It’s no secret that employee retention is one of the largest operational issues facing companies around the world. From profitability to workplace morale and service quality, a high staff turnover rate can be detrimental to all aspects of a business.

As an industry renowned for its high attrition rate (30-45%), customer service is facing perhaps its greatest challenge yet leading into the new year. With the untimely clash of COVID and the busy holiday season underway, customer service teams can expect to see a significant dip in employee retention coming into 2021. Why?

There are three critical reasons that cause customer service professionals to leave/lose their jobs:

However, with employee turnover posing an ongoing problem for the industry, more teams are looking towards gamification as a solution. This is one of the employee retention strategies that can have incredibly good results in the long run.

Gamification in the workplace

Gamification tools use the application of game elements in a non-game context, such as the workplace. As a game, employees are collectively part of a digital environment incentivising them through points and rewards to achieve their goals. For customer service teams struggling with their employee retention rate, this provides a holistic solution by:

  • Creating an engaging digital work environment
  • Preventing burnouts with consistent gratification
  • Improving teams’ achievements with performance guiding skill points

Improving employee engagement

an image showing the gamification process.

As a profession, customer service is not on the leaderboard for employee engagement and retention rates. This can be attributed to the fact that a service representative’s work is often monotonous and independent, with little to no team interaction.

For managers, this poses a significant issue. A 2017 study by Hays found that 81% of employees surveyed were considering leaving their jobs due to lack of engagement. 

So, why not bring this same engagement into the workplace? Gamification creates an environment where agents feel connected to their colleagues as they work together within their shared digital sphere to achieve a common goal. 

That which is lacking in company culture can be remedied with the sense of community and healthy competition between agents as they earn points, badges, and rewards alongside their colleagues. Gamification provides a platform for connectivity and transparency. Two things that encourage team members to feel more engaged with their work and team. It’s no secret that engaged employees are happier and less likely to leave in the long run.

Preventing employee burnout

Employee burnouts are a prevalent issue amongst customer service professionals, which is why it’s essential to address them in employee retention strategies. Whether it’s strict time pressures, complex problem solving or impolite customers, an agent’s work environment takes its toll. 

Whilst you can’t change the job itself, you can change the environment in which these agents work. One way to do this is through appreciation. A recent study by O.C Tanner showed that 79% of employees who had to leave their jobs claim that a lack of appreciation was a significant reason. That’s where gamification comes in.

Think about any game you’ve ever played. What is the driving factor that makes you want to play more? It’s the appreciation you get for your accomplishments – the psychological reward for your effort.

A level-up, points, a new outfit for your avatar or simply a ‘Congratulations’ across your screen. Any ‘currency’ of gratification is the driving force behind a ‘players’ continued success.

Awarding agents with this ‘currency’ for small wins such as increasing their tickets solved p/ hour or lowering their negative response rate is a simple way to build a happy, high-performing, and long-lasting team.

Boosting team performance

One of the critical reasons for the industry’s high employee turnover rate is the lack of quality performance. Oftentimes, agents are unhappy in their job and as a result underperform, resulting in their termination.

Whilst this is usually seen as the fault of the agent, customer service managers can often be held equally accountable. Managers in any industry should empower their team to perform to their highest ability by providing a positive environment, the right tools and constant coaching. Gamifying your work environment helps both parties involved:


Gamification translates and categorises hundreds of complex performance metrics into easy-to-understand concepts such as skill points. These can be grouped into categories like quality, speed, and productivity. 

E.g: Grouping all metrics related to customer satisfaction as ‘Quality points’ and all related to replying time as ‘Speed points’. 

Gamification tools can calculate these points automatically but allow managers to delegate more points for areas they see as particularly important. 

E.g: If your team’s reply time dropped by 2 hrs last month, managers can delegate extra speed points to incentivise improvement in that area. 

This enables managers to better understand their team’s performance, pinpoint problem areas, and proactively steer them towards improvement.


Alongside the obvious improvement in engagement and motivation, gamification gives agents transparency and a clear path on how they can improve their performance. Skill points allow agents to set and track their own goals giving them autonomy to pilot their own improvement. Like any game, there is a set of objectives and ‘players’ know exactly how many points in each area they need to achieve it.

This gets agents involved in their performance process, by making it accessible, transparent and easy to understand. It empowers them to perform better and make them less likely to be let go as a result of poor results. Altogether, all of this is essential for good and successful employee retention strategies.

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