I was invited to speak at ‘DigitalShoreditch‘ about the gamification of customer service. I’ve followed the use of game elements within customer service for awhile now, and this event really forced me to delve deeper.

Generally, within a customer service arena, the use of game elements has predominantly taken place within communities, such as those powered by Lithium. And for the most part they focus on the use of rewards – people get ‘kudos points’ for helping to answer other people’s questions.

The idea I was trying to explore was whether game elements could be used to influence or change customer behaviour. One of the major preoccupations with customer service is call deflection: how can I get customers to self-serve rather than call. And I was trying to explore this thought towards the end of the presentation. I did no more than scratch the surface of this question, but it’s one that I will keep on thinking about.

What became quickly apparent to me is that gamification is a far more complex proposition, and one needs to be clear about the distinction between ‘gamification’ and ‘games’.

In my mind, there is no doubt that gamification can play a role within customer service. But it is important to understand the context in which game elements can be used to enhance the flow towards a resolution and the overall customer experience, rather than acting as an impediment to it.