Blake Collections Applies Game Mechanics to Engage People and Drive Business Growth

Blake Collections is transforming employee engagement with Verint Gamification, in collaboration with Centrical. The South African debt collection specialist is applying, modern, innovative game mechanics to communicate goals, measure success, and motivate staff.

The results

  • Helps build and sustain employee engagement.

  • Provides complete, automated visibility into coaching.

  • Enables employees to develop desired skills, knowledge, and behaviors.

About Blake Collections

Blake Collections (Blake) has more than 30 years of experience in debt recovery services. The South African organization’s scalable solutions cover the entire debt life cycle across a range of industries, including banking and finance, telecommunications, retail, medical, education, and business.

Blake is a business trailblazer. The company’s 800 agents make 9.9 million outbound calls monthly and send 3.1 million SMS messages to customers. The company handles 330,000 inbound calls monthly.

The opportunity: Business success lies in people

“We’re a people business and understand that the real value in our business resides among our staff,” says Dave Holding, Collections Executive at Blake Collections. “All of our processes are built around people. In turn, sustained employee engagement leads to enhanced performance, customer engagement, and quality service.”

Holding and his team used to perform racetrack metrics to monitor and communicate people performance. However, he had always been keen to introduce a gamification platform. An early attempt to build such a platform in-house was quickly found to be complex and expensive. In addition, it took development resources away from other key business priorities.

“Everyone was working remotely during Covid,” Holding says. “We needed a modern, agile means of measuring and incentivizing agents.”

This coincided with a call from Verint partner Centrical. “The Centrical team gave us a demo of the platform and we were hooked,” explains Holding. “One of our requirements was to customize the platform to meet the diverse needs of our 80+ debt collection campaigns. With Centrical’s expert support, the Verint gamification solution could be adapted quickly and easily to meet our different products, markets, and cycle dates.”

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Applying innovative game mechanics

Blake standardized on Verint Gamification powered by Centrical to apply game mechanics and engage staff, communicate goals, measure, and acknowledge achievements, and motivate its 800-strong team.

“It’s about inspiring collaboration and empowering a people-centric organization,” says Holding. “We’re shifting the process of skills development from a routine chore into an exciting and competitive experience. We want people to perform more calls while being as caring as possible during each customer engagement.”

So how does it work? As a leading debt collection company, Blake has approximately 80 campaigns in motion at any time. In the first 90 days of a debt being due, Blake contacts customers via outbound calling from the contact center. Thereafter, the team switches identity, communicating as a registered debt collection agency. Game theory is applied to KPIs, the terminology used by agents, cycle data, and other metrics.

The gamification solution has expanded to 50 production/performance KPIs and is run by one super user and five admin users.

“Verint and Centrical are flexible, enabling us to easily cope with the different cycle dates,” notes Holding. “For example, bank clients might want to engage between the first and the 31st of the month, whereas retail clients will work on different days of each month. It also enables us to adapt to different KPIs. For example, at the start of the month, we can focus on KPIs associated with the volume of arrangement. We can then switch to KPIs focused on tracing, then later to KPIs associated with broken promises to pay.”

Verint Gamification is also flexible in Blake’s incentives programs. For example, it’s common to find the same agents being incentivized each month for their performance. However, Verint and Centrical enable Holding and his team to target the middle-tier of performers, or help the new hires move forward.

”Blake Bucks” is one of the incentive programs geared to capturing employee interest while helping build desired skills and behaviors. Successful agents receive restaurant vouchers and other relevant incentives to foster team building.

All of this is delivered in an agile, cost-effective, best-of-breed Verint Open CCaaS cloud platform along with Centrical. “Verint Platform makes it easy to deploy, easy to adapt, and accessible by everyone,” says Holding.

Centrical has been a key player in Blake’s success. The first team were live within four weeks and it took only two months to deploy to the remaining 76 campaigns Some 853 users are now uploaded on the platform. Holding comments, “Centrical’s expert gamification experience, coupled with its knowledge and integration with the Verint Open CCaaS Platform and understanding of our business, are keeping people emotionally engaged with their work and motivated to hit their targets.”

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The benefits: Re-thinking people engagement

Verint Gamification and Centrical are transforming the way Blake Collections applies game mechanics to engage staff, communicate goals, measure performance, and motivate staff.

The benefits include:

  • Improves employee engagement: Helps build and sustain employee engagement, which, in turn, can lead to enhanced sales, customer engagement, and quality. Some 1,459 learning missions have been completed by agents across all campaigns, including 600 quizzes. And 2,425 performance challenges have been completed. “We are passionate about upskilling and educating our agents to excel in their campaign. This will increase their performance results and allow them to perform at their peak.”
  • Enhances visibility: According to Holding, “In the past, any visibility into coaching was manual. The Team Leader would walk the contact center looking for answers. Now, it’s all available in a dashboard. We can identify areas of weakness, see completed coaching, and understand how coaching was received.”
  • Increases efficiency: Leverages game mechanics to help employees develop and maintain desired skills, knowledge, and behaviors to achieve organizational performance goals.
  • Simplifies operations: Helps Blake transform performance management exercises into an engaging experience for individuals and teams.
  • Drives flexibility: Supports different KPIs in a balanced scorecards approach to deliver challenging, yet entertaining simulations. For example, being able to incentivize the middle-tier of performers or help the new hires progress quickly.
  • Increases agility: Provides the benefits of a cloud solution by going live quickly, at low risk, and with minimal ongoing maintenance or upgrades.

“A collections contact center environment isn’t easy,” Holding concludes. “We only invest in technology that provides a proven return on investment. Make no mistake, we have achieved a great return on investment from Verint Gamification and Centrical.”

Featured Verint solutions

  • Verint Gamification

    Keeping employees engaged with their work can be an ongoing challenge for many organizations. While coaching, mentoring, and training can enhance employee engagement, savvy organizations are incorporating elements of game theory — gamification — into the workplace to help stimulate and motivate their staff.

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