The Impact of Gamification on Customer Experience

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Gamification is known to invoke gameful, richer, and appealing experiences and engage users in an effective way. It drives pervasive and behavioral change in the users to grab their attention.

Did you know an increase of customer attention by 5% can help you fetch 25-95% profit?
An HBR report suggests gamification is a go-to tactic to grab customer attention and enhance sales.

In another study by Boston Retail Partners, 9 of 10 retailers are looking forward to applying gamification to engage their customers, while 46% view loyalty programs as a top CRM priority. The leading organizational adopters include Microsoft, Samsung, Nike, Alfa Romeo, and Foursquare which are engaging customers online and in-store using gamification. Along with online, retailers can focus on providing such experiences at physical stores. Many customers enjoy shopping in-store that pursue their hedonic experiences like bargain hunting, window shopping, browsing, etc which makes gamification an interesting option for marketing the in-stores.

The technology can take many forms, from video games to promotional tie-ups, it revamps the old marketing techniques into a new version and can bridge the gap between online and brick-and-mortar through an accessible format.

So, how to create engaging experiences through gamification, and what is the recipe to create meaningful gamification?

1. Understand the players

In a gamified version, there are four different parties: players (the one who participates), designers (who create gamified experiences), spectators (who supports the players & influence their experience), and observer (who are aware of the gamified experience but does not impact it). Understanding the players is crucial to creating successful gamification experiences.

For example, American rapper Jay-Z published his book ‘Decoded’ with a gamified experience by designing an integrated online and on-the-street gamified experience wherein players set out to find pages of Jay-Z’s book which were displayed in unexpected places like a rooftop in New Orleans, cheeseburger wrappers and so on. It further allowed players to unlock those pages of the book and win concert tickets and memorabilia.

A variety of gamification mechanics were applied in partnership with Bing. As a result of this move, Jay-Z’s Facebook friends increased by over 1 million, the book spent 18 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, and most importantly, Bing broke its record by witnessing a 12% increase in its traffic with over 1.1 bn impressions.

In another example, Google allowed users to read the news and win badges, which failed miserably, as players did not want to share with others what kind of news they searched for.

These two examples highlight the importance of understanding the players and knowing their motivations before designing the gamification.

2. Timing is the key

Once the types of players to be targeted are identified, next is to consider the time of rewards. Rewarding as quickly as possible after a good performance is equally important. The engagement can be sustained by rewarding simpler tasks to shape and build complex ones.

3. Adding levels, tasks, and players

There exist particularly four types of players: Scholars (play to learn the game), Strivers (play for self-development & winning), Slayers (play to excel with others), and Socialites (play to network and collaborate with others), adding levels, tasks and players can help sustain the engagement further for each player type. However, it is essential to ensure no unfair changes in the rules are implemented.

4. Determine metrics and targets

Without determining the metrics and targets, one cannot measure the progress and improve the experience. This also helps in gathering valuable information and judging the success of the gamification strategy.

What Impact can Gamification have on Customer Experience?

Precisely measuring the impact of gamification is not that simple. Gamification creates a positive and satisfying experience for customers that can lead to an increase in revenue. The customer with the best experience spends 140% more in comparison with those who had the poorest experience. This further contributes towards reduced customer retention costs, positive brand image, customer advocacy, and customer loyalty.

The successful engagement increases the customer referral value, customer influence value, and customer knowledge value which reduces the acquisition costs and brings additional value that goes beyond direct financial patronage. Gamification provides positive emotions that might manipulate people into taking actions that they otherwise wouldn’t have taken. Besides reaching business goals such as increasing sales or conversions, it also brings value by intrinsically motivating users and satisfying internal needs to elevate the customer experience.

“Gamification should be a strategy, not an afterthought or add-on”– Andrzej Marczewski

When your customers will do things that are not part of their routine and add fun to their primary motivators, magical outcomes can be witnessed. Making gamification a part of your strategy can take your organization a long way.

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