Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gamification Examination: The Week in Gamification, October 28- Nov 1, 2013

What the heck do I know?

Feel free to look me up here.

Two years ago I was introduced to the world of "gamification," which is using game mechanics to encourage user behavior. This is not a new technique (think Airline Miles), but with the infusion of Big Data into the picture, the ability to track and modify user experiences on a millisecond by millisecond basis became possible. 

With the experience I have had in making video games that must react to users' every whim and desire, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get into this new "field."

There are many ways to slice this onion, but one of the best ways to say it is that users that are experiencing gamified systems are more engaged and interested in what they are doing. In my opinion, it's because the people that are doing the gamification are being FORCED to listen to their users. Just like a good video game. 

But gamification is NOT a video game. As these blogs go forward, you'll see what I'm talking about. 

Let's discuss the highlights in this week's Gamification Examination!

Disclaimer: there are a lot of opinions thrown around in here. Consider yourself warned as well as invited to participate in a discussion through the comments below. 

Gamification – The only way to engage your audience

Reality is not enough for new consumers, gamification is needed to engage them. 

“This is a generation that will not accept the way the world is. If they are not impressed, they will leave you as a customer and go for a competitor,” Zichermann warned.

Mahindra Centuro Promotes Its Features Via Gamification On Social

While it is true that many of the behaviors that Mahindra Centuro want to see their users performing are included here, it is also just as likely that they will not receive the results they wish for. First of all, they are creating games that do not appear to people that they are primarily interested in. Secondly, they do not to appear to be creating situations that are realistic to the customers. 

They also  include an explanation of a Twitter contest. Really? I'm not convinced that this is any more than a press release, although this blogger does appear to write about different companies. 

The Role of Gamification in the Contact Center and Back Office

This seems like a real article. Let's see! 

"Why is gamification ideal for the contact center and back office? One word: millennials. They've grown up gaming. They know how to jump, punch, race, and run with a flip of their thumb on a control device, so gaming is in their DNA."

The group used as an example a company that focused on extrinsic rewards: "once the agent hits that 25th triple play, he or she wins a $50 gift card. This technique has helped this company boost triple play sales by 18 percent in the first three months of the program."

Another example: "This particular insurer's contact center gamified its add-on policy cross-sell program by awarding points for each add-on policy an agent sold, and offered prizes such as Blu-ray players and flat-screen TVs at certain point levels."

My take: while this IS gamification, it's just about the worst way to implement it. Not only does it cost the company cash, in my mind it causes sales people to do anything they can to "beat" their other co-workers instead of working on a common goal: the success of the business. Honestly it seems that they have forgotten one of the KEY aspects: the SOCIAL aspect, where they become rewarded for what they do and share those successes with the others in the company. 

I happen to agree with one of the commentors on the article: "The only thing new about [this type of] "gamification" is the name and that it's now being applied in the consumer marketplace. The often quoted Gartner study was not focused on Call Centers and has no validity when comparing gamification successes or failures within call centers. It also took the erroneous view that gamification was a new idea."

LevelEleven Executives and Customers to Present at the World's Largest Vendor-Led Technology Gathering

This is DEFINITELY a press release. Let's see what they have to say... 

They are presenting at Dreamforce 2013 and here's the pitch: "LevelEleven's lead product, Compete, is an easy-to-use app that creates competitions and leaderboards around any behavior that can be tracked in a CRM system."

Now, one thing that is VITAL in a successful gamification system is, again, the SOCIAL aspect. Where users can SEE others successes and SHARE how they are doing. This solution does not appear to have that as a key feature. And that is not a good thing.

Signing off for today (11/01/13)

To be completely honest, I didn't see too much this week that blew my mind. Even the above were pretty lame. 

That's it for now. I fully expect you to share your thoughts here. Tell me I'm off base. I'll listen and adapt. I'm not "right," because no one is on matters like these, because this is a growing field, and I don't have all the information you do. More than anything, a discussion will help us ALL learn more. 

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