Gamification - a new concept in the corporate world - applies game rules or strategies to non-game situations in order to increase user engagement and interest in performing a specific task. In business, this approach can be applied to both internally and externally - to train employees and to get customers to use products more often, in a more complete way.
In training settings, gamification is used to keep learners engaged in their classes. It also encourages them to strive for better scores and deeper understanding through leaderboards, simulations and other mechanics that drive competition among employees.
But the internal side is just part of the benefit it offers companies. Many also utilize gamification strategies with customers to create better engagement and more full use of their products.
Many businesses are looking for ways to integrate these types of methods into their own programs, but doing so effectively requires a clear objective and a good design. Here are a few examples of both internally and externally focused gamification that are helping to make companies more successful:
Understanding your finances
Personal finance company Mint makes excellent use of gamification in order to help its customers get the most out of the service, according to a Click Software blog. The company provides user-friendly resources to help the average person understand where they are spending their money, and how they can do a better job saving.
The process begins the moment a user signs up for the service. They are guided through the process of attaching all of their accounts and credit cards with colorful graphics and easy-to-understand charts and graphs.
"Filling that progress bar becomes visual motivation."
Most importantly however, the Mint app and website gives the user a progress bar that shows how close they are to inputting all of their information. Filling that progress bar becomes visual motivation that helps the user to fill out their information more quickly and accurately.
Teleflora, a flower delivery company that operates nationwide, also benefits from gamification. They have transformed nearly every action a customer can do on their site into part of the game. According to Click Software, points are earned by spending money - one point per dollar. Customers can then spend the points they earn as discounts off future orders, so there is an incentive to collect as many as possible.
But customers can also earn more by participating in other behaviors that the company wants. Users are rewarded for posting about the company on social media, leaving reviews and answering questions from others on the site. In this way, Teleflora encourages its customers to do the things that they want them to (engage on social media, review products, and other forms of content marketing) by offering them a gamified rewards program.
The gamification practiced by corporations can also be internally facing, as in the case of SAP's Roadwarrior sales training game, according to a blog post from gamification expert Yu-Kai Chou. The game follows the format of the popular show, Who Wants to be A Millionaire, with the sales reps answering increasingly difficult questions as they progress through the game.
SAP's sales people are under a great deal of pressure to stay abreast of all of the new product offerings and how they might be able to help clients. Instead of doing basic studying of the written materials about each new feature, gamers can play and learn the new products specs through quizzes and challenges.
The Association for Talent Development says that people retain 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they see, 50 percent of what they see and hear, 70 percent of what they say and write, and 90 percent of what they do. So this means that this gaming system allows a user to retain 60 percent more information than someone who simply studied texts about the products.
Gamification is a powerful force when implemented properly. It can drive customer behavior in the channels a business needs, and it can help its employees become better at their jobs. It's no longer an up -and-coming idea, but a concept that should be embraced by every company.