By Rachel Dreyfus
First, what IS gamification? According to Wikipedia, Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context in order to engage users and solve problems.
Made simple: gamification experts provided examples of how they used the techniques at a very engaging Customer Experience Professionals (CXP) event in Manhattan recently. Corinne Sklar, CMO at Bluewolf and Kris Duggan at Badgeville spoke on the topic.
Engaging users, including customers and employees is about understanding and encouraging behaviors you want to reinforce, according to Kris, who woke us all up with his opening statement, “We face an engagement crisis.” Gamification platforms/programs can provide a firm advantage among the noisy marketplace offerings via introducing fun and gratifying activities.
Earning points, achievement badges and leaderboards are early, well-used gamification techniques… Through introducing a points rewards system on their website, Badgeville helped Samsung turn one-time web shoppers into repeat visitors who posted reviews more often.
As these incentives show success, other creative techniques are emerging:
The Old Way: Reward repeat sales with free product — Buy 9, get the 10th one free.
The New Way: Beyond sales, reward behaviors such as recommendation, visiting/using the website or other brand channels, and the like. AND, there are so many more ways to reward customers beyond free product — providing recognition or status (Silver, Gold, Platinum level customer labels), privileges such as accessing a sale 24 hours earlier than others, freebies such as extra content, games and the like.
For employee engagement, use visibility and recognition:
Bluewolf introduced a Rewards Store to encourage its employees to collaborate and share ideas and success stories in its internal social platform. Lunch with the CEO was one of the most coveted awards.
Caution: Some company cultures aren’t ready for terms like “gamification” so you may want to choose a label that sounds more traditional, depending upon whether your executives have yet to reach the Silver, Gold, or Platinum level of visionary marketing strategies!