A Halloween Tip From Bunchball: Use Gamification To Ward Off Zombies
Tina Hou, Director, Product Marketing
Zombies make great TV characters, movie villains and Halloween costumes. But, let’s be honest, there’s no place for them in your business strategy.
Too many companies have practices or tactics that lurk around like zombies. Similar to the “undead”, these business practices may have once been vibrant and useful, but now they’re lifeless, ineffective at best ... and extremely difficult to eliminate. You know what I’m talking about: the old-school communication approaches, the fear-based directives (“Do this or else!”), etc., etc.
Well, since October is the month when all the ghosts and ghouls come out, now is the perfect time for me to offer you this Halloween-inspired tip: You can use gamification to ward off zombies. Really. I’m not kidding. And to illustrate my point, I’ve compiled a brief overview of what I consider the five most dangerous business zombies and how gamification can put them to rest, once and for all.
Sales Department Zombie: Using contests and SPIFFs to motivate sales
Short-term, winner-takes-all scenarios like contests and SPIFFs do little to move the needle on sales performance. At best, they only drive temporary changes in behavior; at worst, they lead to undesirable (albeit unintended) conduct like “sandbagging.” Gamification doesn’t depend on short-term contests and prizes. Instead, it motivates your sales teams using data and creates an ongoing engagement strategy based on what truly motivates them. One of our clients gamified Salesforce.com to help onboard a new sales team, encourage best practices and improve proficiency. Weekly users of Salesforce.com increased 65%, average days-to-close dropped 54%, and the rate at which opportunities converted to closed or won increased by 14%–all within one month.
Call Center Zombie: Accepting high turnover as a fact of life
Call centers are notorious for low morale and high turnover. However, more and more companies are finding they can use gamification to manage burnout and keep call center agents engaged. How does it work? A well-designed gamification platform combines actionable data analytics and the latest research about universal human motivators, leveraging them to influence actions by users. Gamification is ongoing strategy, one that continually guides, reinforces and increases high-value agent activity. Plus, because it uses big data analytics, personalization and transparency, gamification provides not only goals to accomplish, but also recognition, real-time feedback about progress and rewards that matter. As a result, agents become more engaged ... and turnover rates fall.
Customer Engagement Zombie: Sticking with an ineffective traditional loyalty program
Years ago, customer engagement was purely transactional. It was grounded in old-fashioned loyalty programs like cash-back credit cards, “buy 10 get one free” punch cards and frequent flier programs. More recently, 1-to-1 marketing through more targeted campaigns evolved the concept of loyalty somewhat, but even so, here’s the hard, cold truth: all traditional loyalty programs fizzle over time. They don’t drive true loyalty; they only drive loyalty to the next best deal.
Gamification can fuel something different, a new generation of loyalty, one that’s based on the acknowledgement that customers are much, much more than their transactions. Gamification enables you to track actions and responses to incentives, so you can better understand what’s really motivating your customers to purchase, watch and/or subscribe. Then, once you understand their motivations, you can begin to reward the behaviors that drive value for your customers and, in turn, drive business value for you.
Employee Engagement Zombie: Offering new hires one-and-done training
In order for your employees to be engaged, they need to learn about workplace practices and procedures and then, they need to keep that knowledge fresh. Remember: Training is point-in-time; but learning is continuous ... and learning is what drives growth. Do your people have the knowledge they need to be successful? Do they retain the information you provide and work to keep their knowledge up-to-date?
LMS systems can be effective for tracking, automating and driving process for training; however, conventional systems tend to fall flat when it comes to motivating and engaging employees on an ongoing basis. In fact, the number one complaint we hear from our customers is that the training resources they create (online, video, CBT) go under-utilized and fail to provide adequate ROI.
Adding gamification to your current system can improve self-driven learning and knowledge sharing. As a result, new hires can be onboarded quickly and cost-effectively, while veteran employees can keep their skills sharp, even as the business expands and the challenges they encounter change.
Social Collaboration Zombie: Failing to recognize the expertise that exists within your organization
Every workplace has a spectrum of employees. At one end are those who share their knowledge and expertise and are driven to help others accomplish tasks. They facilitate business activities, programs and processes. At the other end, are those who breathe up the first group’s air.
A gamified collaboration platform helps you measure performance and expertise, so you can quickly see who’s driving your business forward, who’s not and where there’s untapped capacity and under-leveraged expertise. Gamification allows you to attract, incentivize, measure and keep score. It provides a deeper understanding of the experience, skills and talents that exist within each employee--as you push all of them to ever higher levels of success.
So, please, take a look around the office. What tired, ineffective practices are holding back business performance where you work? If ever there was a time of year to go zombie-hunting, it’s now. And despite what you’ve seen in scary movies, you don’t need any special potions or advanced weaponry. All you need is gamification.