Employing Gamification for Maximizing Business Results

This post is in continuation of my earlier write-up on gamification. Gamification in enterprises is a catching up pretty fast in two key areas – customer engagement (to drive stickiness, sales, and brand recall), and internal activities like sales operations and learning. Companies like Badgeville and DoubleDutch are already touting significant growth in adoption of their respective platforms by enterprises and that’s an encouraging sign of things to come.

So how do gamification platforms make a difference? If you start making a list of all the best outcomes for a company that’s selling a product, the list could be something like this:

  1. A customer recommends the product to other
  2. A customer buys the product
  3. A potential customer actively evaluates the product by visiting the company’s website or other company sponsored sources such as ads or even social networking sites
  4. A potential customer fills out a survey sent via email

This is not an exhaustive list, but clearly the company wants certain behavior from its potential customers and customers. Already, there are enough rewards that companies dole out for any or all of the above behaviors. While you will find elements of “gamification” in many consumer facing services, what is really missing a coordinated way to mimic the elements of game to drive consumer behavior.

Here is a quick recap of the key elements of a game – Well defined “missions or goals”, clearly defined and consistent rewards system with reward ladders, collaboration between customers, and real-time feedback on rewards accumulated that motivates the customer to do more.

Here is a hypothetical Case Study on how companies could employ gamification to not only promote sales, but also bring customers together and champion a worthy cause. Vonage badgers me with an offer to reward me if I refer a new customer at least once a month. But it’s a one offer that is not tied into other behaviors that might also impact Vonage favorably. For example, let’s say Vonage decides to offer a worthy mission, say “Vonage will donate its devices free of cost to your local school if you accumulate 10,000 credits by end of 2012”. This mission can be achieved by collectively forming a team of Vonage customers residing in a specific school district. Now, if Vonage provides a platform for customers to sign-up online through Facebook, and then reward the group as well as individuals in the group for various behaviors such as signing up for the mission, referrals, adding a fax line, we will have a sense of mission and an opportunity to do something together for a worthy cause. There will be an element of competition between groups with individual and group scores that tells everyone which group is close to fulfilling the mission.

The benefits of my unsolicited recommendation for Vonage are three fold, namely, increased sales, increased customer engagement, phenomenal positive impact on the brand due to the goodwill a scheme like this could generate.

Gamification can also have an impact on the internal operation of an enterprise. As a general rule, any behavior that is not suitably rewarded in an organization is ripe for gamification. It could be anything from updating CRM by the sales team (one of the toughest behaviors to enforce), to switching off the lights when not using the conference rooms. The day is not far off when we will have cubicle wars between colleagues trying to be the first person to complete the weekly report or becoming the greenest employee of the month by actively reducing carbon footprint.

Enterprise learning is also ripe for gamification. Sify had pioneered the model in a leadership development course it had created for a multi-national engineering company. As learners go through the courseware, they are awarded “diamonds” for correct responses to questions. At the end of the course, they get to see how they compared with others in the group. In another case, Sify had created a business simulation that allowed teams of employees to practice their ability to take business decisions when faced with real-world constraints in a “Sim City” like interface. The impact of such learning content is significantly better as there is lot more involvement and motivation in the learning process.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. The raise of GenY, the ubiquitousness of social media and smartphones, and the acceptance of games as a serious activity will propel gamification across the board in enterprises. As long we keep in mind the fundamental elements of a game, it is very easy to bring about better behavior management in an enterprise using the gamification model.

Srinivas Krishnaswamy

I love to read and share thoughts on technology, enterprise learning, mobile and any thing cool that impacts enterprises.

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Posted in Game based Learning, Simulations, Social Learning
One comment on “Employing Gamification for Maximizing Business Results
  1. […] – “Employing Gamification for Maximizing Business Results” This entry was posted in Client Coverage. Bookmark the permalink. ← 1to1 […]

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