As marketers, we often think of a good customer experience as one that meets our customer’s expectations.
But is that actually the case?
Customer expectations for brand experiences are growing at a lightning pace — and those expectations are based on their best experiences, not average ones.
That means if you aren’t consistently aiming to exceed customer expectations, your ‘average’ experience will quickly become negative. And a negative customer experience can tank your brand loyalty, expediting your route out of business.
Many companies are turning to gamification as a way to engage consumers and improve their experience. But to influence customer behavior, gamification needs to be implemented purposefully as part of an overall business strategy.
You can’t just add points or badges and expect miracles.
Crafting better customer experiences requires a strategic shift, one based on an in-depth investigation of the current state of your customer’s journey. That means breaking down silos within your organization to get a clear look at what the customer experience is really like.
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Once you have a clear idea of what areas need improvement, gamification can be used strategically to enhance your customer experience. You can gamify individual touchpoints or entire sections of the customer journey.
Either way game tactics need to be tied to both existing modes of interaction with the brand and clearly outlined business goals. When consumers take action within the game, the result of that action should help achieve specific goals.
Let’s look at 4 areas where gamification can improve your customer experience.
1. Gamified Product Exploration
Despite customers’ desire to be at the helm of their shopping journeys, they are often overwhelmed with the information available to them. Accenture found over 40 percent of consumers have made a purchase elsewhere because they were overwhelmed by options.
To improve the product selection aspect of your customer journey, you can gamify the experience: adding a recommendation quiz or turning product exploration into an interactive game.
Recommendations and interactive product exploration games make searching for products more convenient and enjoyable. Personal recommendations also take the work out of searching for relevant products — everything the customer sees is tailored to them.
2. Game Based Marketing
Your marketing campaigns shape how your customers think about you and influence whether they visit your website, come into your store, or buy your products. So it’s imperative those campaigns create a positive brand experience for consumers.
Traditional campaigns tend to shove messaging at consumers. Consumers don’t choose when to engage with the content and it’s often very sales centric.
Gamified promotions are different. They offer value to consumers in the form of fun games and appealing prizes. They let consumers choose to engage instead of pushing. And they make it enjoyable to interact with branded content instead of annoying.
Plus you can achieve a whole host of other business goals in addition to improving your customer experience.
3. Interactive Troubleshooting
There’s no quicker way to alienate your consumers than by making something more complicated than necessary. Well-designed gamification breaks complex concepts down and explains them in ways that are engaging and easy to understand.
Imagine what this could do for the troubleshooting or FAQ section of your website. For example, an interactive quiz could identify a customer’s problem and guide them through a solution.
This kind of interactive experience would make it easy for customers to find the information they’re looking for. And it’d be much more enjoyable than scouring forums or manuals for answers.
4. Gamified Loyalty
Gamifying your loyalty program helps improve your customer experience because it makes it fun — and worthwhile — to engage with the program. There is something in it for your consumers, even if that something is just a really fun game.
Game elements like levels, progress indicators, personalized avatars, and branded games not only improve the experience of using your loyalty program, they can improve its efficacy. They make it fun to engage repetitively with your program.
And when you tie business goals to actions within the program, these game elements can help encourage members to do things like make purchases, engage on social, or invite other people to join your program.
The Bottom Line
Consumers have high expectations when it comes to their experience with your brand. But gamification shouldn’t just be tacked onto your existing customer experience.
You have to consider the customer journey as a whole, and identify areas that could be improved. Then you can use gamification strategically to make those experiences enjoyable, simple, and convenient.
Improving your customer experience may not be simple. But the reality is having an excellent customer experience is no longer a nice ‘add on’.
It’s not an extra benefit.
It’s not ‘nice to have if you can.
It’s the only option if you want to capture and sustain market share.