Having Fun With the Customer and the Employee
Recently I’ve been writing about customer experience and how some companies are engaging their customers (and their employees) with games. This is known as “gamification,” which by Wikipedia’s definition is “the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts in order to engage users.” In other words, businesses are using games to get customers to interact with them and employees to have a better work experience. For example, Home Shopping Network has its online arcade (www.HSN.com) that attracts tens of thousands of users a day. Badgeville creates games that motivate and inspire employees to a higher level of performance. Companies are producing apps for smartphones that allow for fun or entertaining engagement. Businesses that get their customers to engage with them in a fun and competitive manner is a viable customer experience strategy.
Chris Ressa of DLC Management, a commercial real estate management company based in New York, has a unique way of engaging his customer through a game. He manages a fantasy football league for his customers. This is interesting on several levels. Here is my take:
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- People tend to enjoy the company of others, especially if there is a common interest. The people who participate in Chris’s fantasy football league have a bond and interest. They connect on a regular basis to see how their players and teams are doing. Chris is building a community.
- The game is a reason for Chris to stay in touch on a regular basis and keep his relationships strong, without having to talk about business. In other words, he focuses on the person, not the deal. When you focus on the person, the deal is sometimes easier to land.
- Frequent contact makes it easier to create loyalty, which in Chris’s business, means lease renewals. Loyalty in any business starts with the first interaction the customer has with a company. Too many times there is little or no contact between the first dealings in business and the second. Chris doesn’t check in a month or two prior to the customer’s lease expiring. His relationship is ongoing with frequent contact.
- Chris is having fun. Business isn’t always about having fun, but it sure doesn’t hurt!
So, what kind of game or other fun activity, either online or offline, can you engage in with your customers? There are fantasy sports leagues, trivia, online puzzles and more. This concept is about creating a better customer and employee experience based on fun interaction.