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Updated: June 11, 2018
What is Gamification Software?
Gamification software is any tool or platform used for applying game mechanics to non-game contexts in order to boost engagement and successful end-results. Common use cases include customer loyalty, e-learning, employee engagement, and performance management.
Engagement. In many ways, it’s the mechanism that makes business tick.
It’s also easy to lose and difficult to inspire. With Gallup’s recent poll1 revealing the abysmal percentage of employees disengaged with their work, creating new methods for making work more engaging is of paramount concern. Disengaged employees are less productive and have lower morale because they think negatively about their jobs.
Similarly, holding consumers’ attention through the continuous noise of competing marketing messages represents another avenue where engagement is critical to success. Modern consumers are fickle. Unless something truly intrigues them, they move on without a second thought.
By harnessing the entertaining aspects of games, gamification technology offers organizations a solution to their engagement problems. In many of its initial applications, gamification has had impressive results, leading global organizations such as IBM, Deloitte, and NBC to use gamification in either their marketing campaigns or workplace. Although some of the initial hype about gamification has diminished, the market is still growing.
Often when companies and individuals look for software to engage their employees or customers, they end up at gamification. But as the market has grown, it has also crept into other specialized and overlapping categories:
- Performance Management: This HR software helps managers and teams better understand an employee’s job responsibilities, track job-related goals and metrics, and measure improvement. Gamified elements might be involved to track employee progress and increase engagement.
- Learning Management Systems: This software gives companies a platform to build, track, and improve employee and customer training modules through an online web portal. Gamified learning is often built into these systems to increase engagement and drive user outcomes.
- Employee Engagement: These platforms use gamified elements to promote productivity and revenue growth across a company. While often used to motivate sales teams to increase profits, employee engagement software can be used to reduce turnover, give meaningful feedback, increase training efficiency, and improve overall morale.
According to a recent study by Research and Markets, the global gamification market will grow to $11.1 billion by 2020.2 With such a huge market and a wide variety of solutions, it can be difficult for first-time buyers to make the right decision.
This guide will detail how you should measure the gamification success, the most popular methods of deployment, and use cases for each scenario that can provide a roadmap for your engagement strategy.
Compare the Best Gamification Software (By Category)
|Enterprise||Sales Performance||E-Learning||Customer Loyalty|
How to Measure Success
Nearly all gamification platforms feature some type of analytics and reporting feature. As a gamification buyer, it’s your job to make sure the metrics within the gamification platform correlate to an actual increase in a metric that’s important to your business.
Use Cases | Consumer-Facing
Keeping your customers loyal is marketing 101. In fact Northwestern University estimates that up to 70 percent of your company’s total sales volume could come from as little as 15 percent of your most loyal customers.3 Additionally, retaining your current customers can cost 5 to 10 times less than acquiring new customers.
By targeting specific behaviors and offering relevant reward systems, gamification provides an excellent method for rewarding your most loyal customers.
How O2 Fitness Used Gamification to Increase Customer Loyalty4
Spanning 12 locations across North Carolina, O2 Fitness wanted to increase its number of customer referrals and decrease its number of member cancelations. O2 Fitness partnered with Perkville, a gamification vendor that focuses on loyalty. At the beginning of 2013, O2 Fitness released O2 Rewards. By 2014, the North Carolina gym had realized a 2,054 percent return on investment.
From the beginning, O2 Fitness knew what they wanted their rewards program to accomplish: to encourage specific buying behavior of their members and increase their engagement with the gym’s services. O2 decided to deploy a points system that offered members a variety of rewards based on a tiered scale for the points they accrued.
Points could be earned by:
» Checking in at the gym and attending personal training sessions
» New members attending a complimentary training session or fitness assessment
» Posting on social media about O2 Fitness or referring a friend
Rewards ranged from gift cards for local businesses with a focus on healthy living, to a free, one-year membership.
O2 chose Perkville because they needed software that could integrate with the internal platform they used at every gym location, and automate point tracking and rewards. With its focus on creating connections between local businesses, tracking social media interaction, and automatically rewarding points to user’s profiles, Perkville fit the bill.
