October 8, 2013

How to Encourage Customer Loyalty with Gamification

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Tags: Gamification

Adding game mechanics can mean big gains for your sales numbers through enhanced customer loyalty. Unfortunately, if gamification is done incorrectly it might only waste your money, or worse, actually damage your customer base. However, don’t let the potential risks stop you from researching and attempting to harness the power of gamification. Here are several tips for increasing your customer loyalty through gamification.

Make sure the goal of your gamification strategy matches the objectives and purpose of your product(s). The best long-term results come when your gamified platform directly encourages customers to purchase your product. Although games are useful for establishing brand recognition, a game that doesn’t relate directly to your products/services might not create long-term customers. A fantastic example of this can be seen through airline rewards programs. These programs allow customers to earn points and build status which eventually can lead to earning free tickets and qualifying for upgrades. The goals of the game directly match the intent of the airline because they compel customers to purchase tickets. Even better, these programs are so compelling that many frequent travelers have unwavering brand allegiance and sometimes make unnecessary flights just to maintain their airline status. Who hasn’t met a traveler (or been that traveler) who will forego logic and sacrifice convenience to utilize existing rewards or build more points with their favorite airline?

Utilize the power of recognition to facilitate continued participation. Recognition can be utilized in two ways. First, recognition can appeal to the desire for competition against others. People like to win, and recognizing high scores might compel users to continue participating. Secondly, keeping users updated on their status within the game will keep them engaged. Reminding participants that they are close to the next reward or level will encourage them to continue playing. An important component of gaming is mastery. Why do many people continue playing video games with no tangible reward? Often, it is because they want to reach the next level or enhance their skill. Adding the potential for mastery to a game will help keep customers involved on a long-term basis.

Appeal to the desire for community and social interaction. Adding a social component will appeal to the competitive nature of many gamers. Being able to win or acquire heightened status is extremely appealing for many customers. (Think back to the airlines again, there is a powerful allure to being a “platinum member” or having “first-class” status). Additionally, people like to share games with their friends and family. Make sure that you appeal to the potential virality of a game by adding means for participants to share it with others.

Adding the component of time can be extremely powerful, but should done with limited and intentional use. Giving a time limit to a deal or product can drive immediate engagement because customers will feel a sense of urgency and a compulsion to participate. It’s important however, to use this sparingly because time factors can also create customers who lack continued loyalty. Perhaps they will only participate for the short time the deal is in place, or they may miss the deadline and abandon your product/service as a whole. The most powerful way to use time is to add it as a component to an existing gamification platform instead of building the entire platform around a ticking clock.

Gamification can be confusing and intimidating to implement. However, the results are powerful and undeniable. Simple, affordable gamification strategies can lead to continued customer loyalty and enhance revenue.

If you’re interested in gamification but don’t know where to start, try using our Gamification product selection tool. It will quickly narrow down your options and give you solutions that will directly meet your objectives.

Sources
1. http://info.objectfrontier.com/blog/bid/317819/8-Examples-of-Gamification-to-Encourage-Customer-Behavior
2. http://blog.aplicor.com/how-gamification-can-improve-customer-loyalty-programs/
3. https://www.helpscout.net/blog/gamification-loyalty/