This startup wants to make crappy call centers a thing of the past

This startup wants to make crappy call centers a thing of the past

Call centers can be horrible places to work. Staff are often measured by the volume of calls they can handle, and even a five-minute comfort break can be greeted with raised eyebrows by supervisors. The rub-off effect is that customers can end up with rushed service from unhappy agents.

There’s plenty of software available for measuring call center staff performance, but EvaluAgent has taken the standard approach and flipped it around. It wants to make working in a call center more fun by using game mechanics to keep staff motivated.

The key word here, ‘gamification,’ is one that hasn’t been heard much in recent years. While it’s not the buzzword it was five years ago, that doesn’t mean that it’s now any less effective than the hype promised back then. Managers set goals for individuals and teams and then use points, badges and ‘levelling up’ to motivate staff and help them see how they’re performing compared to others in the organization.

Staff can earn rewards like nights out or Amazon vouchers by performing well. The metrics produced can also be used by managers to assess staff, and a feedback feature lets them see whether the most important people in all of this – the customers – are happy too.

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UK-based EvaluAgent is already working with companies like cinema chain Cineworld and healthcare provider Bupa, as well as government agencies like National Savings & Investments and the Ministry of Justice.

Business Development Director Jonny Bradshaw says that the gamified approach is working at companies that try EvaluAgent. “It’s changed the organization-wide perspective. Metrics are no longer a stick to beat people with, they’re now the opposite – they’re used to measure customer satisfaction.”

Bradshaw says that the company has seen interest from call center operators in Europe and the USA. Asia is a big opportunity too, both for offshore facilities that serve Western customers and those talking to local customers.

While customer service bots are getting people excited right now, and may well be the future of a certain kind of low-level interaction with companies, it’s nice to think that there will always be  a role for human-to-human customer service interaction too. And if the human on the end of the phone is happy, motivated to help and not treated like a battery hen, all the better.


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