How to gamify your business

What is gamification? Is it a buzz word, a trend? Gamification is the technique of incorporating gaming mechanics into elements and processes that your customers and employees use every day. It’s a way to increase engagement, improve employee satisfaction, create motivation, and ultimately enhance your return on investment. It’s becoming more and more common all the time and is proving to be far more than a passing fad.

Gamification in everyday life

Gamification is everywhere, and we often don’t even realize it. If you used the Starbucks rewards app last time you grabbed a coffee, you participated in gamification. Customers earn points for making purchases, the more purchases you make, the more rewards you unlock.

Insurance companies and credit card providers are great examples of businesses using these techniques at a high level. Progressive’s “snapshot” program is gamification through and through. The company promises an unspecified discount to car insurance when customers plug the device into their car for a certain number of days. The snapshot device tracks hard breaks and rapid accelerations. Since customers can track their progress, they’re encouraged to slow down and drive more safely. Their reward is a discount to their monthly premium.

Digital platforms aren’t the only way to use gamification. Printed loyalty cards also use gaming techniques. Physical loyalty cards encourage customers to make more purchases and receive their stamp — and eventually their free product — as a reward. If you’re halfway to getting a free sandwich at a restaurant you frequent, your much more likely to go back there than venture out into unknown territory without the promise of a free meal.

What’s the goal?

Gamification impacts a wide array of industries, from weight loss apps to grocery shopping, companies rely on gamification to increase customer loyalty and boost sales. At its core, gamification encourages users to accomplish a goal. Whether that goal is theirs or yours may be insignificant as long as that goal is achieved.

With weight loss apps, for instance, the customer’s goal is to lose weight. The company’s goal is to get more people using their app. Gamification in this setting helps both businesses and consumers achieve their goals. Businesses use gaming mechanics and design and apply it to non-gaming experiences. In other words, they make everyday activities more fun. It’s a powerful way to increase customer retention and even help nudge your customers through further steps in your funnel. We would all rather do something we enjoy than something that feels like a chore right?

Another use of gamification in business is to improve employee engagement. At the back end of the business, HR departments are using gamification to help employees achieve company milestones. Team members may receive rewards and bonuses, for example, when they participate in activities to improve their skills or accomplish certain business objectives.

How to include gamification in your business

Depending on your approach, incorporating gamification into your business can be a great step toward boosting sales, customer interaction, and employee success. What’s right for you and your business is subjective but hopefully, there’s something here for you.

Loyalty programs

If you don’t have a loyalty program already in place, this is a great way to gamify your business. Loyalty programs are easy to set up, and as we mentioned earlier, they don’t always require digital applications. People inherently want to belong, it’s just in our nature, so develop a space that rewards them for their loyalty and create a sense of community and exclusivity. Customers are less likely to leave or move on to a competitor if they’re immersed in an ecosystem.

Customer surveys

Getting customers to provide feedback can be challenging. By offering a reward for participating in a survey, you can improve your results and gain valuable insight into your customers’ needs. When was the last time you filled out a survey without the promise of a reward of some kind? If it was recently, pat yourself on the back, unfortunately, you’re in the minority.

Employee learning

It’s important to invest in your staff but it can be challenging to motivate them. A better team means happier customers and potentially an increase in revenue. Encourage employees to gain new skills by incorporating gaming techniques into online and onsite learning programs. Rewards, points, or free swag are all ways to encourage learning.

Web and app tools

Gamification can be added to everything from your landing page to your business app. Gain leads by offering points or rewards to visitors who input their email address. “Register now and receive 100 extra points towards your first…” If you can offer customers a benefit for showing interest, they’re much more likely to do so.

By now you must be realizing just how often you see these kinds of techniques out in the wild. So what do you think? Is gamification right for you and your business?

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