In the work environment, gamification may be employed as a training tool or employee morale initiative and in turn, improve customer service experiences.
The idea behind gamification is quite simple: by applying game mechanics to tasks or functions that typically have no entertainment value, you provide people with motivation to partake in these tasks.
If you’ve seen the Steven Spielberg film, Minority Report, you may be wondering how far off we are from talking billboards and advertisements that change based on the customer (Google Chrome is already there, of course). In the film, Tom Cruise’s character walks into a GAP, has his retinas scanned, and is promptly greeted by a video display offering him the latest deals, all tailored to his personal buying habits. Except he has someone else’s eyes, so it doesn’t quite work out!
Though the technology for live retina scans and personalized greetings may not yet be in place – and let’s be honest; the system would simply tap into your smartphone to find out who you are – the concept certainly is. Technology, particularly mobile technology and gaming, is being seen as a means to improve the customer experience. And this, in turn, is creating happier, more loyal customers.
How to Keep Customers Happy and Loyal? Through Engagement.
The idea behind gamification is quite simple: by applying game mechanics to tasks or functions that typically have no entertainment value, you provide people with motivation to partake in these tasks. Gamification may involve leader boards, points, badges, and other tricks typically associated with games. Fundamentally, there needs to be a reason for people to participate (though making the task fun certainly goes a long way).
In the work environment, gamification may be employed as a training tool or employee morale initiative. In the retail environment, it can help build happy and loyal customers, by incentivizing them with rewards, “loyalty” points, or simply motivation to interact with a brand when not actively utilizing that brand’s services or products. By promoting customer engagement and providing for a more rewarding customer experience, gamification can help improve a company’s bottom line.
But why the push for gamification? Why is improving the customer experience so important if these customers aren’t actually purchasing services or products? Because statistics show that retaining customers is far easier – and far cheaper – than procuring new ones. Gamification is tailor-made for customer retention, as it allows a business to engage with existing customers on an ongoing basis. As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” By maintaining a relationship with previous customers through gamification, a business can help ensure they eventually return.
How Gamification Enhances the Customer Experience
Of course, the idea of maintaining a relationship with existing customers isn’t a new one. Think of all of the emails, product catalogs, coupons, and other various offerings you receive from businesses you’ve previously purchased products from.
Those are sent to you in hopes of maintaining a relationship with you so that you’ll one day return. Gamification takes this principle and flips it on its side. By creating an activity or experience that is fun, engaging… perhaps even a bit addicting, gamification turns you into a willing participant in the experience, rather than a disinterested recipient.
And the effects of gamification can be passed down, as well. Freshdesk found that by implementing gamification across its customer support department, it could improve both the customer experience and customer satisfaction. On the other end of the spectrum, organizations and businesses like the U.S. Army, Samsung, Mint.com, and Verizon have employed gamification to drive recruitment, customer loyalty, interaction, and sales. In other words, they go directly to the customer.
Put simply, gamification can eventually trickle down to the customer no matter how it’s implemented – whether he or she is addressed directly, or indirectly.
Technology – The Rising Tide that Lifts All Boats
Though gamification isn’t exactly new when it comes to the customer experience – think of McDonald’s and its annual Monopoly sweepstakes challenge – the onset of mobile technology has resulted in incredible growth. Mobile technology like high-resolution displays, intuitive touch-screen interfaces, and Snapdragon’s advanced processing units have resulted in devices that are more capable and engaging than ever. And these very devices are driving the gamification movement.
Now, gamification initiatives don’t have to be static. They can tie in with social networks, a company’s own website, and the customer’s own device. In other words, mobile technology has made it so that a company never has to be out of sight of the customer. Whereas the McDonald’s Monopoly sweepstakes may only happen once a year, with smartphones and tablets, businesses can engage with customers every day of the year. It’s a no-brainer, really.
That is the power of gamification and mobile technology.