Using Gamification In Your Business

Leadership

Do you think you could harvest the power of positive sentiments that emerge out of playing a game to boost employee morale and customer loyalty? Could this element of fun and engagement encourage better business results?

The Gamification strategy involves amalgamation of game mechanics in non-game situations in order to boost productivity, engagement and loyalty by bringing in an element of fun. It influences employee motivation through introduction of game like elements such as points, levels, quests, rewards etc. into mundane and boring tasks.

Gamification has been mainly used for consumer marketing purposes on mobile devices and internet. The end result influences certain behaviors or increases exposure to a particular message. Gamification, however, can also be used to turn work into play, through making our own job more exciting and boosting performance in others.

Why do businesses use Gamification?

A job becomes more enjoyable when it resembles a game: incorporating elements of variety and competition along with specific goals and relevant feedback.

Businesses use Gamification:

  • To engage employees
  • To retain customers
  • To drive specific employee and customer behaviour
  • To create an identity or a reputation for the organization and individuals
  • To reward customer loyalty

This can be summed through the figure below.

gamification

Gamification tools

  • Points: Points can help employees track their projects; watching peers score more points motivates one to perform better. Points support in boosting morale and productivity.
  • Achievement badges: Sometimes, achievement badges are awarded once you accumulate a certain number of points. These badges are a great way to build the organization brand and spread awareness about an initiative.
  • Social goals: Using Gamification to meet an employee’s social goal can be the ultimate morale booster. Accenture uses the ‘Recognizing Performance’ dashboard where employees thank each other for the outstanding work done. The dashboard is used by the manager during the appraisal process.
  • Leader boards: Leader boards create a healthy competition amongst the team and criteria such as team contributions, feedbacks etc. motivate the employee/ team to scale up the level. They also make things easy to manage for the leader.

Types of Gamification strategies

  • Internal Gamification Strategy: This incorporates creating a Gamification strategy for the employees within your organization. Large business owners leverage this approach.
  • External Gamification Strategy: This is specifically created for your current and prospective customers and is used by small business owners. This may involve giving badges for using your products, accumulation of points on usage of your service, discounts on next purchase etc.

In order to be effective, both these strategies need to be approached separately.

Planning your Gamification strategy

You are a small business owner but you still have goals and objectives, correct?

The first step in creating a Gamification strategy for your business is to define your objectives. What is it that you want to achieve in the next one year? Now, it’s time to work backwards. Yes, you need to create a plan and work backwards. Here are some steps:

  • In order to drive the best business benefits, you should define the business goals that can be impacted using Gamification.
  • Focus should be on creating a Gamification strategy outlining how to influence user behaviour in order to achieve these goals.
  • You should make use of the existing processes such as the website, blogs, mobile apps etc.
  • A consistent feedback mechanism such as display of results, comparative data, how far you are from your goal etc. helps in driving the desired outcome. Make sure you focus on measurement. For example, you want to increase the number of visits on your site. You have a Gamification strategy that rewards every visitor who ‘likes’ your site. Make sure you measure the number of visitors ‘liking’ your page. Are you receiving your desired outcome? Do you want to revisit your strategy, may be you want more ‘comments’ than ‘likes’? Evaluate your results; it’s ok to make changes as we go along.
  • Sometimes, it is ok not to measure. If you feel that your campaign is generating the necessary heat, then you could just let it be fun. You sure do want an ROI from your campaign, but your focus today could just be reaching maximum number of potential customers. You should not get caught up in micro trends. Look at trends over a period of time. It’s ok to try again if it does not work this time!

Do you want to boost employee morale?

Gamification can even boost the morale of your sales force, even if there are just two members in the team. A game, focusing on results and creating competition between these two members is enough. Research proves that there are situations where people are motivated just by the challenge; the results that follow are merely an outcome of the motivation that you have created via your fun game.

gamificationDo you want to elevate your customer engagement? Are you planning to attend a trade fest where you can talk to potential customers? You could utilize this opportunity to create some awareness about your brand as well as increase the future sales of your small business. Anybody who visits your stall can be awarded points; anybody who buys something can be awarded a badge or a discount coupon. All your potential customers can be provided the link to your website where they can log in later to redeem their points for a service. One time redemption of points could lead them to another link which gives them an opportunity to visit your store and earn a potential discount. You could have your potential customers take the brand awareness quiz on your website – participation in this could lead to points, getting all answers correct could lead to a discount coupon or a complimentary service.

You do want brand advocates, right?

Word of mouth marketing holds profound importance in today’s scenario. Use Gamification techniques to tap into your circle of fans. Run a contest, how about a discount coupon for the person who accumulates an X number of points through purchase of your product and shares the link to your website with his Facebook network? Or some points for a customer who shares reviews of your services on his social network? You could have a badge for your guest blogger too!

All businesses, large or small, need Gamification today – it is known to be a major game changer. As a small business owner you do want to list down your objectives first and then implement the tactics involved. You sure want to jump into the Gamification well, deliver impressive results, but only after you have carefully thought through your strategy!

It will be tough initially, but you will surely get to see the results if you keep at it!

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