In her books, NiLaFar Merchant advocates for a future of organizations that leverage community and social engagement as the backbone of their business models. By doing so, organizations can increase their speed and flexibility, outrun their competition, and create value and innovation in new and original ways. Engagement, defined as a way of enabling collaborative human behavior, can be achieved through digital reputation systems, games, and incentive prizes. This leads to virtuous, positive feedback loops and faster growth due to an increase in innovative ideas and customer and community loyalty.
The “Hook model” described in Nir Eyal and Ryan Hoover’s book “Hooked” outlines a sequence of four steps to achieve user engagement: trigger, action, reward, and investment. This model is based on a system used by many social networking apps to engage their users. However, it has also attracted criticism for exploiting human psychological weaknesses, leading to compulsive addiction without regard for the resulting negative effects.
Gamification is an effective technique for engaging individuals by leveraging their competitive nature. Engaging gamers requires empowering them, not exploiting them, and ensuring that gamification initiatives motivate behavior through scenarios, rules, progression, teams, competitions, rewards, and feedback. Components such as quests, points, levels, badges, and collections can track progress. Engagement techniques have a significant impact on customer support, and companies such as Cisco have found that support communities can save them millions of dollars annually in case deflection.