Gamification has hit every industry over the past few years, and we've seen myriad ways you can use it. What has recently come to the forefront is using gamification to boost customer loyalty. And just in time. Customer loyalty programs have been flagging recently - and recent publications have argued it's because loyalty programs aren't building emotional connections with customers. That connection is critical, as buyers who are emotionally tapped into a brand are likely to buy more and recommend it to their network.
Gamification may be the solution to the emotional disconnect. So how can call centers use that to increase their customer loyalty?
Know Your Benchmarks First
We've talked before about the importance of knowing what business goals you'd like to reach before you begin. This will ensure your gamification strategy offers the right balance of fun and results. In addition, by identifying your benchmarks beforehand, you'll be able to tweak the parameters of the game faster if you realize you're not hitting your mark.
Entrance the User in a Story
Inc. writer Jessica Stillman reported on several pieces of research that revealed our brains love getting immersed in a good story. You can apply that lesson to your customer engagement strategy: Instead of creating disconnected levels that users might abandon, create a story for them to follow. If possible, incorporate multiple levels into your story to make it a quest.
Creating a story as part of your gamification strategy will increase customer engagement.
Random Acts of Gratitude
Take a lesson from Candy Crush: In a recent article analyzing our addiction, Harvard researchers identified the reason we can't put our phones down - we can't determine ahead of time when we'll get a feel-good burst from beating a level. The randomness is key. We keep playing, hunting for that endorphin rush again. As a result, we develop a strong relationship to the game. Give your customers the same feel-good burst with an extra reward. For instance, give customers double the points for reviewing a product - a behavior they already do - as a thank you. To customers, it will feel like appreciation and make them want to do it again. And who doesn't like feeling appreciated?
Make the Rewards Tangible
Ah, the classic customer loyalty problem: When users can't connect their coins, rewards or points to a tangible offering, they're less likely to actually redeem them. On top of that, customers will likely disengage if they need hundreds of thousands of points to get their rewards. It's hard for customers to mentally compute the time necessary to get those rewards in hand - and that may cause them to abandon too soon. To counter that problem, use the data your customers have provided to offer customized rewards.
Successful gamification campaigns bring with them much higher levels of customer loyalty. It also gives businesses the opportunity to gather more information about their customer base. The magic happens when a gamification strategy strikes the right balance between the two objectives. So, game on.
How will you make the most of gamification?