How do you satisfy your customers? Many companies still focus on the wrong thing. They try to create the best product possible, but neglect the fact that it is the customer experience that supercharges customer satisfaction.
Building stunning customer experiences – that’s how businesses win the hearts and money of their customers. The most effective way to deeply satisfy customers is using the behavioural science behind Gamification. That way, business holders have a strong method at hand to make their customers happy and loyal for a long time.
In this post, I want to outline a few examples on successful customer experiences, how they work from a behavioral science perspective and how you can use the very same principles to empower your own customer experiences, too.
But before diving deep into some examples on how successful companies improve their customer satisfaction, let’s first look at why this is so essential.
Why a stunning customer experience is key
To satisfy customers, businesses need to think about their customer experience – and then improve the hell out of it.
A study by Bain & Company found that a 5% increase in customer retention leads to an uptick in profits between 25% – 95%.
What’s more, big corporates that make at least 1 billion dollars annually can expect to earn an additional US$ 700 million by investing in customer experience. For Software-as-a-Service companies, this goes even up to US$ 1 billion.
Think about it. SaaS-companies can double their income by improving their customer experience, without touching their products at all.
If those numbers don’t convince you, just look at how consistently companies with a superior customer experience outperform their competitors. Businesses with a great customer experience beat those who are listed on the S&P index by roughly 80%!
In addition to that, customers of those companies with a great customer experience are 7 times more likely to purchase repeatedly and 8 times more likely to also try out other products the company has to offer.
In short: Satisfying customers with a great customer experience outperforms product and service specifications by a long shot. If you are not focusing on building a stellar customer experience, you should start now!
But how do you do it?
Gamification can help to satisfy your customers
Luckily, there is a strong method backed by countless scientific experiments that lets you tap directly into the emotions and motivations of your customers to improve their experience. In other words: When it comes to having satisfied customers, Gamification is key.
Because customer satisfaction is all about creating the perfect customer experience. Such experiences are based on emotion, motivation and the right behavioral design – which is exactly what the whole gamification trend is all about!
This doesn’t mean, of course, that you must turn your products and experiences into games. But you can very well benefit from all the Gamification research on behavioural science and human motivation that has been done in the past decade. The entertainment industry is using this knowledge to turn their products into highly engaging experiences that satisfy customers to the maximum.
Using the same psychological principles that the games industry pioneered is what we call Gamification: because games were the first kind of mass-produced products that highly relied on behavioural psychology to appeal to the human motivations.
It’s not about the product, but the experience
Satisfied customers build up a strong relationship to their brands and will purchase more often. But most of the time, this satisfaction doesn’t come from the product itself, but the experience around it.
Think about it.
When was the last time you felt deeply connected to a brand? Was is because of their product specifications, or because it made you feel good, cared for or powerful?
If you understand the Gamification and psychology behind customer satisfaction, you can turn every brand into one that is loved and cheered for.
Satisfied customer examples
Let’s look at a few cases where brands created highly satisfied customers – and how they did it.
Apple is a great example for customer satisfaction. It has been debated for a long time whether Apple’s products are superior to their competitors or not. But even recent scandals like overheating batteries can’t damage the love customers feel for Apple. People who use Apple’s products feel a deep connection to the brand and see themselves as part of a community. It’s not the product that made Apple so special, it’s the experience around it.
What about Starbucks? Same thing. Customers value the personal experience they get when entering a Starbucks store. It feels like coming home, whatever country you are travelling to. The cosy environment, the personal approach, even your name will be hand-written on the cup.
Or Amazon. Customers value the hassle-free procedures when returning items, the customer support that’s always available and very quick to answer and the community ratings that help them choose the right product.
Although these are very different customer satisfaction examples, they all share the same principle: Apple, Starbucks and Amazon are using Gamification to turn their customer experience into a deeply satisfying one.
Don’t see how they are doing it? Let me show you how!
Understanding the behavioural science behind Apple, Starbucks, Amazon & Co.
It’s always senseful to look at very successful customer satisfaction examples and then derive knowledge and insights from it. We don’t want to copy what Apple did, for instance, but understand the principles behind, so we can apply the same behavioural science to other products and brands as well.
