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Microsoft sees 10% increase in call center employee productivity

Microsoft B2C customers are served by a network of global support centers. To provide the best level of service consistently across all locations, Microsoft has to ensure its agents are highly proficient, aligned on the process, and above all engaged. Using Centrical, Microsoft motivates thousands of outsourced agents daily to track their performance, learn about its services, and feel emotionally connected to their work - the results for the business have been remarkable.

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12% Less absenteeism
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10% More calls per shift
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89% Of agents acknowledge new information and can apply it
“The platform motivates agents at a personal level to do more, do better, and grow.”

Better engagement leads to less absenteeism and higher productivity


Using gamification, personalized goals, and microlearning to improve behaviors

Microsoft’s B2C customers are served by the company’s global network of call centers provided by a group of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies. Although calls are monitored, only a small percentage are recorded and reviewed. Agents act accordingly and don’t do their best on every call, counting on the fact that some won’t be evaluated.  

 Microsoft wanted to ensure that all agents, across all sites and locations deliver a consistent level of quality service. It was researching innovative ways to get its agents engaged, aligned on process and knowledgeable about its products and services. 

New ways to recognize and reward

The existing programs for its service agents centered on monthly awards and tangible gifts. They tended to focus on top performers, the top 10% of agents.  

 Microsoft saw Centrical to shift the focus – change behaviors, develop skills, and encourage sales in a fun way that motivates everyone equally. Agents could be rewarded and recognized for positive behaviors and outcomes with each customer interaction. 

Microsoft had set clear goals for its Centrical implementation on agent engagement, satisfaction and retention. Furthermore, improving speed to proficiency, boosting agent knowledge and skills, along with sustaining a drive for excellence were set as additional program goals 

“We wanted to find a solution that would help motivate our agents at a deeper, more meaningful level. One that would get them emotionally engaged to achieve their very best.“


Microsoft made Centrical part of a larger initiative called “Making Agents Great”. The platform uses gamification to engage and reward agents for participating in learning or going beyond the minimum requirements of the job. Agents are invited to complete weekly challenges and hit daily goals aligned with every employee segment’s performance or knowledge levels. Furthermore, the platform is used to deliver ongoing learning on products and process changes. Learning activities are dynamically assigned to employees. New hires receive basic training aimed at bringing them to competency faster. With tenured employees the focus is more on knowledge updates and sustaining motivation.
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Real-Time Performance Management By presenting agents’ goals visually, and then, showing in real-time how each activity advances or delays them from hitting their objectives, motivation was elevated. It was also enhanced through instant recognition and rewards for the demonstration of desired behaviors
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Personalized Microlearning With Centrical’s personalized microlearning, each employee could be handled differently. Content and activities were tailored by performance and tenure. And helped to create a culture of continuous learning.
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Advanced Gamification Centrical had game levels and points tied to individual employee goals. Competitions were between the same grade employees and centered on the level of improvement, giving everyone a chance to win.


Results were impressive, reflecting an annual return on investment in the millions. Notably, instead of trying to make that last call of the day drag out or avoid taking another call, agents began trying to squeeze in a couple more calls to receive more points for the day, causing a productivity increase of 10%. 

 Agents’ sales rates doubled because they’d be rewarded for citing related products and selling them during service calls. Absenteeism dropped 12% – for agents, missing a day of work, meant missing a chance to gain points and recognition. On learning, agent awareness of new information rose from 23% to 89% with agents acknowledging in internal surveys that not only were they aware but also able to apply new knowledge in their work. 

“The program is employee-centric and designed to focus on motivating agents and enabling them to be successful in their goals. Centrical puts control in agents’ hands.”

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