Using Gamification to delight customers: A guide.

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From cards to coffee cups

Think about any industry in the world and you’ll be hard pressed not to find an example of where companies within that industry are using gamification to improve loyalty scores or make sure that customers come back to their product or store.

Whether it’s those six peelable strips on the side of your Mcdonald’s cup that promise a free Flat White or those digital badges your Fitbit app serves you for walking the length of Africa, there can be little doubt that incentivising the behaviour we want to see is an incredibly effective way of getting people to do what we want.

Since it’s rise to prominence in 2010 Gamification has been responsible for getting people to check-in at coffee shops time and time again, tune in to TV shows with amazing regularity, it’s even got people running or walking miles per day but can it do something that many still find impossible?

Can it engage the general public with their energy consumption?

One utility who is proving that it can is Northern Powergrid, who are finding that as well as helping to balance the grid, gamification is also highly beneficial to power networks and people’s homes.

In a recent trial, they incentivised households to reduce their energy consumption at times of high demand using a mobile game.

Giving more than 2,000 customers the chance to compete for cash prizes, all participants had to do to be in with a shot of winning was turn off any unnecessary appliances including lights, tumble dryers or TVs. The platform would then convert the amount of energy saved into points which were then added towards a total household score. The households with the most points were the winners with a winnable prize of up to £350 every month. That’s the same as getting 3.5 months worth of energy for free (according to Ofgem’s calculations of the average dual fuel variable tariff).

By using this game, Northern Powergrid saw some of their customers drop their energy consumption by as much a 4.9kWh which, when you have nearly 4 million business and domestic customers, is a very compelling reason to embrace this kind of innovation. Not only are you helping to manage demand on the grid, but you’re also helping to save your customers money.

I think that Northern Powergrid are spot-on to be looking at different ways to better balance the grid, especially as we move towards a more thorough adoption of renewable energies such as EVs, home battery storage and rooftop solar panels.

Speaking with Current News Andrew Webster, project manager at NPg said: “By making comprehensive findings widely available – including our trials, errors and triumphs – we hope to jump-start other gamification programmes for operator colleagues and play our part in benefiting energy customers across the whole country, not just our patch.”

In-app additions

Another example of Gamification that’s available in the market today is Octopus Energy’s “Wheel of Fortune” feature in their mobile app. Every time a user enters their meter reading they are given the chance to spin the wheel and win up to £50. Where most energy suppliers should already be offering their customers simple ways to enter their meter readings, this financial incentivisation that can be used either against your bills or taken into your bank account makes sure that you enter those meter readings month after month.

Gamification is there to increase engagement with a brand or activity and in an industry where switching is so prevalent, it’s incredibly important to keep customers happy, delighted and coming back for more. After all, happy customers go on to become ambassadors for your brand. Think about every time you have shared an uber code and been chuffed to bits that both you and your friend get a free ride.

Looking to Fintech

Banking, an industry to which the utilities sector has long looked up to, has had very similar examples used by their new kids on the block. Hipster bank Monzo have their golden ticket scheme and over the Christmas period were depositing £10 into the account of every newly signed up member. It’s not much of a leap to think of them doing some kind of leaderboard challenge where the person responsible for the highest number of sign-ups wins a prize.

Now if you’re someone in utilities reading this and thinking that you HAVE to have a wheel of fortune or you HAVE to have a video-game, that’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m saying is that you HAVE to engage your customers if you want to keep them and gamification is just ONE way in which you can do this. Fortunately for you though, there’s never been a better time. Mobile as a platform has never been more ready to surprise and enthral your customers given how powerful the technology is now.

Whether it’s the use of Augmented Reality, Voice assisted technology or Gamification, a high customer engagement rate gives energy suppliers the best chance of not only keeping their customers through price rises but earning the honest and valuable feedback that an engaged user base will give you on past innovation efforts as well as future.

Games aren’t just for kids anymore.

11 Mar