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I believe one of the key roles of an adviser is to change clients behaviour for the better.

Most people do not make the best financial decisions. Whether it be failing to save enough, chasing returns, keeping Foxtel but cancelling insurance or simply listening to our hearts more than our heads, all but the best of us are guilty of making less-than-wise choices.

The problem for an adviser is often how to change that behaviour. Like giving up bad habits, behavioural change can be hard to achieve. Even harder when you’re a third party trying to encourage that change in others.

That’s where gamification provides an outstanding opportunity for advice businesses.

Gamification techniques leverage people’s natural desires for competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism and closure. It’s about rewarding “players” who accomplish desired tasks. Types of rewards can include points, discounts, achievement badges, levels, the filling of a progress bar or other monetary benefits.

It’s being increasingly used in all walks of life. Chances are you’ve had gamification applied to you, whether it be in encouraging you to complete your LinkedIn profile (“You’re 80% complete”), consistently fly the same airline (Frequent Flyer programs are some of the most profitable gamified businesses in the world) or simply to get fitter (the recent popularity of Fitbit devices is testament to that).

It’s been used in life insurance in South Africa, providing clients with discounts on their premiums by swiping their “Health SmartCard” when they visit the gym, eat at a healthy restaurant or a myriad of other activities that improve wellness. It’s something that AIA are now beginning to look into over here, with their Vitality Card.

However, for the most part it’s not something that has been fully leveraged in Australian financial services. This means opportunity for innovative, forward-thinking advice business.

So, how can you gamify your advice? Here are some initial things I’ve been discussing with some of my clients:

  • Offering engagement fee discounts for clients who help the business get advice implemented more quickly. The benefit to the client is having things in place and under control more promptly; benefit to the business is less time following up.
  • Ross Levin’s the Wealth Management Index may be a few years old now, but the score-based framework provides an excellent means of motivating clients to take charge of their plan.
  • Comparing clients’ circumstances to others in their situation might be a bit “keeping up with the Jones’s”, but it’s often something people care about enough to act. Ubanks’s People Like U tool provides the information needed to uncover whether your clients are ahead of the game or playing catch-up.
  • Everyone loves prizes. Many business’s forays into better client engagement through gamification have been as simple as a footy tipping comp or a 10,000 steps challenge, or as complex as a competition for those who can save the greatest proportion of their income over the course of a year. There’s nothing like competition to help stoke the fires of achievement.

Because the outcomes of advice are dependent on ensuring others take that advice, gamification represents a significantly under-utilised opportunity in our industry. It’s something I intend to be working on increasingly over the next few years and I’d love to connect with others who feel the same way.

Already using or interested in applying gamification in your business? Drop me a line and connect at [email protected]. I’m offering a prize of one of the Seminal Gamification books for business for the best three suggestions on how to use gamification in an advice business.


This post was authored by Stewart Bell who was a coach with Elixir Consulting between 2010 and 2014.