After its first year, O2 Rewards motivated participants to
» Reduce cancelations by 3.5 percent
» Participate in 33 percent more paid personal training and boot camp services
» Increase monthly referrals by 17 percent and gym check-ins by 13 percent
O2 Rewards increased retention ranges in 2014 from $400,000 to $800,000.
For marketers, grabbing the attention of consumers is more difficult now than ever before.Though increased engagement can be achieved through savvy social media usage, a tactic that Fourquare utilized to great success in its early days, creating engaging user experiences is often a more reliable strategy to ensure long-term engagement.
These strategies can range from engaging push ads that encourage consumer to interact with specific content, to content imbedded within an online application, like the now famous example of Dev Hub adding gamification to its web design platform and increasing user engagement by 70 percent.5
How Heineken Used Gamification to Engage Users in Real-Time6
Viewed by over 700 million people every year, the Champions League is the premier club soccer tournament in Europe, and Heineken is the tournament’s premier sponsor. But Heineken wanted to leverage the viewer’s attention further, and go beyond simply flashing a banner across the screen.
Partnering with advertising agency AKQA, Heineken created a multi-platform, real-time game where viewers guessed the outcome of specific moments in the match. Users were awarded points whenever they guessed the correct outcome, and fans could compare results in real time on social media, even to the point of forming leagues. Once a user earned a certain number of points, she would be awarded a badge, which could then be displayed on social media as a mark of achievement.
The resulting app was called Star Player.
Once Star Player was implemented, mentions of Heineken increased 78 percent over other Champions League sponsors on social media, with Facebook and Twitter responsible for 70 percent of all visits to Star Player download pages. 63 percent of all users returned at least once after their first Star Player experience.
Use Cases | Business-Facing
Sales Teams Sales people are naturally competitive, and those that aren’t don’t stay employed very long. So while increasing motivation isn’t necessarily the biggest need in this department, gamification is most often used to focus sales teams around specific behavior. Putting data into the CRM earlier in the sales process, or working on selling a specific type of product represent examples of behavior that you may want to target.
The Aberdeen Group Uses Gamification to Change Sales Behavior.7
The Aberdeen Group, a Boston-based IT market-research and consulting firm, wanted to change their sales patterns. Due to historical trends, the majority of their sales closed at the end of the month, which may have worked well for the firm, but didn’t work as well for their clients. To change the behavior of their sales reps, the Aberdeen Group turned to gamification vendor FantasySalesTeam.
FantasySalesTeam’s platform is based on dividing your sales departments into teams, which consist of individual sales reps filling specific positions on the team. Teams then compete and are ranked on an office-wide leaderboard based on their performance. In order to encourage the aforementioned behavior change, the Aberdeen Group weighted the sales made earlier in the month. FantasySalesTeam also rewarded sales reps for activities beyond selling, and represented these metrics in sports terms like runs and hits.
By rewarding sales rep behavior beyond just selling, FantasySalesTeam encouraged the sales department to keep their CRMs up to date. Additionally, sales reps competed on a position level, which kept the sales competition engaging for users who weren’t top sellers, but who still had a great deal to contribute. Collaboration also increased as team members kept an eye on each other’s positions and frequently sought help from higher performing team members in terms of sales strategy.
The winner of the competition was also the leader in early closes, which successfully reinforced the behavior the Aberdeen Group was targeting.
CALL CENTER/HELP DESK
In 2012’s edition of Gallup’s employee engagement poll, the research organization found that out of all the job functions they surveyed, service worker’s engagement was the only field on the decline.8 This is a substantial problem, as the level of customer service consumers receive has a huge impact on how they perceive the brand.
Consequently, automating your customer service isn’t a great option, but the increasing level of disengagement in service representatives needs to be addressed to keep their productivity from slipping further. To make matters harder, it’s difficult to keep skilled service agents. Call center turnover rates are notoriously high, with a 20 percent annual turnover perceived as the low end of the spectrum.9
To address this problem, many call center and help desk organizations are deploying gamification platforms to solve their employee’s engagement problem.
How Snowfly Increased Call Quality and Speed10
A 450-agent call center in the Dallas/Fort Worth area needed help incentivizing their call center reps. In addition to its large number of call reps, this center also handled a high volume of incoming calls for a national wireless phone provider.
