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Why Gamification Doesn’t Work in B2B Customer Support

teamsupport logoIf you have ever worked in or been connected to the Customer Support industry, you might be familiar with contact center “contests” or “games” to drive increased performance. For example, the customer service representative that resolves the most tickets will be entered into a drawing for an iPad or some type of gift card at the end of the month. Gamification is commonly used to improve user engagement, organizational productivity, learning, and employee recruitment.

When Gamification works in Customer Support

In B2C Customer Support, high ticket volumes with basic requests are common. For Customer Support agents in this space, the ultimate goal is to resolve support tickets as quickly as possible. Unlike B2B support tickets, B2C tickets can often be solved without the need for multiple employees. Creating games that give points for quick issue resolution works in the B2C space because these agents are expected to meet the higher ticket volume. However, when it comes to the B2B industry, leveraging tactics like Gamification sometimes has the opposite effect, and can potentially hurt customer relationships instead of helping them.

B2B support demands a customer-centric approach

While Gamification is meant to incentivize support teams, unfortunately, games can sometimes take priority over building strong customer relationships. Managers should spend time understanding their customers’ problems and challenges rather than spending time administrating games designed for higher volume Customer Support teams.

The focus on games and winning changes the mindset from how can we better help the customer and solve their problem to how can I make sure I win today’s game? This mindset drives agents to pick and choose which tickets they know they can close easier and faster versus handling complex issues from the beginning. This often means larger issues become worse and losing a customer becomes more likely.

As companies take a deeper dive into ways to incorporate Gamification, some have tried to create games based on ratings instead of ticket volume. This approach might seem like a solution, but it only shifts the problem. Again, agents can find a way to “trick” the game by only selecting customers they know will rate them well, leaving the more difficult customers for their colleagues.

B2B Customer Support values quality over quantity

In B2C support, speed is a top priority for the customer waiting on the other end of the line. In B2B support, however, getting the problem solved the right way is usually more important than providing a quick answer. Frequently, B2B companies experience more complex problems requiring involvement from multiple departments. Losing a cornerstone customer for a B2B company can make or break a fiscal year. For this reason, B2B companies should not prioritize a game that may negatively affect a customer relationship.

Potential to lose good employees

For B2B companies, Gamification not only impacts customers but also impacts employees. Companies focused on incentivizing speed alone show they’re less invested in employee engagement, that they might be understaffed, and that they may not have the right customer support solution. The impact Gamification has internally for B2B companies can also affect their recruiting process as potential employees will uncover the company’s reliance on games during their initial research. This can create an area of concern for the candidate.

Conclusion

While Gamification may not be the answer for B2B customer support, there are other ways companies can build relationships with customers while keeping their employees motivated. As an example, if your company uses a workplace chatroom like Slack, consider creating a “wins” channel. This brings recognition to employees and encourages others to take part in congratulating teams across the company.

Instead of focusing on games, B2B customer support teams should focus on understanding their customer’s needs and challenges, and on solving problems effectively and correctly rather than letting them linger in a queue due to a ticketing game. In doing so, B2B companies can build long-lasting relationships with clients and uncover opportunities to acknowledge support agents in their teams.

Read more: How to Leverage Relationships Through CRM