CXFormula Customer Experience Formula

The #1 Mistake Businesses Make When They Try To Gamify Their Customer Experience

Today I want to talk to you about the idea of gamification.

Gamification is the process of adding game like features to your customer experience in order to improve the quality of the customer experience and increase engagement and excitement from your customers.

Let’s look at a few real world examples:

  • Starbucks created a new Rewards Program designed to use gamification to change the way customers look at getting coffee. Instead of spending money the focus was changed to earning stars.
  • Code Academy and Udemy use gamification to make learning new skills like coding or website design fun to learn.
  • Even the army got into it with the controversial recruiting game America’s Army

 

If you’ve heard me speak, you know that I’m a huge fan of the idea of gamification, but there is one key mistake that businesses consistently make when it comes to gamifying their customer experience.

And I’ll explain using the story of Four Square.

Four Square is a social media app that awards badges for checking in to various places and uses a leaderboard system to show who the “mayor” or most frequent visitor is.

Initially Four Square was wildly popular, but by 2014 it had lost over 1/3rd of its initial interest according to this story by Venture Beat and is now hardly thought of other than when I make jokes about my friend’s boyfriend being the kind of guy to be proud of being the mayor of Pizza Hut.

The reason?

They gamified their experience in a way that was obvious, and didn’t have anything else to rely on besides the gamification to keep users engaged.

A lot of business owners will go to a conference or read an article and decide that they need to gamify their business only to then spend a lot of time, money and effort creating a game that no one wants to play.

A good rule for gamification is the rule I was taught in a storytelling workshop about bragging: your product or service must be good enough that people would want to use them even if they didn’t offer the gamification aspect.

There are 3 qualities you must have in order to properly gamify your customer experience they are:

  1. Competition. People want to be able to see who is winning or what the score is.
  2. Rewards. This is pure motivation, without the proper rewards people will not continue to play the game.
  3. Challenge. It gets more difficult as people progress. No one wants to play a game they think is too easy, so the difficulty must increase as well.


We’ll talk more about gamification in the future, because it’s SUPER important but for now I just want you to avoid the mistake of gamifying just for the sake of it!

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