The Dallas-based call center’s previous attempts to incentivize their employees had all failed. The call center had attempted several contests and incentive programs, but the inconsistency of these initiatives all lead to middling results. By partnering with gamification company Snowfly, this large call center could centralize all of its initiatives and increase their effectiveness with dedicated engagement software.
The call center wanted to improve call agent performance in two areas: average handle time and call quality scores. Snowflow created a custom employee engagement program complete with game elements that encouraged employee participation.
After three months of using Snowfly’s software, the percentage of call center reps meeting the performance criteria for Average Handle Time had increased from 45 to 50 percent, while Call Quality Score had increased from 38 to **51 percent**.
The training process for new employees isn’t just important for making sure your new hire integrates well with the rest of team; it can have an impact on that employee’s productivity, the amount of time that may need to be devoted to retraining, or even whether or not that employee will remain long-term.
Reducing turnover is particularly crucial as every salaried employee you lose could result in losses totaling as much as 150 percent of that employee’s annual pay.11
Onboarding nearly always requires recent hires to learn additional skills, or at the very least new organizational protocols which they’ll apply to their role. While gamification can be applied to many problems, it’s especially effective at encouraging learning.
eBay Uses Gamification for Faster, More Effective Training12
Consistently recognized as one of the best places to work in the US, ecommerce giant eBay maintains its excellent reputation with a comprehensive on-boarding and training process. This on-onboarding process includes a mix of technical knowledge integration, orientation, and soft skills training to inspire better collaboration. And while the program has always been successful, eBay recently wanted to make it more efficient by cutting training time while maintaining quality, and if possible, improving engagement.
eBay partnered with MindTickle, a gamification learning platform, to optimize their onboarding process. Since MindTickle’s platform is delivered in a Software as a Service format, eBay was able to build training models that new hires could access from the cloud before day one of orientation. This gives new hires greater insight into the eBay culture, and in-person training can be reserved for more complex topics.
MindTickle’s platform also integrates with social media platforms so new hires can interact with their fellow employees before they officially start. Of course, the system also features game elements like progress, recognition, and rewards that help improve trainees’ engagement with the content.
After implementing MindTickle, eBay successfully reduced the amount of in- person training to three days, a 40 percent reduction. Using the platform’s analytics, eBay was also able to track how new hires engaged with the training content as well as with their fellow peers, and use these metrics to predict new hire churn.
» 97 percent of trainees rated the solution better than any previous onboarding experience
» 86 percent of users completed the training encouraged employee participation.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Employee health can have a sizable impact on performance. Unhealthy employees take more sick days, which reduces their productivity and can cost your company money. Consequently, implementing a company wellness program can make your employees more productive as well as healthier, which is paramount considering the number of Americans who receive health insurance through their employer.
For employees who aren’t currently active, forming healthy habits can be a challenge. Gamification offers an excellent supplement to a traditional wellness program, and can increase participation and long-term engagement.
Pfizer Uses Gamification to Get Healthier13
Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical research companies, wanted to improve the health of its more than 100,000 employees.
Pzifer partnered with Keas, a gamification vendor that specializes in wellness programs and employee engagement. Keas’s platform usually involves grouping wellness participants into teams, which increases the likelihood of continued participation. Teams are ranked on a public leaderboard by the number of wellness goals their members have competed. Naturally, completed wellness tasks – which participants form themselves at the beginning of each work – are rewarded with points.
Pfizer implemented the Keas wellness program across all 35,000 of their US based employees.
» 92 percent said they would recommend Keas to a friend.
» 82 percent said Keas improved their health.
» 77 percent said Keas improved teamwork and collaboration.
In addition, Keas’s program helped Pfizer reduce the number of employees who were at risk with their health by 50 percent. The healthiest population increased by 70 percent. Finally, over 37 percent of participants posted to social media about the wellness program.
Choosing the Best Gamification Software for Your Needs
Now that you’ve seen gamification in action, it’s time to find the solution that will work best for your organization. At TechnologyAdvice, we’ve already done the research for you, so you don’t have to spend hours, or even days, searching the Internet for the information you need.
Connect with the vendor that’s right for your business by calling one of our in-house specialists or using the Product Selection Tool above to get custom product recommendations.
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