Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: gamification

Gaming & Your Credit Union

Originally published on CUInsight.com

“Savings aren’t a game!” In many ways, you’re right. Given the abysmal level of deposits for most Americans, comparing it to Mario Cart (N64 version, obviously the best) doesn’t seem proper. But what if you did treat it like a game?

It’s not a new concept. Known as “gamification”, the idea is that by making it more akin to a game rather than a chore, users are more likely to participate. Think of going for a run. Many people don’t enjoy putting feet to pavement and will make any excuse to avoid it. But what if you were part of an adventure and needed to outrun a hoard of zombies? Their rotted fingers are nearly scraping your back…pick up the pace!

Come to think of it, I’ve written about this before. Here. And here. That app, by the way, exists. It’s called Running with Zombies. I don’t use it, because everyone knows the best way to deal with them is a shotgun, shovel, and old records. Bonus points if you got that reference (no, I’m not a Walking Dead fan).

So instead, as the previous post discussed, of puzzling your members through a convoluted rewards program or other service, get them in the game! Just by reframing their credit union relationship as levels in a game, you’ve upped the excitement and understanding levels. They’re no longer a Double Platinum Diamond Preferred member, they’re a Castle Defender! Defenders serve the crown, so they pay no ATM fees and reap the highest interest rates available. Of course, the proces of getting there has to be evolved as well.

For this, I’d suggest a brain storm session with your team. And a copy of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Why this game? Because it’s the best puzzle adventure/level growth game ever made. Also, your staff will have fun. And the N64 will probably remain in your branch. Tell me that won’t encourage people to stick around.

How do you create a gamified credit union without it being tacky or feeling like an afterthought? That brings us to (cue deep announcer voice): Big Data! Yep, that essential concept emerges again. This time, it’s going to help empower your members with useful analysis of their own data. Combine the appeal of sports stats (as in, their own financial relationship’s metrics) with playing a video game (as in, progressing through towards goals). Interestingly, it has to be their own data, and not estimated metrics. A recent study found that some Fitbit users actually gained weight while using the activity trackers. It is believed that participants believed the averaged metrics so strongly that they didn’t just listen to their bodies. If you provide useful data, useful suggestions can follow, ending with beneficial results.

Look at that. Once again, we come around to the inescapable conclusion: When you frame your services around the specific needs of your members, engagement, excitement, and loyalty will increase.

Image credit: http://www.digitallydownloaded.net/2012/05/review-mario-kart-64-wii-virtual.html

Leave The Puzzles to Zelda

Originally published on CUInsight.com

When I was growing up, I enjoyed video games. It didn’t hurt that I am part of that generation who experienced the “golden years” of console gaming. My first system was an Atari, then a NES, Sega Genesis, and onward. But there was one game franchise which kept me on a certain company’s systems: The Legend of Zelda.

No game before (and few since) presented adventure, humor, and puzzle-solving thought in a single package. Plus, the storyline was always solid. If it said Legend of Zelda, you wanted to keep playing, and not just to the end, but to completion, where all side-adventures were done as well.

Puzzles for Link are good. Puzzles for your members are not.

Your credit union is not Hyrule, and the member benefits chart should not read as a set of clues to the Triforce. No joke: One of our clients has a member reward structure based on their level of involvement. That’s fine; offer more to your most profitable/engaged members. However, it is far too complicated, with 4 levels ranging from Bronze to Diamond. What changes can you expect from each level? There are 11 areas which vary, plus another 10 benefits which are available to all members. However, of these 10, 2 of them, despite being shown in a chart as available to all members, are actually an extra fee on certain account setups.

Confused yet?

I get why credit unions want to offer membership levels. A lot of the benefits you offer cost money, and why pay to provide them to members who have hardly any relationship with the institution? My concern is when you have so many variables, it’s hard for a member to keep track. Oh, did I mention that this credit union offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements for all new members, for the first 6 months?

Such a confusing structure lays the groundwork for member issues. “What do you mean I pay a fee? I never did before!” “Yes, but since you are now a member for more than 6 months, or your total balance fell below $5,000, or you’ve paid off your auto loan, you are now eligible for these new fees.”

Aim for simple. In all aspects of your institution. Your members and your staff will thank you.

“So that’s it? All that buildup with Link, Zelda, and references to the game series, and now you’re done?” Ah ha! You got me. This is part 1. Part 2 will discuss how you can use the best ideas from games to excite your members into furthering the relationship.

Image credit: http://images.cryhavok.org/d/3385-2/its-dangerous-to-go-alone-take-this.jpg

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