Recently the Harvard Business Review featured a piece predicting the growing influence of gaming on the workplace. On a technological level, games are driving improvements in hardware and software that typically filter down into office based equipment, whilst game methodologies have powered everything from computer aided design to enterprise collaboration tools.
The changes outlined in the piece are undoubtedly interesting, but there remains a sense that they are a little bit detached from the reality many of us face in our daily lives. This makes a new start-up, called EvaluAgent, all the more relevant.
It’s an approach that Spanish telecoms giant Movistar tested a few years ago across several thousand customer support agents in Latin America. They used gamification to track and monitor agent performance.
‘’Thanks to the use of the social collaboration tools and use of Gamification techniques, we have helped Movistar consolidate and unify their formation processes with 7 call center providers in 3 countries,’’ says Oscar Giraldo, Co-Founder and CEO of PlayVox, who developed the software for Movistar.
Whilst that approach is tailored more towards chivvying better performance from agents, EvaluAgent hope to make work more enjoyable.
The aim is to use points and rewards to make previously boring tasks slightly more interesting. Managers set staff goals that are aligned with those of the business, with agents then able to earn rewards for achieving these targets.
There is also an element of coaching and support offered should agents be falling behind target. Of course, despite the approach being relatively interesting, it is nonetheless trying to make a dull process more interesting.
One start-up that’s attempting to rectify that situation is Assist. Rather than gamify the mundane tasks undertaken by an agent, they attempt to get rid of those calls entirely. They believe that roughly 80% of the requests received by an agent involve the kind of frequent questions that could easily be answered by previous answers.
“With the majority of requests made to customer service reps being repetitive, our solution help agents with all the repetitive, tedious and boring routine work, so that they can focus on doing what they are best at: solving new and more complicated problems and empathizing with the customer,” the founders say.
So by removing, or at the very least reducing, the number of dull requests they receive, the hope is this frees them up to do the more enjoyable work. All of which sounds a slightly more enlightened approach than trying to make mind-numbing tasks interesting.