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Service Desk Gamification - Not the Priority

11/26/2012 by: The SunView Team

The gamification of the Service Desk might be coming soon to a company near you.

Wikipedia defines the term:

Gamification is the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. Typically gamification applies to non-game applications and processes, in order to encourage people to adopt them, or to influence how they are used.

So gamification of the Service Desk may seem like a totally discordant idea, but rewards and recognition are incredibly strong motivators for staff throughout your entire enterprise, not just your top sales staff.

The best social sites today use gamification to drive engagement. No, I am not just talking about Farmville on Facebook, I refer more to apps like foursquare. What do you get when you check in at Panera Bread - although you may get "rewards" but mainly NOTHING. But, the fact that you are a regular at that spot might get you to be Mayor, or another badge of honor.

I am a huge fan of gaming, Xbox being my fav. But when it comes to bringing gaming to work - not a fan. Don't get me wrong, when I was at ATI Technologies I "had to" play Morrowind on my desktop as part of my job. It was a tough way to spend part of my work day, but as they say, "somebody has to do it!"There are many ways to improve the Service Desk, I do not think gamification is the best. Have you tried to better integrate the Service Catalog? Have you added quality information to your Knowledge Base or to your self-help portal? There are a lot of "popularity contests" going on in our daily lives - Facebook, Pinterest, even LinkedIn has gotten onboard with the new "endorsement" feature. Why would we want to subject our employees to a popularity contest for corporate recognition?

I understand the Reward and Recognition industry, and fully agree with the idea. However, R&R is not "vote for your favorite employee." The best example of R&R would be when a staff member works extra hard (read overtime) to get your upcoming change and release ready on-time and on-budget. This does not need a crowdsourcing vote, instead, the employee's manager should bestow an appropriate award. Each person has their own comfort level with R&R. Some like public accolades, others are simply embarrassed by that form of recognition. If your staff has been working long hours, consider a departmental reward. If a single contributor has exceeded your expectations, award them with a special reward.

Although, adding KPI measurement to your Service Desk is a vital tool for improvement, I just disagree with the belief that you will get engagement from building a reward system around KPI improvement of your ITSM by making it a game. What do you think about gamification of the Service Desk? I would really like to know.

Flickr Image by Railinc