[Quick note: If you read my old blog post about gamification, you may hope to earn more Peter Wannemacher Points. Well congrats! You just earned 150 more Peter Wannemacher Points! Plus, you can collect a digital badge if you read to the end of this post and send me an email!]

Forrester has outlined how and why digital teams at banks should employ gamification – defined as the insertion of game dynamics and mechanics into non-game activities to drive a desired behavior – to engage customers and employees. Banks like BBVA have used gamification in online banking. But what role can tech solutions vendors play in helping banks better employ gamification techniques?

Fiserv’s current version of CheckFree RXP uses gamification to increase digital bill pay adoption among its bank clients – our research shows online bill pay is a critical secure site feature on banks' websites. So I spoke with Justin Jackson, senior product manager at Fiserv, about the company’s use of gamification. Right away, he made it clear that gamification is not just “building an online game for people to play” but the process of “taking cues from game design to better engage users.”

THE PROBLEM: It all started with a big research effort to better understand what bill pay looks like through the eyes of end users, billers, and banks. As Jackson put it, “We looked at everything we could… we looked at the entire bill pay ecosystem.” What his team found was as clear as it was problematic: “Consumers don’t get bill pay.” Fiserv found a lack of awareness and knowledge about the available digital bill pay offerings – such as eBills and payment options.

THE IDEA: It occurred to the Fiserv design team that helping end users understand “what they could do” was a key objective. It found inspiration in one of the most basic, yet popular, mobile games of all time: Angry Birds. According to Jackson, “When you start playing Angry Birds – at “level one” – you’re given one type of bird and one simple goal… We thought, ‘We can take these techniques and use them to make our [online bill pay] product better.’”

And Fiserv’s use of gamification didn’t stop at this “phased complexity increases” technique. Jackson and his team added other game mechanics including a clear and prominent progress meter (see example below), tutorial elements for new users (e.g., help-bubble popups when a user accesses an often-misunderstood field, explanations of terms, etc.), and a starter screen that explains what an online bill payer will need to accomplish his or her goals.

RESULTS AND NEXT STEPS: In the short time since the new version of CheckFree RXP launched, Fiserv has seen a 4% to 5% drop in online bill pay abandonment among end users.

In terms of next steps, Jackson and his team see opportunities for using gamification in other ways, such as mobile engagement. In fact, the team is looking throughout the CheckFree RXP product, considering ways to incorporate gamification into other aspects of the design.

Has your organization used gamification? Did it work well? Did you come across issues? Let us know in the comments section below.

[so you've reached the end of the blog post and now have enough Peter Wannemacher Points to earn a Level Two badge! Email me at pwannemacher@forrester.com and I'll reply with your badge]