Serious Business: Playing serious games to accelerate learning & deliver better outcomes

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How do we re-design a big call centre for better performance?

How do we re-design a big call centre for better performance?

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  • 1. SERIOUS BUSINESS Playing serious games to accelerate learning & deliver better outcomes David Colls - dcolls@thoughtworks.com p l a y i n g g a m e s
  • 2. A BIG CALL CENTRE How do we re-design a big call centre for better performance? 2
  • 3. THE GM STRUGGLED to improve his call centre. Time for changes was running out. He was down to his last $3. The crowd urged him to upskill agent Charlie. We ran the simulator. 3
  • 4. 4 $3? Crowd? Simulator? What kind of business is this?
  • 5. CONTEXT A BIG call centre 200,000 calls per day 10,000 agents 500+ products 24 hours 7 days 5
  • 6. CONTEXT A BIG improvement program New paradigms for: ■  Staff management, and ■  Telephony technology To better design which agents get which calls With the aim of continual learning-led performance improvement: ■  Customer satisfaction ■  Cost 6
  • 7. APPROACH Big Bang Launch is Risky! New design can’t be tested on current systems. We can build new technology and implement new management processes. But, when we switch it on, Can we be sure the design will work? 7
  • 8. UNRESOLVED QUESTIONS 8 Can we find a design that works? Success of improvement program at stake!
  • 9. UNRESOLVED QUESTIONS 9 Can we find a design that works? Maybe games can help us…
  • 10. BUSINESS VS GAMEPLAY 10 Goal Environment Limited Resources Moves Taking Turns Scoring Results More freedom. Don’t break the law! Less freedom. Don’t break the rules! Simplification highlights essential features Simplification conceals necessary complexity
  • 11. THEORY IN PRACTICE 11 Goal Environment Limited Resources Moves Taking Turns Scoring Results Build a simulator Devise and play a game scenario
  • 12. VISION FOR SIMULATION 12 Call Arrives Call Classified Class. Rules Call Targeted Targeting Rules Call Queued Agent With Skills Available Agent Skill Assignment Call Serviced Customer Calls Agent Connected Classified call arrival file Production Systems Production Systems Simulation wrapper Simulation of real systems Call event log Real behaviours Real behaviours Simulated customer patience behaviour Simulated agent transfer behaviour Reality Process Design Simulation
  • 13. GOAL – TO MINIMISE ABANDONED CALLS Abandon = when a caller hangs up before talking to an agent 13
  • 14. ENVIRONMENT The state of the world 14
  • 15. LIMITED RESOURCES $20 and 4 minutes – later reduced to 2 minutes 15
  • 16. MOVES Given the information so far, your choices determine your performance 16
  • 17. TAKING TURNS Competitors take it in turns to move, under constraints, with helpful and less- than-helpful suggestions from the crowd 17
  • 18. SCORING Simulation is run and the crowd waits anxiously for the result. 18
  • 19. RESULTS Scores are posted, Top-Gear Style 19
  • 20. 20 “What [the winner] has done is add agents and implement default routing, just like [our newest operation]!”
  • 21. CONFIDENCE BOOST 21 Can we find a sufficiently good design to launch? The game produced the same design as the real world!
  • 22. MORE OUTCOMES 22 We have a great communications and training resource Management and technology change teams, and other stakeholders, now understand one another There is value in further simulator development
  • 23. AND THEN WE CHANGED SOME MECHANICS AND DID IT ALL AGAIN This time with the aim of minimal transfers 23
  • 24. NEW GOAL, ENVIRONMENT AND SCORING Transferred calls now part of the game 24
  • 25. NEW RESULTS New measures of performance yield a new strategy 25
  • 26. MORE OUTCOMES 26 What we measure will affect what we design
  • 27. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? More people played the game Effective communications about the program Simulator scaled to production complexity To find the launch design New system launched! Which was the real game after all 27
  • 28. BUSINESS OUTCOMES Validation Focus Knowledge sharing Accelerated program Better launch design 28
  • 29. NO SIMULATOR? 29 Goal Environment Limited Resources Moves Taking Turns Scoring Results Simulation Live systems A/B tests User testing Role playing SMEs Excel
  • 30. THANK YOU For questions or suggestions: David Colls dcolls@thoughtworks.com