One of the most addicting games of all time is Pokémon Go. Launched in 2016, the augmented reality mobile game is downloaded onto smartphones, and then players use GPS to find and capture virtual Pokémon creatures that are overlaid on real-world locations. Players then train the creatures to battle other Pokémon under the control of other players. Players collectively have now walked more than 4.3B miles — around the world several times, or past Pluto. Pokémon Go Fests are routinely held, with the latest one being this July in Seattle, attended by thousands.Games can be so addicting that many businesses are now launching gaming apps to attract and engage more customers or train employees on necessary skills or tasks — and more and more community financial institutions (CFIs) are also getting into the act. The idea revolves around the concept of “gamification” — leveraging game psychology to motivate behavior and reach for the next level of rewards.Indeed, whether it’s to engage customers or employees, companies that utilize gamification are seven times more profitable than those that do not, according to research by Zippia. One reason why: 90% of employees say gamification makes them more productive at work.Here are three ways that CFIs are employing gamification:
- Financial literacy. A CFI in New York offers its customers a gamified app developed by a fintech that features educational modules on budgeting, saving, fraud protection, and how to apply for credit or insurance. As customers complete each module, they receive a virtual pineapple. After accumulating a specific number of pineapples, they win a gift card. It’s certainly addicting, and not just for young folks: one customer who’s 70 has earned more than 400 pineapples. The aim is to encourage financial wellness, says the CFI’s executive in charge of the app. “With a topic like financial literacy, we can’t say, ‘Just play a game,’” the executive says. “It’s not just about getting pineapples and gift cards. There are some serious topics that need to be discussed. There is finding that balance between making it fun so they do it, but … the whole idea is for them to learn.”
- Cybersecurity training. Employees at an Illinois CFI use a fintech’s gamified cybersecurity training platform to incentivize them to identify and report more phishing scams. They’re rewarded when they increase their personal risk score through the game. As a result, the CFI’s phishing email click-through percentage rates fell from double digits to under 1%. “It’s a significant improvement over anything we’ve done before,” says the CEO.
- Enhancing customer niches. A CFI in Georgia offers higher interest rates on deposit products for customers who complete fitness goals on its gamified app. The app tracks how much they walk, swim, or cycle — also including alternative goals for those who use wheelchairs. “Our leaderboard is an incentive,” says the CFI’s app executive. “People from all walks of life want to win the gold this month.”
Whether it’s employees or customers your CFI is trying to engage, gamification is a proven tool. It’s not only effective to incentivize customers to gain financial literacy or to increase employee reporting on cybersecurity risks, but it can be used for non-financial activities as well. As long as the reward you offer through your app connects back to your services or company, it’s a pretty fool-proof way to help reach your institution’s goals!