Gamification takes the elements of a game and adds them to business tools. You can gamify almost anything, including your website, employee training program, and customer service center. Usually, the goal is to make ordinary activities more fun and interesting so your employees and customers are more likely to participate.
Game mechanics — basically, all of the actions and components that make up a game — are a big part of gamification. If you’ve ever played the Super Mario Bros. video game, you’re familiar with a common game mechanic: leveling up. Other examples include competing with other players, earning points, and getting immediate feedback.
To gamify a system in your business, you simply need to add game mechanics. Think about Weight Watchers: it makes calorie counting and weight loss more fun by assigning points to different foods and challenging users to hit specific point levels.
Gamification is everywhere. The Apple Watch uses it successfully on its Activity app; each fitness goal is represented by a colorful ring, which fills in gradually as you get closer to the goal. The My Starbucks Rewards customer loyalty program gives you stars for each dollar spent. When you collect enough stars, you’re rewarded with free food and drink.
You don’t need to be a huge corporation to add gamification to your business — small companies can also use this practice. Say you want to motivate your sales staff; instead of pep talks, you might create a leaderboard for the office to spark competition. Each time a salesperson makes a sale, he moves up on the board. When employees hit specific targets, you can reward them with perks such as cash bonuses, theater tickets, or gym memberships.
Gamification can also help you build stronger customer relationships. If you want to reach more customers, you might follow Airbnb’s example and offer referral bonuses to customers that convince their friends and family to sign up. If your goal is to make customers happier with your online ordering process, consider adding a visual progress bar that changes as the item moves through your packing facility. Game-style elements make it more fun for customers to interact with your business, so they may be more likely to come back — which boosts your bottom line.