People Love Playing Games. Use These 4 Psychological Hacks to Keep Customers Coming Back for More. – Entrepreneur

People Love Playing Games. Use These 4 Psychological Hacks to Keep Customers Coming Back for More. – Entrepreneur

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Most of us love playing games. Whether it’s a sports game like baseball that we play in a stadium or a digital game on a computer, games have the potential to become a vital part of our lives. But games also have implications beyond the realm of pure entertainment: They can influence user behavior and help companies hit critical milestones. 

Gamification is the technique of using game design elements within non-game contexts. The term “gamification” became a buzzword in the last few years. Today, many startups and enterprise companies introduce gamification in their products to influence user behavior. Gamification helps achieve a crucial business goal — it leads users to make the decisions businesses want them to make.

Why do businesses introduce gamification?

User emotions play a tremendous role in how users think and feel about products. A positive emotional response from using a product is likely to lead to better user satisfaction. Gamification works because it engages users emotionally (it triggers user emotions and feelings). Well-designed gamification triggers dopamine; it makes people feel happy and excited when they interact with a product. These feelings make users continue using products and positively impact user retention rates. Users return to the product to receive a new portion of positive emotions. 

Related: How Gamification Is Engaging Customers and Employees Alike

The psychology of gamification

Psychology is present in any activity that influences user behavior, and gamification is not an exception. When gamification is introduced naturally in a product, it doesn’t force users to make a decision: It guides them towards it. Users don’t think they need to complete routine tasks, but instead think they play a game where tasks are a natural part of the product experience.  

Here are four psychological drivers that can help you create good gamification. 

1. Rewards

Nir Eyal, investor and behavioral economist, developed a methodology called Hook Model. The model describes the creation of habitual behaviors via a four-phase looping cycle that consists of a trigger, an action, a reward and ongoing investment. At its core, the Hook Model is about creating a user habit. However, it’s possible to create such a habit only when the user receives a valuable reward. So It’s important to understand what drives customer behavior and what is important to them. 

One simple example of a habitual behavior cycle can be seen in many coffee chains. Customers receive a new stamp every time they buy a coffee in a particular chain. Customers know that they will receive a free coffee when they collect a certain number of stamps, so they become loyal to this chain. 

In digital products, it’s possible to use similar mechanisms — add loyalty points in products that users can exchange for discounts or introduce a different level of membership for different numbers of tasks completed (for example, bronze, silver and gold) that will give users relative rewards (i.e. 5%, 10%, 15% discount). 

Related: 3 Secret Reasons Why Your Brand Needs a Rewards Program

2. Sense of accomplishment 

Sense of accomplishment is one of the most powerful psychological driving factors of human behavior. …….