Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in Gamification

Agent engagement is a subject that is constantly on the minds of contact center executives. Many theories have come about on how to enhance the call center workforce but one in particular stands out of the crowd. Intrinsic motivation with gamification concepts has been shown to be a highly effective method for increasing agent engagement. We’ll dive deeper into this theory in a little bit, but first, let’s introduce the term “gamification”.   

The word “Gamification” has been circling around since the early 2000’s but has only recently taken-up the full interest of managers in the call center industry. While many of these managers are now familiar with this term, the question of what gamification does to impact agent motivation is still a matter of confusion for some. So let’s take a moment to break it down;

What is Gamification?

Gamification is a strategy that introduces game-like elements to real-world processes. Neuroscientists have found that high amounts of dopamine are released when playing games which is then associated with increased learning (Hamid et al., 2015). Due to this realization, researchers have noted that applying game mechanics in areas that do not typically function like a game is highly beneficial to the participants of the process.

Motivation & Gamification

There are two main forms of motivation that come into play when trying to influence the behaviour of your agents;

  1. Intrinsic Motivation: stems from an internal desire

  2. Extrinsic Motivation: generated from an external reward

Intrinsic motivation is achieved through giving the agent a sense of mastery, autonomy, and belonging. Using intrinsic motivators with game-like concepts, managers can leverage the agent’s natural desire for competition, collaboration, achievement, status, and recognition.

A good application of gamification within intrinsic motivation is the integration of social media. Through certain engagement platforms, agents are now able to interact with their peers, cheer each other’s accomplishments, and see the rewards that they’ve earned. These features work to enhance the feeling of status and recognition in the workplace which in turn increases the impact of intrinsic motivation.

Similarly, extrinsic motivation can be promoted with gamification through the use of levels, points, badges, and contests.

While it is known that extrinsic motivation is short-lived and intrinsic motivation is long-lasting, a combination of the two remains important.

Impact on Agent Performance

Gamification concepts within intrinsic and extrinsic motivation have proven to have a strong and positive impact on the workforce environment over the years. Studies have shown that after their implementation, agents have noticed the following:

  1. Increased Satisfaction: With gamification, agents can visualize their progress and receive immediate feedback on their good deeds. These factors help the agent feel accomplished and proficient at work.

  2. Increased Optimism: When the agent receives immediate reward for their good work, they feel happier with their success.

  3. Increased Collaboration: Gamification allows for social exchange and friendly competition among co-workers.

  4. Increased Learning: Gamification promotes the learning process and makes it more fun and dynamic.

Not only do gamification applications improve the every-day life of the agent, but they also enhance the productivity and efficiency of the contact center.

So the truth is, the combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation along with gamification concepts is actually one of the key factors to your contact center’s success. Their impact on your agent's motivation and your call center’s productivity is grand. Managers who are looking to improve the performance of their contact centers should consider finding the right solution that will help their workforce reach a whole new level of engagement.

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