Games are not just child’s play

by Rob Lovegrove, Head of Digital

Published on
October 10, 2019

This year, Rowland has been working with a government department to develop a mobile game as part of a broader, more traditional education campaign aiming to drive behavioural change.

Geared around changing the habits primarily of youths and young adults in rural Queensland, the Ride Ready game tackles the relatively niche, yet deadly, topic of quad bike safety and offers a lesson not just in game development but also in the theory of gamification.

If we park the delivery method (in this case a mobile app game) and concentrate on the concept of gamification, we can see how it is an integral part of today’s broader customer experience (CX) journey — that is, how our primary audience is influenced in their daily lives.

When we recognise that gamification encompasses some highly specific psychological behaviours that drive enjoyment, motivation and fulfilment, we can start to spot how we may subliminally or purposefully introduce gamification into our daily working lives and business strategies.

Here are some basic correlations between game environments and how they apply to customer experience in a more corporate setting:

Choices

In most video game environments, many offer different scenarios based on your nominated skill (knowledge) level or risk-propensity. Whatever you choose, there is a derived experience on how the user behaves in the game, and a tailored reward for that behaviour.

Compare this to financial planning or self-managed super funds where a person’s risk profile will ultimately change their journey and final financial outcome.

Reward structure

Doing ‘the right thing’ in the eyes of a brand — usually the repeat use of the brand’s products — invariably rewards the user in some manner.

Loyalty systems are just the tip of the iceberg, but gamification has introduced random rewards for visitors, referral bonuses (think of ridesharing apps giving discounts), people who visit more often than others, and of course rewards points for spending.

Feedback

Feedback in this sense is more about interaction feedback — providing a sense of surety to users — clicking on something and getting information quickly and how that is intuitively included in the design experience.

Thinking about your website for example, a user submitting a form or making a payment online could manifest as a fun animation when they click the ‘submit’ button, or an on-screen confirmation appearing to let the user know the action has been completed.

Thinking about how to give the customer clear confirmation of their action is an integral part of gamification.

Badges

‘Top fan’ badges on Facebook pages and groups were introduced in 2019 and are a clear demonstration of recognising prominent users. Giving prestige or acknowledgement of a user and rewarding desired behaviour gives a huge boost to engagement and retention.

Airline frequent flyer points and status credits are a classic example of this recognition format, with more frequent flyers (platinum/emerald) expecting greater rewards for their loyalty or spend above bronze or silver.

Actual feedback

Although this is not necessarily a gamification feature, adding rewards to actual feedback is a nice way to encourage users to start delivering both quantitative (star reviews) or qualitative (unstructured text) feedback. This feedback can help improve your system/service/product, and is analytical ‘gold’ when designing customer models.

When you start to consider your own business, clients and industry, you will recognise gamification at play and appreciate how it can reward and recognise loyalty.