People prefer having fun to working, so making a tedious task more fun will encourage people to do it. That’s the idea behind gamification. You may be one of the millions of people who have already seen the video showing how piano stairs can encourage people to skip the escalator — that’s gamification in action (literally!).
By reframing mundane tasks with elements of games — puzzle-solving, point-scoring, teamwork or competition — it makes the tasks more appealing. One important game element is a reward for completing the task. The reward might have only symbolic value, like a badge or “mayor” title on Foursquare, or it might have actual value for the player, like a discount or freebie at a business participating in Foursquare.
A business can improve results through gamification in three areas:
- B2C: Consumer incentives are one of the best-known areas of gamification. “Games” can involve things like smart phone check-ins, participation in website quizzes, “liking” on Facebook to get an entry in a drawing, and so on. Rewards often include discounts, upgrades, or free products.
- B2B: You can also use gamification to improve website engagement, with the goal of nurturing leads and keeping them on track to becoming customers. Create a series of “missions” — read this white paper or watch that video, then answer a quiz — to improve product knowledge. Again, rewards can include discounts or upgrades for those who complete the “mission” on their way to becoming customers.
- Employee productivity: Goals can include compliance with procedures, such as entering data into the CRM; learning skills, such as completing training in a new software program; or achieving sales or other productivity quotas. By publicly tracking results on leaderboards, as well as by providing rewards and incentives, companies have improved in areas ranging from call time to upsell volume to customer satisfaction scores.
Gamification can be effective, but don’t overdo it — you don’t want your employees spending too much time away from other tasks to participate in these activities. Experts suggest running efforts for a few weeks at a time, with breaks in between.