It does not matter what type of business you own, customer behavior holds the reigns. It also ties in with customer retention and acquisition, which makes understanding it and being able to change it even more important.
Let’s face it, timeouts for bad behavior don’t really work – especially in business – so why not try some positive reinforcement? The answer to that question should lead you straight to gamification.
Changing Behavior One Game at a Time
Building your customer base and keeping it loyal may be a serious topic, but for the sake of your business, lighten up a little bit! Gamification, which is the use of game tactics in non-game environments to solve problems, has been around for ages. Remember those frequent flyer miles you tried to collect? That’s one of the longest-standing gamification practices around.
21st-century methods usually involve technology. Gamification has been reinvented through apps and online social networks, making the concept even more valuable to a business, which can easily gather vital data as its strategies evolve. Research shows that the gaming technique is changing the way customers buy and use, so taking advantage of this trend could grow your bottom line substantially.
The Benefits of Toying with Your Customers
There are so many examples of gamification changing consumer behavior, but one of the most recent involves changing the way customers use energy. Without sneaking into a person’s home and turning their lights off for them, it seems nearly impossible to change the way people consume resources – but utility companies are doing just that with gamification.
In an effort to reduce energy use, National Grid has introduced a program that allows people to join energy-saving challenges, set usage goals, and even compete with their neighbors. Based on their results, they get points that can then be used for discounts at their favorite retailers. Since the program began, 800 million kilowatt-hours of electricity have been saved in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. After a reduction of that size, it’s easy to see why utility companies are spending millions on gamification tools.
Starbucks has also proven this concept with their loyalty program, which is centered on earning badges. The program has changed the way Starbucks customers buy. Instead of buying one cup of coffee per week, consumers are buying more often to earn stars, which they can use for free drinks and coupons.
Considering the powerful impact gamification has on customer behavior, it’s not surprising that research firm Gartner predicts that 70 percent of the world’s top 2000 companies will be using the method by the end of 2014. If your business isn’t already using gamification, start now on an action plan to incorporate it into your strategy. It could just mean the difference between a good 2015 and a great one.