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Gamification to Drive Customer Engagement in Banking

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Are Banks struggling to heighten their levels of engagement with customers?  In early 2000, Banks and regulators launched a massive drive to bring most of the Indian population under the formal banking system. However, 90% of the 100 million accounts opened under the plan are unused and close to half of India’s 1.2 billion-strong population still don’t have bank accounts

Getting a customer is done easier, however retaining customers and getting them to transact regularly is becoming a challenge for most banks. Banks have hence emphasized on user engagement. While Internet in banking has become central to user interface, the need is to move beyond just user interface. A key trend in banking that promises enhancing user engagement experience is to tap into the minds of consumers by being interactive.

Banks are just waking up to the possibilities inherent in the effective use of this technique. The thought process is like video game designers – first, to get people to play the game, and second (and perhaps more important), to keep them playing. Increasingly, tomorrow’s banks will rely more and more on gamification techniques to influence thinking and behavior patterns of consumers and other users alike.

In a conversation with CSat 360, Rajashekara V. Maiya, Associate VP & Lead Product Manager, Finacle, Infosys, shares the trends in gamification and how banks in India are gearing up to the new trend.

1.       What makes gamification as a trend appealing to Banks and Customers?

Globally banks are investing on increasing customer engagements, by providing superior customer experience, valuing their feedback, input, opinions etc. Banks have to move from Customer Centricity to Customer Specificity, where individual customers will be given attention based on their hobbies, interests and choices. This is very important to increase wallet share and also to engage customers for a longer term. Gamification is also another powerful avenue to encourage customer engagement.

Globally, gamification is attracting consumers from all age groups that have access to smart phones, or devices as there exist multiple app-stores where such games can be freely downloaded and used. However, in regions such as Asia and Africa, adoption rates among the youth are higher compared to other age groups. This can be attributed to the very reason that the demographic profile itself is younger in these two regions.

2.       What is the advantage for Banks to adopt Gamification?

Although, exact ROI through adoption of gamification is yet to be formally calculated and articulated by banks, however, similar to mobile banking, gamification is expected to become a hygiene offering by banks which cannot be simply measured by returns that it can generate. Gamification is already showing signs of becoming an attractive tool to empower, educate and create awareness among the youth about financial products and investments.

3.       How are banks in India geared up to accepting Gamification?

Gamification is not just about games and gaming activities on the internet or the mobile – it encapsulates all the latest phenomena attracting the attention of consumers across age groups. With gaming applications increasingly being introduced and released on various social platforms, people find it convenient to download, use as well as review and rate games. These virtual games in many cases carry virtual currencies (such as QQ coins, Facebook coins) which can then be used for buying and exchanging goods and services. According to a joint study  conducted by Infosys and EFMA in September 2013, at least 9% of the banks surveyed are already adopting gamification techniques and another 35% plan on doing so.

Banks can incorporate such activities across their customer facing departments such as payments, remittances and funds transfer business, thereby creating avenues for revenue generation in the form of fees and charges. Apart from this, several banks globally are using gamification to attract and retain customers/prospects by providing lessons on financial products, savings, donation, charities and risks involved in investments and borrowing.

4.       Most of the gamification ideas are integrated with new age media- such as Internet and Mobile, can something be incorporated for branch banking, and ATMs too?

There are instances where banks have used gamification to project visuals on external walls at their branches and thereby attract visitors to play games related to their offerings. Through these initiatives they are able to gauge interest levels among customers or prospects for their products and services. Grow Financial from the USA is one such organization that has used gamification in their branch environment.

5.       How can engagements driven from Gamification be measured?

Engagements can be measured in terms of increased face time with bank portals, or channels, which increases right sell ratio. Also, increasing banks’ social media and networking presence, the number of relevant products sold, the number of customer advocacies and seamless customer experience – all these can also be taken into consideration as measures of engagement via gamification.

6.       Can gamification play a key role in Financial literacy and Financial inclusion in Indian context?

Yes, absolutely, as the initial phases of gamification are predominantly used for education, empowerment and awareness. There exist a number of examples in Malaysia and Singapore of such models for developing financial literacy

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