There’s nothing quite like a little friendly competition to spur people into action and keep them engaged. And, because people pick up their game—meaning, they perform better—when someone keeps score, the best shops use gamification and some form of a leaderboard. That way, their technicians know how they stack up. As a shop owner, this can help you increase efficiency, boost morale, and improve customer satisfaction.
Gamification and Leaderboards
Using a leaderboard is a form of gamification, which simply means applying game elements (things like competition, achievement, recognition, and reward) to activities that are not usually associated with gaming. And research has proven that the best gamification—the kind that creates intrinsic motivation—can actually motivate people more than money can.
As this article explains, 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:
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 the company and its 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 employing 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 we recommend here. As a result, you’re already giving more work to the most efficient techs. For shops that aren’t using these tactics, though, 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.
But don’t make it a zero-sum game.
The best shops recognize that it’s not about one technician getting a bigger piece of the pie than another; it’s about making the pie bigger. So, 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.
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.
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 could 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 (S.O.) 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.
Fullbay can help.
If you’re using Fullbay, you can already measure your techs using the classic metrics of efficiency and utilization. In fact, 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.
Communicate the change to your staff.
Change can be challenging in any situation, so make it a point to clearly communicate. By that, I mean make sure your employees understand not only the new process for receiving work assignments and shifts, but also what you expect of them (i.e., 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.” In fact, “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. Silverstein believes that “losing the weak is good for the company.”
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.
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.
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 go beyond “productivity and profit gains.” Managers also get “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. Remember the research: the best gamification involves intrinsic motivation. And once your techs have their basic needs met, it can be even more motivating than money.
Fullbay has baked-in leaderboards that give shop owners real-time views of how the shop is doing. If you are not already using Fullbay, we hope you request a demo below today.