A few years ago, Pokemon Go, a wickedly popular game among Millenials, asked its users to catch Pokemon where their device would vibrate to alert you when a wild Pokémon was nearby. The generation went bonkers trying to catch Pokemon -- people would walk around lakes, gardens, and even crowded spaces like malls and residential areas to spot them.
The question, however, is: how did Pokemon do this? The answer is simple, with the power of gamification. But more importantly, with some much-needed push, or as they're lovingly called ‘behavioral nudges’.
What is a behavioral nudge?
The term nudge or nudging is derived from the field of behavioral economics and describes a soft type of influence with the goal to elicit a certain behavior. The keyword here is ‘soft’.
Nudges have the potential to make behavioral alternatives appear more visible or bring forth positive interventions for decision optimization. If deployed appropriately, nudges can steer people to make better choices.
For a game’s user interface to operate through nudges, the nudges must motivate players to correct their behavior. However, the nudges must do this in a way that does not take away the feeling of playing the game. A nudging interface should guide players towards the desired behavior and motivate them to action that behavior while fitting seamlessly and believably into the fictional game world.
Behavioral nudges to drive employee behavior
Organizations are as complex and diverse as the people they employ. “I could calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of the people,” said Sir Issac Newton. Research suggests that a vast majority, nearly 90% of our decision-making is conducted unconsciously and automatically.
Compass is built on the ethos of helping the sales team sell better. And more importantly, meaningfully.
Compass uses the power of digital behavioral nudges to positively influence the behavior of thousands of sales managers. Timely, custom nudges are sent as push notifications, emails, SMS to accelerate performance. Leaders get the best results when they pick specific behaviors they want to change, determine which have high priority, test nudge campaigns in small segments of the organization, and then scale what works. Compass empowers them to do just that.
Successful nudges take into account employees’ tendencies to act and think automatically, reach people when they’re open to making a change, and connect to small steps that aren’t difficult to take and customized to appear when they’re needed, with a context and pace that works for the individual. The best part about nudges is that they are auto-triggered and are extremely personalized. Personalization makes a connection like no other.
Successful nudges consider accepted group norms, and they correspond to a series of concrete milestones, recognizing the satisfaction people get from checking off items on a to-do list.
We recently had an opportunity to put the idea of a behavioral “nudge” to the test, to find out how a simple nudge or suggestion could impact sales behavior. And what we found was extremely fascinating.
We worked with a leading insurance company to change the way they managed, communicated, and motivated the performance of its thousands of salespeople. A major part of this was visualizing, drafting and sales contest on the Compass app with no-code building blocks and variables into more engaging, gamified contests. With Compass, salespeople could check their performance quickly and easily, compare themselves to their peers, find out earning opportunities, participate in various applicable sales contests and redeem their earned incentives from a global catalog. The company could now auto-trigger nudges by defining behaviors to achieve a minimum of 75% of their milestone target and present them with more earning opportunities.
We devised a framework for notifications based on cumulative policy sales over two months. The nudges were highly personalized and based on a user’s performance. The triggers were sent to improve performance for improving overall sales, sales of a particular product and to motivate them to reach the next slab.
After developing the messages and targeting plan, we deployed the notifications to millions of users as push notifications, emails, and SMS.
Our first finding was very simple: digital behavioral nudges did make a difference. But along with that, we did learn an important thing, about influencing behavior and the perception of users about Compass, but more about the former than the latter.
Compass app users performed exceptionally well.
It reinforced the idea that digital engagement can be an indicator of overall engagement along with improving their average performances from 206K to 255K.
It is crucial for leaders to understand that nudges are subtle interventions that guide choices without restricting them and they should simply make the desired behavior easier or more compelling at the moment of decision and to effectively change behaviors, nudges have to be divided into discrete and clear steps.
Isn’t that what behavioral nudges are for?