Put Gamification to Work for Your Shop
There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to spur people into action and keep them engaged. Because people pick up their game and perform better when someone is keeping score, some repair shops are turning to gamification and some form of leaderboard to let their techs see how they stack up.
As a shop owner, these tactics can help you increase efficiency, boost morale, and improve customer satisfaction.
Gamification and Leaderboards
Using a leaderboard is a form of gamification. Put simply, gamification involves applying game elements like competition, achievement, recognition, and reward, to activities that are not usually associated with gaming. When deployed correctly, gamification can motivate people to work harder and better.
According to this article, gamification is not about creating a new game; it’s about “amplifying the effect of an existing core experience by applying the motivation techniques that make games so engaging.” In fact,“when you gamify high-value interactions with customers, employees, and partners, you drive more sales, stronger collaboration, better ROI, deeper loyalty, higher customer satisfaction, and more.”
To reap these benefits for your own heavy-duty operation, consider using a leaderboard. You could start by assigning jobs based on performance, like so:
1) Adopt a winner-take-all approach.
According to Serguei Netessine and Valery Yakubovich – authors of this Harvard Business Review article – innovative companies around the world are using workplace competition to ensure big gains for both themselves and their high-performing employees. Netessine and Yakubovich call these companies “winners-take-all organizations.” That’s because work is distributed according to merit: “Better workers take more assignments, and the others get what remains.”
You may already be utilizing gamification like this at your shop. You might be paying your techs flat rates (based on invoiced hours instead of hours on the clock) or efficiency bonuses. As a result, you’re already giving more work to the most efficient techs. If your shop isn’t using these tactics yet, adopting a gamification model that distributes work based on merit is a great way to incentivize your employees to perform at their best. You are aligning their interests with your interests as a shop owner. And when that happens, everyone wins.
2) Don’t make it a zero-sum game.
It’s not about one technician getting a bigger piece of the pie than another. It’s about making the pie bigger. If one technician wins, it doesn’t have to mean another tech loses. After all, the biggest problem most shops face isn’t finding enough business, it’s making the best use of the techs they have, so they don’t have to keep turning away business.
3) Identify performance metrics for your leaderboard.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What constitutes “better workers?” In other words, how can you determine which employees should get more jobs, and thus the opportunity to earn more money? Netessine and Yakubovich used the example of a Massachusetts-based restaurant chain that ranks its servers based on two metrics:
- Per-customer sales
- Customer satisfaction levels
Higher-ranked servers get more tables and better schedules, which motivates employees and increases profits.
4) Consider measuring efficiency, effectiveness, and utilization.
Smart shop owners allocate more work to the techs who can get it done efficiently and effectively. After all, the last thing you want is your most efficient and effective techs standing around while your least-efficient techs are overloaded. With that in mind, you can rank your techs using these two metrics:
- Efficiency (invoiced hours divided by clocked hours)
- Effectiveness (comeback rate)
You can also look at how well the technicians spend their time on the clock by measuring utilization: hours spent on a service order divided by hours clocked into work. That’s because, when a technician clocks into work, he makes money, but the shop doesn’t – not until he actually gets started on a service order. Thus, the higher a tech’s utilization score, the better.
How to Implement Gamification Elements
If you’d like to take gamification out for a spin, we have some tips to help you properly implement it.
1) Communicate the change to your staff.
Change can be challenging in any situation, so make it a point to clearly communicate. Make sure your employees understand not only the new process for receiving work assignments and shifts, but also what you expect of them, like how the rankings are calculated and how they can improve.
According to Stephen Silverstein – the CEO of the restaurant chain mentioned above – the transition over to this new model “wasn’t as negative as [he] expected.”
“Many [staff members] loved seeing their results,” and used them to improve their sales and their take-home pay. In terms of turnover, Silverstein said, “very few employees have quit.” However, some “low-performing” staff members will be let go if the company can’t help them succeed.
2) Keep it friendly.