In fact, that’s exactly what we have been doing for the past 10 years. We looked at highly successful products and why those are so good at motivating humans. The result is the most powerful framework on human motivation – the Octalysis Gamification Framework.
The Octalysis Framework holds the key to human motivation. More importantly, it can be used to analyse humans and processes alike in order to understand the behavioural psychology behind it.
Most brands, however, create very little motivation. As a result, they leave their customers dissatisfied.
Taking a closer look through the Octalysis lens
The Octalysis Framework consists of 8 Core Drives which are the core human motivations regardless of age, gender or culture.
Let me outline the primary Core Drives and Gamification techniques that make the customer experience of Apple, Starbucks and Amazon so satisfying.
The behavioural science behind Apple
Now, Apple is the most obvious one. Released on December 31th in 1983, Apple’s commercial called “1984” paints a dystopian picture that is only disrupted by the release of the all new Apple computer Macintosh. Following up on that commercial, Apple has built a strong nimbus around it, repeating the message that their products and the people who buy it are different, special and unique.
Buying Apple’s products feels like becoming part of a movement that works towards a brighter future where every person is treated equally, yet different, individualistic and overly creative.
This approach primarily appeals to two core human motivations: To be part of something that is greater than yourself and to acquire skills that empower you to do something better or more creative than you could previously.
Looking at this customer satisfaction example from a behavioral science and Gamification perspective, we call the motivations involved Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling and Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity.
By continuously focusing on those Core Drives, Apple has managed to become one of the most successful companies of the world. But what’s more important is the fact that their success does not only stem from their products, but from the superior experience they’ve built around it. Because of that, being an Apple consumer just feels satisfying.
The behavioural science behind Starbucks
Starbucks’ employees treat every customer like friends. It is this very direct and personal approach (along with some gimmicks like writing the consumers name on every cup of coffee they hand out), combined with the cosy furniture that makes Starbucks so iconic.
For customers, going to Starbucks is not only going to grab a coffee, it is an experience. And a particularly satisfying one as well. By creating a friendly and personal environment for their customers, Starbucks effectively leverages the longing for social encounters that lives in every human.
In Octalysis terms, we call this Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness. Again, it’s not the coffee itself that made Starbucks so successful. There are many other stores where you can buy great coffee too. It is the experience around it that makes going to Starbucks so satisfying.
The behavioural science behind Amazon
Amazon is a prime example (hah – got it?) of how having a superior customer experience leads to financial success. Amazon rarely sells any products themselves, but merely offers the platform that brands can use.
Their success relies heavily on the smart use of behavioural psychology and Gamification. But unlike Apple or Starbucks, Amazon is different. Instead of strongly focusing on one or two Core Drives, Amazon uses a combination of many to build a satisfying and equally engaging experience.
Take the community star ratings, for example. People like to follow the lead of others, that’s why we value the reviews of other customers on certain products so much. In Octalysis terms, this is Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness.
But there’s more. Amazon’s warehouse deals are products greatly reduced in price. However, these deals are only revealed a short time before they become available, leaving people curious the whole time. Additionally, there is only a limited amount per product available, so customers looking for bargains must be quick. This feature alone creates a strong motivation to purchase on Amazon. It uses a combination of the Core Drives 7: Unpredictability and Core Drive 6: Scarcity.
There are many more examples how Amazon uses behavioural science and Gamification to boost their customers motivation, but the examples listed should be enough to prove my point: Gamification is key in creating satisfying consumer experiences, which then lead to tremendous upticks in business metrics.
Wrapping up: Customer Satisfaction is built on experiences
If you browse the internet for how to improve consumer satisfaction, you will most likely read about the same standard tips all over again: Treat customers well, listen to what they say about you or even implement a customer satisfaction survey.
While this is obviously not wrong, these tips are still focusing on the very wrong topic. Satisfied customers are born out of extraordinary customer experiences. By using the methods of Gamification – or more precisely: behavioural science -, you can increase your chances of delivering positive experiences. That’s because Gamification is all about tapping into the emotions and motivations of your customers, creating value where it matters the most: The human side of things.
Interested in achieving similar results with gamification?
Using gamification and behavioral science, we can improve your KPIs and help your to create extraordinary customer experiences.
Just contact me for a free consultation on how to supercharge your business at