snell has witnessed technology transform the call center industry and the way businesses within it work. “It’s been interesting to watch how the industry has evolved relative to customer and consumer interests. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect has been how the industry (vendors, contact center operations, customer service professionals) have consistently focused on service levels and the customer experience,” she reflected, adding:
Technologies have consistently responded to customer service mandates. Early on, it was getting the right customer to the right agent at the right time – intelligent routing technologies. It evolved to delivering the best, right service through self-service versus live agent assistance. Quality practices fundamentally changed the way we approached the service delivery process. The focus on the total customer experience across consumer channels of choice. And most recently, the analysis of consumer behavior to inform the service delivery experience.
As to what’s next, Snell signaled cultural components that motivate those on the front lines of customer service – social sharing, data performance transparency, rewarding and recognizing performance and contributions. “Regardless of the technology or practice, it’s always been about delivering on the customer service mandate – happy customers make loyal customers,” she affirmed.
Her take on those on the front lines provides insight into her decision to join the PlayVox team. Looking ahead, corporations and companies with significant human capital operations are seeking ways to incorporate social components into their equations for success. Snell reflected:
Gamification is as much as cultural driver as it is a next opportunity to improve performance, lower costs, and improve customer service. As one executive from a large corporation expressed to me recently, 70% of their front line service delivery personnel are in the millennium age group. It’s about motivating and connecting those service agents with customers and with their peers. PlayVox is a next opportunity to better service customers, motivate and train agents, and lower the cost of service delivery. It’s very exciting stuff these guys are working on.
As to what technologies she believes will have the most impact on the contact center arena over the next five years, Snell inferred, “Clearly, any technologies that refine the quality of service through self-service channels is good for the consumer and companies. That will not change. The same is true for live-agent assistance service through informed, engaged service agents.”
Motivation and engagement are essential elements of the call center formula, and tools that drive them will prevail. “Performance transparency across peers is an important next step,” Snell concluded. “The ability to provide agents with data on their performance compared to last month or last year, performance compared to their peers, performance against goals. Information transparency will drive next level service improvements.”