The concept of gamification isn't a new one in the world of business, and in many ways it possibly hasn't made as much of a splash as it was predicted to. Having said this, it's still very early days, and it's widely agreed that its potential has not yet been realised.
If you look at the bare bones, gamification is essentially a method of customer engagement, something which we know is integral to any company willing to provide the best customer experience. The benefit of this method of customer engagement over any others however, is how much you as a company can gain from it.
Gamification is customer engagement that can give you much more than just engaged customers.
First things’ first, let's make the most of what we already know. Look at things we often take for granted in such a customer centric world, but that can ultimately be essential. Gamification is using characteristics of games in order to motivate key business principles. It's not rocket science, but it can be really effective if you work out what people would like from it. But what is this?
Just for you - To be rewarded
Gamification can be used to provide customers with key rewards and incentives, from both inside and outside of your company, in return for certain behaviour, reaching levels within a game or acting in a desired way.
One is the lonliest number - To share
Sharing here can mean two things. Firstly allowing users to share with each other, work together and create teams. And secondly, letting users share their experiences and opinions through appropriate platforms, such as social media.
Beat that - Competition
We are naturally competitive creatures, so allow us to work hard or complete a task in order to beat someone, and chances are we'll do just that.
We see you - Recognise customer effort
There's nothing worse than working hard, or going through a difficult situation, whether it's being stuck on the phone to a call centre for hours or having an order delayed or cancelled, only for it to not be aknowledged by a company.
Remember me? - Recognise loyalty
The only thing worse than effort not being recognised is loyalty being ignored. We live in a world that never ceases to offer us alternatives, so we feel all the more loyal when we stick to what we know, gamification allows a perfect opportunity to reward this.
Gamification in 2015 is a very flexible idea, which can be a real benefit when trying to introduce it into a company. It can be as simple as a spot the difference advert, or as complex as a multi-player, multi-level interactive game. Neither should be discounted, and as M&M demonstrated with 25,000 facebook likes on their 'spot the pretzel' image, the most simple uses are often the most effective.
What many cynics of gamification are voicing is that while this type of interactivity may be great for the customer, is there any real benefit to a company? And the answer is probably not, if the company don't ensure that there is. However it is undeniable that if done in the right way, gamification can be an integral part of customer interaction. It provides customers with subtle information, and retrieves key data both about them and about their behaviour. Plus by controlling a game-like situation, you are able to not only start controlling and encouraging participation, but also focusing that participation in a way that benefits you.
Of course, like everything else in life and in business, there are good and bad examples. Weak uses of gamification can seem irrelevant at best and ridiculous at worst. But the top dogs in this field are able to both share and retrieve really valuable insights from their customers.
It's clear that the future of customer experience is going to continue to be extremely creative and engaging, and surely it has to be in order to compete in such an interactive world.
Gamification, when done right, seems like the perfect example of this new generation of customer engagement.
Want to find out how to get Gamification right? Join us on CX Day at Legoland Windsor to find out more on just this!