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'Gamification' Hits Customer Relationship Management - Let the Gains Begin?

October 31, 2012

If you are like me and aspire to be a trend-spotter but sometimes are more like a “fast follower,” you may not be as current about the “Gamification” of business processes as you should be. Good news, I am here so that you and I have something to talk about at the next cocktail party we attend. After all, along with “lookin’ good!” we should sound smart.  

In fact, for little background on the trend of applying game-design thinking to non-game applications I suggest you check out www.gamification.org. The reason is to assuage your possible skepticism. I thought gamification might be just another fad until I read that former Vice President Al Gore believes “Games are the new normal.”  And, if you are still doubters based on how you feel about Mr. Gore’s veracity, the site mentions that Gartner (News - Alert) is estimating that by 2015 more than 50 percent of organization that manage innovation processes will gamify them. Who knew?

Will your sales force be happy or grumpy?

What spurred my interest in the subject was an alert from a company called UruIT Dynamix (a spin-off of Uruit with office in the U.S., Chile and Uruguay) who has released a beta version of what it is calling CRM Gamified®.   This is being touted as, “A groundbreaking add-on for Microsoft (News - Alert)® Dynamics CRM 2011 Online and On-premises that will change the way you do business.”

The promotion of the capability gets better. As the website states:

Not only you will motivate your sales force like never before by rewarding them for fulfilling your predefined goals, but you are also going to be able to track every single step in real time…Now, if you've already invested in a Microsoft® Dynamics CRM project you do know that adoption is the key challenge you face. You've done everything right but your end users are not motivated and they just don't get involved. Our solution? Let them have fun with it!

In case you are interested, below is the dashboard user will be viewing.

I realize the embedded graphic is a bit of an eye-chart. However, note the lower right hand corner that exposes individual sales people’s progress and rankings. Let the games begin! 

The flash on the site for signing up for a demo calls this, “The easiest and funniest way to drive users adoption and get the best return on your Microsoft® Dynamics CRMinvestment.” Of course the users they are referring to are your sales folks and not your company’s actual customers.

I lived through the introduction of Saleforce.com at a large company in a previous life. In fact, I was part of the implementation team for my business unit. Hence, as a voice of experience I can attest to adoption by the sales people being the biggest challenge we faced. I can also vouch for how excited the C-levels were about getting all the analytics generated, and the additional spring in the steps of sales managers. 

That said, I can also assure you that the reason for the lack of enthusiasm by the sales people was based on the exposure of their sales activities to a wider internal audience. They were particularly perturbed by visibility into their contacts which they viewed as personal rather than company property. Call me a non-believer but I find it hard to believe that making the process a game would have been a game-changer with the sales team.

Do not get me wrong. I believe gamification can and will be an important tool for business process optimization going forward. I also think it’s possible most profound impact in CRM will be from the customers’ perspective and not from the agent vantage point. As customer interactions with contact centers become more multi-channel and more visual,  it should almost go without saying that the more engaging/fun the customer experience, let’s call that “the more gamified,” the better. 

That would be better as in:

  • Self-service options would be made more efficient and effective,  including relieving the strain on live agents to field unnecessary calls
  • Customer might be friendlier if their waiting times were more compelling
  • Speed to problem resolution could be increased through the simplification of many if not all aspects of customer interaction sessions

While there is a certain attraction on making sales activities more “fun” to drive agents to make full and proper use of such powerful tools as Microsoft® Dynamics CRM, and UrulIT Dynamix is properly focused on enabling its customers to derive more value from their CRM solutions, it seems to me the big future buzz around gamification in CRM is going to be when the gamification of the mass market customer experience side of the equation is more fully engaged.

That really will be something to talk about. In the meantime, I hope this gives you a leg up with your colleagues and friends. 




Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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