Beginner’s Guide to Gamification Techniques for SaaS Customer Success
Learn how Gamification Techniques can boost customer engagement for SaaS companies and what are the benefits of SaaS gamification in Customer Success.
The importance of having a milestone for completing a task can rarely be over-emphasized. Until you have a goal in mind, the overall steps needed for completing a task seem to be meaningless. And when the process of reaching that goal turns into a game, the likelihood of completion of the task increases manifold. SaaS gamification is one such technique that has helped businesses up to a vast extent in this context.
In today’s world, grabbing people’s attention has become one of the biggest assets for the brands. Studies have shown that because of social media and abundance of digital information, the average human attention span has gone down below eight seconds. With so little time to spare, it has become a challenge for the brands to engage their customers.
Companies have been experimenting with many methods to engage customers effectively. Gamification has turned out to be quite effective towards that end. The gamification market has grown so big that it was predicted to reach $2.8bn by 2016. If it is such an important concept and you have not known much about it then its due time to have a look into it in detail.
Gamification is a technique of motivating customers towards completion of tasks by engaging them in a game. This helps companies to accomplish their goals for which they are dependent on customer’s actions.
Gamification in business turns a simple and boring task into a game and that increases the engagement level of the customers. People love games. Sometimes so much that they get excited to take up the long processes and tasks to complete in order to see themselves finally win it. And when they win it, it gives them a sense of fulfilment.
Businesses use gamification techniques quite widely to design their customer loyalty programs. This helps them in retaining the customers for long-term and driving meaningful results from them.
Once you are able to grab customer’s attention, you can leverage it to accomplish your business goals. These goals may include customer education, conversion, customer loyalty, customer engagement, product adoption, etc. So, let’s look at a few of those benefits below.
One of the short and simplest gamification examples that drives customer engagement is in LinkedIn that you may have noticed. When your profile is not completed, it shows you something like “your profile is 80% complete”. This message encourages a user to fill up the rest of the profile to make it 100%, especially if they are looking for new opportunities.
Similar techniques can be used in products wherein new features can be unlocked on certain criteria. As the user gets engaged in unlocking the features one after another, it increases their product adoption rate.
Sometimes you need to educate customers before they become ready to buy your product or service. This education would be about your industry and how you’re particularly placed in it.
One of the best examples of gamification in learning is that of DSP mutual fund’s investor education program. They have designed their program into three levels – beginners, intermediate and advanced. The whole education program is divided into a number of modules with predefined time slots. At the end of each module, there is a quiz based on which the customer gets some points and badges.
Through this technique they were able to turn the long and tedious tutorial into a simple and exciting gaming experience. And what they get in return is brand awareness, customer conversion and credibility that boosts customer loyalty.
Leaders and managers use different strategies and tools to design a gaming experience for their customers. They take into account the elements of behavioral economic theories, game mechanics principles and user experience to design an engaging game.
Mainly there are four concepts as discussed below that encompass every gamification platform.
The overall business goal that you want to achieve from your customer must be broken down into smaller actionable steps. And as the user completes each step, there should be a clarity of progress made by them so far. Apart from that, they should also know what are the next steps needed to achieve their next milestone. E.g. if there are a total 10 modules to complete, at the end of each module, the customer must be communicated about how many they have completed and are remaining.
At the completion of each stage, there should be a reward. These rewards may include accumulated points, feedback or virtual applause. When you bind the user’s progress with such rewards, only then would they know about their performance and get motivated to proceed. There should be a benchmark set for the users to achieve like the high-score achieved by other users. After every stage, a proper feedback should be provided about how they performed. Some SaaS gamification also include monetary-rewards provided it eventually results in their greater returns.
When gamers meet with other gamers, magic happens. There would be a sudden rise in interest when your customers start socializing with others who are also a part of this gaming. They can discuss what works best for them, how to crack code for the next stage and so on. The real-time sharing of experience with other users gives them a sense of community that engages them more deeply with the game. They come to know every nook and corner of the game by sharing their experiences with a larger group. Connecting the gaming experience with social media would facilitate this to a large extent.
The user experience and graphical interface of your gaming process play a vital role in engaging customers. It is an art to display the complex information into simple and appealing graphics that users love. It should be comprehensive yet easy to understand. Once the user gets a hang of what is where in the UI of your gaming portal, it becomes easier for them to adopt your product. A simple example of that is Facebook. Notice how they have designed their user interface – the post sharing block, likes symbol, emoticons, sharing options, etc.
SaaS Gamification is a purely behavioral technique that you can leverage towards your customer success goals. These goals may include onboarding, product adoption, customer loyalty or even brand advocacy.
Gaming brings in naturally the social aspect with itself. When customers start sharing their achievements with colleagues and others in their circle, it naturally enhances your brand awareness. Once that is achieved, you can not only fetch customer loyalty but also attract customer referrals for your business.
Originally Published December 10th, 2020, Updated December 10th, 2020
Shoeb lives and breathes Customer Success and SaaS. He has a passion to research on the latest innovations happening in SaaS and Customer Success. Shoeb hails from a Software Architecture background where he worked for many years with Indian Tech Giants like Wipro and ITC building software solutions for their MNC clients in the UK and Denmark.