“The Oasis wasn’t meant to be a one-player game.” – Ogden Morrow, ‘Ready Player One’

Games are fun. That’s why we play them! I hope this insight hasn’t shaken you to your foundation.

Work…well work is work, isn’t it? I have to confess up front: Logging a ticket for every support request just doesn’t quite give that same sense of thrill that I got last night when a recently-vanquished enemy dropped an absolutely legendary shield for me.

I’d be insulting your intelligence if I told you that applying game-design elements to your IT Services would not only increase the productivity and engagement of your analysts and drive behaviors that make your team successful, but also provide them with the rush of adrenaline and endorphins that one might experience when watching an action-packed popcorn flick like Ready Player One. That said, gamification can help you and your team achieve goals, create a greater sense of camaraderie, and make work a bit more…fun.

Every good game has a clearly defined goal:

Save the planet. Solve the dastardly and frustrating puzzle. Increase first contact resolution rates by 38%. Find the keys to the hidden treasure. Create a highly useful library of knowledge articles based on your customer’s needs. Survive a zombie infestation. Maintain high call-quality evaluation scores across your entire team.

It’s crucial that whatever your objective, your players not only know the purpose of the game, but why it’s important to you, to them, and to their customer.

The stakes of the game are a big part of what engages your players. Most corporate gamification ventures include things like badges, free lunches, gift cards, paid time off, and the like. These extrinsic rewards for “winning” any given round of your game can be great motivators.

But your players--the team of analysts and technicians who are solving problems for your customers every day--deserve to understand why the goals of the game are important. Once that understanding has been imparted, those points and badges they’re earning won’t just be the end game, but will continuously reinforce the intrinsic motivation that your team likely already has to win.

Games are usually more fun when played with friends, and a gamified Service Desk setting need not be any different. There need not be any losers in this game. The best times I have ever had playing games were not solo adventures, but with a team that has different strengths and weaknesses that could offer one another support and assistance.

Your game can help identify those strengths and weaknesses in your team, and, if run properly, forge a stronger bond of support amongst your team members. Take the time to recognize those team members who are “on the leaderboard” and encourage them to assist those team members who might be struggling to meet an objective.

Next week's blog post sneak peak... Ready Player One’s James Donovan Halliday may not have liked rules, but clear guidelines for how the game is to be played can avoid some major pitfalls!

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