According to Colleen Cushman – a server at the restaurant chain – she and her coworkers have managed to keep the competition friendly: “We joke back and forth, but it’s nothing intense,” she said. “For the most part, this system helps everyone get better, and a little friendly competition never hurts.”
As the boss, it’ll fall to you to set the tone for the competition in your shop. You’ll need to ensure it stays friendly. Having your staff undercut each other to improve their rankings will end up hurting your business, company culture, and customers. Remember: it’s not a zero-sum game. If you do it right, the pie gets bigger for everyone.
3) Measure your results.
According to Silverstein, “it’s too early to tell” the financial impact of implementing this type of a system in their restaurants. However, the company expects to see an increase in check averages by 2–3%. “Based on 60,000 transactions a week, that adds up to about $1.5 million a year; with a 40% margin, the return is tremendous,” he said. “We’ve also seen that guests prefer the higher-scoring servers, and since the system should help all servers improve, we hope that guests will be returning more frequently.”
Odds are good that implementing gamification in your repair shop will make a positive impact. Just remember to take baseline measurements of all your performance metrics before you start. That way, you can accurately assess your results.
4) Reap the benefits.
Netessine and Yakubovich believe that this kind of gamification can be successfully implemented in any business where there’s “a best location or a preferred shift, and as long as performance can be evaluated and ranked.” And the benefits don’t stop with productivity and profit. Managers are also “freed from many of the tasks involved in appraising employees,” which means they “can focus more attention on activities that really count.”
Even if you’d rather not use the leaderboard to assign work, it can still be incredibly effective for motivation.
How Fullbay Can Help
If you’re using Fullbay, you can already measure your techs using the classic metrics of efficiency and utilization. Technicians can see for themselves how they stack up against other techs on these metrics. Every time they log in, they can see their own personalized leaderboard by clicking on their Stats tab.
To quickly rev up the friendly competition – and efficiency – of your shop, set some benchmarks for individuals or teams to reach. Once they reach that mark, they receive something; perhaps it’s monetary (a bonus!), or maybe it’s a nice lunch, or even additional time off.
Here are three ways Fullbay can help put gamification to work for you:
1) Tie Rewards to Efficiency Levels
Fullbay is all about tech efficiency. Heck, it’s a big part of why we built the software. So why not tie rewards to being more efficient? Fullbay shows you and your techs how efficient they are, which makes it easy for you to reward them when they reach a specific level of efficiency. For example, if all technicians hit an average of 90% efficiency in a certain month, they all receive a reward. You can also break this down by individual: every technician that reaches 90% efficiency gets a bonus.
Rewarding efficiency also allows you to ramp up your efforts over time and gives everyone something to work for. If you’re just starting out with Fullbay, you might have 60% tech efficiency. Aim for weekly or monthly improvements: 70% efficiency one month, 80% efficiency another month. Reward your crew each time they reach a new bracket – it’s good for them and good for business.
2) Tie Rewards to Service Orders
We don’t always recommend using service orders as a metric for rewards. The thought of a tech buzzing through as many jobs a week or month as they can doubtless leads to nightmares about sloppy work and comeback repairs. But Fullbay allows you to filter completed service orders by tech, and you can certainly set up a “Race to 50 Repair Jobs” if you’re trying to close out your financial year in a big way.
3) Tie Rewards to Learning
As we mentioned above, gamification is a huge component in education. When you enroll your techs in Fullbay Learn, they can earn badges for each module they complete. These badges are then displayed on their profile. Your crew can take pride in their accomplishments, and you can tie some kind of reward to each badge or every handful of badges if you want.
Leading by Example
A big component of gamification is constant improvement. Here at Fullbay, we like to think we’re constantly improving ourselves, adding new features to the app that will help your shop run better and improve your bottom line. Stay tuned for even more gamification-related updates in the coming months!
In the meantime, see for yourself what gamification and leaderboards can do for your shop. Get in touch with us and give our free demo a try – we can’t wait to show you what we can do!
Additional reporting by Suz Baldwin.