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Gamification: Keeping Team Members Motivated in Challenging Work Environments

Debt collectors have stressful jobs. People don’t want to hear from you and are often rude. Team members are threatened and insulted often, all for trying to collect on a bill someone owes a business. Some calls bring team members to tears — not due to insults — but because of the heartbreaking things people are going through. We’re human, and we understand when you can’t pay a bill because life happens.

Keeping team members motivated in collections and other challenging work environments is something we think about often. One thing we’re trying now: gamification. In other words: making your workload a game. Gamification is used in many ways in business, sometimes in marketing and customer retention. Although conclusive studies aren’t yet complete, what’s out there seems to show that this approach works well to motivate team members, especially in more challenging work environments.

Gamification at PRC

We implemented a gamification program at PRC January 2, 2019, and are excited to see the launch of the program and will be following its progress through a series of articles. For more on how it’s going, we spoke to Lexi, who manages the program here at PRC.

Q: Where did the idea of gamification come from?

We first heard about gamification at a conference in 2018 and we loved the idea. Several vendors offer programs to help you implement it at the office, and we eventually selected nGuvu, which offered customizable KPIs that suited our needs.

Q: How does it work?

They build the program to get it started and then teach us how to take it from there. We transmit live data every 15 minutes to a dashboard on our Collector’s PC so team members can see how they are doing compared to everyone else. We establish goals and metrics for each department; yet we can compete across departments, which increases interconnectivity among our team members. We give out cash prizes daily and weekly to winners.

gamification leaderboard

Q: What are your goals for the program and what metrics are you using?

Our goals are increased collections and increased talk time, sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, lots of various items make that easier said than accomplished. We are confident by measuring the following metrics that the gamification  will engage the collectors and this will lead to increased collections by:

  • Schedule adherence.
  • Talk minutes
  • Dollars collected
  • Number of payments
  • Close ratio

Q: What have you discovered so far?

Supervisor input is essential. Supervisors can design programs to further incentive them based on their knowledge of their team members, which makes a big difference. This can be as concentrated for individualized as needed.

Q: What’s been the reaction from the team?

The collection agents love it, with more than 95 percent participating. We predict this is a sustainable percentage. By tying it to real-time, we can continue to keep it fresh even for our veteran agents.

Q: If someone is considering adding a gamification element to their collections department or team, what advice would you give?

Do your research. Find a company that suits your needs best. Don’t be afraid to ask for input from your supervisors; they are the voice of the collection floor and can guide you to what will engage your collectors best! Have fun with it! That’s what it is designed for; create contests and incentives for everyone to use it.

Are you using gamification with your team? Share your thoughts with us on our social media.