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Customer support can be an incredibly boring and thankless job.

Not only do agents end up having to deal with the same questions day after day after day but they also have to deal with angry customers who are seriously frustrated with their product/service. They have to bear the brunt of disappointing customers and they have to go back on promises they had no control over.

Agents are the customer’s voice within the company and the company’s voice to the customer. With such a heavy burden, it’s no wonder agents, especially ones new to the job, need all the motivation they can get to be rockstars day in and out.

That’s why many companies like to gamify their support. By gamifying their helpdesk, they turn customer support into a fun and competitive game. Agents are awarded points for fast, on time resolutions and for receiving a happy rating from a customer. Admins can even turn up the heat by docking points for poor performance. There’s also usually a leaderboard that ranks agents based on their scores in specific categories. The points also help admins reward high-performing agents with awards and badges.

Gamification motivates agents and makes them super competitive. Even when it comes to tasks they’re usually not very enthusiastic about, like updating the knowledge base or cleaning up stray tickets.

However, some experts strongly advise against gamification because of the hyper-competitiveness it generates. Agents might end up, they argue, cherry-picking easy tickets in an effort to get ahead on the leaderboard and ignore other customers in need. But it depends on the people and the processes. In some teams and some businesses, it can be a really powerful motivator.