What Is Gamification?
Gamification is the process of incorporating game dynamics into non-gaming environments to enhance operations, systems, and activities. These environments may include websites, learning management systems, organizational intranet sites, online communities, or corporate departments, such as customer service or sales teams.
Many organizations use game dynamics to motivate and inspire employees, users, managers, and other stakeholders to improve performance by turning daily tasks into a competition.
For example, learning platforms may automatically reward users with points after completing a certain number of pages, projects, or units. A retailer’s mobile app may provide discounts, free shipping, or complementary products after a customer spends a certain amount of money with a brand.
Alternatively, customer service managers may offer points, stars, or badges after an employee completes an activity or achieves a goal, such as quick response times or rapid complaint resolution. Finally, businesses can use video game mechanics to track professional education credits and skill mastery.
Why Is Gamification Important to Customer Service Departments?
Gamification can transform an underwhelming customer service department into a high-performing, seamless operation by increasing customer service agents’ intrinsic motivation. Intrinsically, or internally, motivated employees have proven to be more committed and satisfied with their jobs. Further, intrinsically motivated employees perform 16% better than their coworkers.
Incorporating video game mechanics into consumer service departments can result in several other benefits, including:
1. Improved Efficiency
Gamifying business practices won’t eliminate the daily grind of responding to customer complaints or providing technical support. However, the video game-style elements can drastically improve efficiency in two ways.
First, gamification helps keep consumer service departments on the same page. Creating games allows businesses to set organizational and departmental goals, such as shortening message response times or boosting customer satisfaction ratings.
Secondly, the social and competitive aspects of a game-inspired customer service department guide agents toward performance goals. Customer service managers can use reward cards, badges, points, leaderboards, or other incentives to direct departments toward new goals rather than holding group or 1:1 meetings.
2. Enhanced Engagement
Gamification impacts humans’ natural desire to excel, succeed, and collaborate. In some ways, video game mechanics call on the same compulsions that draw people to sports, gambling, and other competitive activities. As a result, gamification can help improve performance in customer support departments through employee engagement.
Even remote teams can use video game mechanics to create interactive online working environments. Companies can utilize websites or mobile applications to track users’ “missions,” monitor leaderboards, and award points for completing certain activities. The shared experience can replicate the camaraderie and excitement found in in-house teams while encouraging employees to develop product expertise and autonomy.
3. Increased Desire to Excel
Finally, video game mechanics create a specific output for every user input. For example, customer service agents may receive a point or badge after resolving a new customer case, resulting in immediate and tangible progress. Because of the increased levels of visibility, employees are more inclined to put forth effort and perform at a highly efficient, productive level.
How Does Gamification Work?
Gamification works by targeting the innate human instinct to interact, collaborate, and master tasks. These intrinsic motivators often drive employees to perform at a higher level than other types of motivators, such as the fear of losing a job or receiving criticism from a manager.
Gamification makes it easy to measure employee success as well. Leadership can gather data from the game platform to determine where customer support teams excel and where the company may need to adjust.
That said, companies can also use gamification to nurture customer loyalty, boost revenue, and increase sales. Marketing teams can design a brand-specific loyalty program to reward customers for shopping. Companies may also decide to offer points, rewards programs, or mobile app-exclusive awards to encourage customers to complete a purchase.
Other Applications of Gamification
As mentioned before, leaders and organizations can apply video game mechanics to a wide range of goals to improve performance, boost effort, and increase the effectiveness of training and certification programs. Employees, students, and even customers naturally want to compete and win. As a result, gamification can improve the overall user experience. At the same time, the concept drives progress, problem-solving, and curiosity.
With this in mind, other applications of gamification include professional education, training and development courses, and marketing strategies. For example, educators can use gamification to reduce boredom and encourage students to complete each unit activity or quiz.
In the marketing sector, companies can turn to gamification to increase brand engagement and conduct shopper research. For example, Nike used gamification to boost brand loyalty and improve the user experience by having its customers track their activity. Users would then earn points for each run, workout, or everyday life activity and compare their rankings to other users’ metrics. While its customers enjoyed the virtual competition, Nike learned more about its shoppers’ location, habits, preferences, and interests.
The Value of Gamification in the Workplace
Gamification strategies enable businesses to transform a job into a competition, igniting the innate human desire to perform, excel, and win. Brands can inspire customer service departments with rewards programs to boost performance, increase engagement, and enhance both the employee and customer experience.
At the same time, companies can influence consumer behavior with reward cards, loyalty programs, social media incentives, and other engagement tactics used to drive sales and increase customer loyalty.