If you ask someone to describe their favorite game, many people will easily list several – whether they are board games such as Monopoly, console games like Xbox’s Halo, or online games played on a computer or mobile phone, everyone can recall a game they love. Games offer us fun and interactive ways to socialize with friends and family or to spend a few minutes just decompressing after a busy day. But why do we get so much enjoyment out of gaming?
Games actually satisfy human nature’s inherent desires for achievement, recognition, competition, and self-expression. By satisfying these natural needs so effectively, games can even become addictive as we desire more and more of this fulfilling feeling. Unsurprisingly, this love of gaming has led to a huge industry, topping $65 billion dollars worldwide in video gaming alone according to Reuters. The business world is now taking note of this inherent love of gaming and finding ways to utilize it for accomplishing their business goals and objectives.
“Gamification” is the term used for this process of adding gaming elements to a non-traditional game setting in order to engage with customers or employees in a memorable and fun way. Incorporating the following game characteristics into a software system makes for a more interactive experience for the user:
- Earning points, bonuses, or virtual currency
- Advancing to different levels of play
- Achieving goals
- Engaging in competition through challenges, contests, and trivia
- Being recognized by leaderboards, badges, and titles
By offering a more interactive portal for their customers or employees, businesses are realizing the positive impacts of improved employee performance and increased customer loyalty.
Here at OFS, a client recently approached us asking for software that would help with their employee retention. They were experiencing a very high turnover rate with their customer service reps, as the nature of their job is tedious and repetitive. OFS worked with them to devise a new software application that would be easy to use and engaging for their employees in order to alleviate this monotony and incent the staff.
Building on the iPad version we built for them, OFS then conceived a ‘gamified’ version of this application, incorporating point systems, badges, leaderboards, avatars, and methods of self-expression to increase the fun factor and to encourage more active engagement in their job. The Management of this company realizes the true business value this application could bring to them, resulting in:
- Employees who are fielding customer calls faster and more accurately
- A real connection being established between employees and their work
- Improved employee retention
They are now seeking to include gamification as an effective way to get them to these goals. And they are not the only ones. According to Gartner estimates, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification by 2015 as the primary mechanism to transform their business operations.
With so much buzz around this hot new trend, it is important to explore it now and to evaluate how it could be applied to your business strategy. OFS is organizing an upcoming event through the New Jersey Technology Council:Gamification and the Enterprise: Perfect Together Thursday, March 14, 2013 4-6pm Woodbridge, NJ A panel of gamification gurus will discuss how gaming technology is being used to encourage customers and employees to engage in certain desired behaviors and to incent employees to problem solve in their work. We hope you will be able to join us for this important event!
Look out for future postings from OFS on how to apply gamification principles to your business strategy!