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Everyone knows how critical positive customer experiences are. The problem is too many companies focus solely on improving individual touchpoints, without looking at the entire customer journey.

When companies view touchpoints on an individual basis, it can be easy to think your customers’ experiences are positive. 

But those interactions play just one part of their journey. For example, a call to technical support may be ‘positive’ but your customer was probably unhappy he had to call in the first place. 

A positive interaction doesn't equal a positive experience as a whole. 

CX Requires a Strategic Shift

Crafting better customer experiences requires a strategic shift, one that’s based on an in-depth investigation of the current state of your customer’s journey. That means breaking down silos within your organization to get a clear look at what the customer experience is really like. 

Once you have a clear idea of what areas need improvement, you can use gamification strategically to enhance your customer experience. You can gamify individual touchpoints or entire sections of the customer journey. 

This doesn't mean just adding points and badges and expecting miracles. Badly planned and executed gamification can significantly hurt your customer experience.

Done right, however, gamification can cut through the competition and bring loyal customers to your brand. 

Make Customer Touchpoints Fun

Almost any key customer touchpoint can make use of gamification, from product exploration on your website to troubleshooting with a technical support agent. However, to be effective, the gamification has to serve a purpose. 

Great gamification makes interacting with your brand simple, convenient, helpful and enjoyable. It overcomes the pain problems that hurt your customer experience.

For example, product exploration on a financial institution's website is not a thrilling part of the customer journey. It can be overwhelming, and let’s face it, the features and options of bank accounts and packages make for dry reading. 

Many financial institutions combat this by offering product recommendation quizzes. This basic gamification element helps customers find appropriate products quickly and in a more enjoyable way than reading pages of fine print. It’s a convenient and helpful method to find the information and advice they are looking for. 

Simplify Information Delivery

There’s no quicker way to alienate your consumers than by making something more complicated than it needs to be. Well-designed gamification breaks complex concepts down and explains them in ways that are engaging and easy to understand. 

Gamification can also help clarify or direct a customer down a specific path. Games inherently have a beginning, middle and end. They are designed to provide the player with a specific goal and illustrate the necessary steps to get there. That kind of clarity of journey can simplify a process for customers, making the experience more convenient and enjoyable. 

For example, imagine a troubleshooting game that helped identify and solve a customer’s problem. The game would make it easy for customers to find the right information and would guide them through solving their problems. Sound better than scouring forums or manuals for answers!

Create a Sense of Community

Everyone likes to feel like they are part of something. At a basic level, gamification can add a social element to your customer experience by awarding shareable badges, prompting social sharing and highlighting individuals on leaderboards. 

It can also help build social communities. Social communities instill a feeling of belonging among your consumers while providing access to helpful information or offers. They create relationships with customers. Gamification within social communities encourages consumers to engage repetitively by making the experience fun — even addictive. 

Just look at Nike+ or FitBit. Both brands use social communities to maximize engagement with their consumers. Players can track and share their progress, invite others to compete against their high scores and see how they stack up against their friends. 

Everything within the communities Nike and FitBit created is there to improve the experience of the customer. The social aspects humanize the brand, while the gamification elements encourage customers to interact with the community repetitively. 

Part of a Holistic Customer Experience Strategy

Consumers have high expectations when it comes to their experience with your brand. But creating better customer experiences doesn’t mean just improving touchpoints. You have to consider the customer journey as a whole, and identify areas that can be simplified or made more enjoyable. 

Gamification can help, but it’s not a miracle fix. Points and badges won’t make complicated processes more enjoyable. Gamification should be used as part of an overall strategy to make your customer journey simple, convenient, helpful and enjoyable.

Improving your customer experience may not be simple. But the reality is, it’s imperative to competing in today’s market. Customers already expect amazing brand experiences. It’s up to you to deliver. 

Title image Derick Anies