Technological advances and devices are shortening our attention spans. Customers are used to a broad range of choices and are less willing to stand in long lines or wait on hold for a contact center advisor to solve their problems. Given this universal customer impatience, how can you ensure that your customer’s on-hold experience is satisfying and productive?
Games enable the human mind to match its abilities with the challenges set for it and excel at them. What if we could use games to liven customer interactions and make waiting periods more palatable, even productive? At the same time, what if we could ensure that the contact center benefited from the interaction, and even saved costs?
Many common activities have already been gamified, with establishments rewarding customers for checking in (such as Foursquare and Facebook), and eating (Foodspotting), or even viewing entertainment (Netflix), and using transportation (Uber). Applying gamification to service contexts can help you engage with customers, gratify their needs, and deliver value to them.
DRIVING CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT VIA GAME MECHANICS
What are the right campaigns to entice your customers to participate in gamified service delivery? Here are four ideas to get your contact center started:
- Grant customers reward points while they’re on hold: Initiate a game such as a quiz on your brand’s products, or even an automated general quiz. Every correct answer could earn points that can accumulate and later be exchanged for a bigger reward. Customers could be given immediate rewards too (for instance, a mobile service could add on the awarded prepaid time or an increase in Internet download limit). Educate your customers about your products and special offers, while keeping them happy and coming back for more.
- Get customers to engage socially around you: Encourage customers to talk on social media about your service by offering incentives (miles, discounts, spa treatments, or event tickets). It is “word-of-mouth” publicity when they tweet, check-in on Foursquare, or comment on Facebook about a great experience. Positive comments supporting a brand provide credibility and offer counterpoints to any customer who may be angry about an occasional negative experience.
- Conduct online contests: Reward customers when they mention your company on blogs. Design photography contests or initiate a race for the “most-clicked tweet” related to your product (or most-liked picture or status message). People are naturally tempted to act when thrown a challenge, more so if there is a prize for it. This helps establish your brand in online channels (and offline media too) proliferating what happy customers are sharing.
- Reward customers for using your self-service options: This has the potential not only to help you resolve a customer’s problem quickly, but could also save customer service costs. Again, the compensation could include miles, discounts, offers on products and services, or tickets to performances, sporting events, and movies.
While these initiatives could help you engage better with customers, they must not be taken for granted. It is crucial that your game-based campaigns are interesting. They must motivate participation and provide incentives that truly entice. It is wise to get expert help in designing and delivering them.
MAKE GAMIFICATION AGILE: PARTNER AND OUTSOURCE
From the customer service department’s standpoint, lost opportunities and target audience disinterest impact their goals customer retention rates and up-sell/cross-sell revenues earned). Gamified campaigns and service queues provide solutions, but implementing new ones or sustaining them in an agile way is important to cater to fast changing popular tastes and interests, and capitalize on emerging gaming categories.
Getting an outsourced contact center and tech partner on board can help you be in constant touch with your customers. Customer care solution providers can offer insights into where and when the pulse beats the fastest. They maintain tools and applications that glean deeper information for you to design and improve gamified interactions. And best of all, you can hold them accountable to results. The following are three key result areas that you should consider while setting a solution provider’s goals:
- Engagement: With your customers engaging socially and through self service, gamification helps you resolve service issues much quicker and address multiple customer complaints at once. A key goal could be to increase positive online reviews, and similarly, decrease complaints.
- Loyalty: Increased adrenaline = increased loyalty! Monitor and reward customers who are using your gamified interface and coming back.
- Influence: Increase the knowledge of your brand/product among your target audiences. Encourage them to share their information with friends, and colleagues, making lead generation a key goal as well. The better your customers’ experience from the service interaction, the higher will be their tendency to praise and share that experience.
Gamification strategies inserted into a service queue and encouraging post-service interactions make customers feel good when they succeed in winning incentives such as rewards, points, and miles. Feelings of satisfaction are known to trigger the release of endorphins (happy hormones!) and create a pleasant association with your brand.
In today’s economy, businesses are constantly looking for ways to “smart scale”and grow. To this end, they must implement best practices to stimulate growth. A 2013 Gartner report suggests that by 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. With a “gamified” customer care strategy, you can inspire deeper, more engaged relationships and transform customer behavior for mutual benefit.
Gamifying Customer Care: Four Ways to Entertain Your Customers