The customer experience is ever-evolving. This makes it hard to pin-point exactly what must be done to keep customers engaged and committed to a particular product or service. Since the customer experience is ongoing and never ends, engagement is of the utmost importance.
Gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity. The practice of providing rewards to drive people to undertake particular actions can be a major driver in improving the customer experience. Experts believe that regardless of whether the strategy is used on the customer or on the employee side, the overall experience shows a positive trend.
“An engaging way to interact with customers is by using games that reward them for playing and shopping with you,” said Greg Heilers, co-founder of Jolly SEO. “One example of gamification that has been running for over 30 years is McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Over the course of the campaign, more than US$40 million in prizes have been given away. Every time it runs, it increases McDonald’s sales by 1 to 6 percent.”
Nike is another example of a company that has managed to boost the customer experience, and as a result, their financial results, with gamification.
The Nike+ app tracks customers’ data and physical activity in order to market to them personally and directly, while also allowing users to compete with people all over the world, displaying their achievements via points and trophies when connected to social media.
Heilers also made a note of the success of Nike’s program. The company saw increased engagement with customers, with the member base more than doubling the first six years of the program and a marks share increase of about 14 percent in the first four years after launch.
“The gamification strategy to boost CX I recommend is called ‘unlock new features’. The idea is to restrict the functionality of a digital product at the beginning of the user’s journey. As users explore the product and complete the first tasks they unlock new features,” said Alexander Knoll, co-founder and CEO of Condens.
According to Knoll, this strategy serves three key purposes:
- Limiting the number of features so as to avoid overloading the customer with information.
- Unlocking new functionality gives a sense of achievement, encouraging the desire to unlock more.
- The psychological effect of loss aversion will keep users in the product longer because the earned features are worth more than if those same features had been available from the start.
“Games made use of this approach successfully as the player gets new equipment or can access new areas of the game after completing certain tasks,” Knoll said.
Gamification can also help employees as well; especially those in the contact centre roles. TELUS International, for example, has successfully integrated gamification into the learning process at its global customer experience and IT delivery centres.
As said by Chuck Koskovich, TELUS International chief operating officer: “During employee training, we utilize experiential learning and interactive activities and treat it similar to a ‘laboratory’ environment with equipment emulators, role play and call simulation, as well as sensitivity training. This allows agents to practice, learn by trial and error, give and receive feedback, receive recognition, and be coached to improve their customer service delivery.”