Formulation Type Matters, developed by Bottom-Line Performance, Inc. (BLP) for Dow AgroSciences, was named a finalist in the 2013 Serious Game Showcase and Challenge in the Business Category, one of the seven award categories of the SGS&C, at I/ITSEC 2013.
Sales reps needed to understand the effect that formulation type has on product performance in order to make appropriate product recommendations, address product challenges, and answer customer questions.
BLP answer for Dow AgroSciences was through a Serious Game that mirrored the real-world context of their jobs: achieving sales goals. Formulation Type Matters mirrors their work environment, provides constant feedback in terms of sales gained or lost, and rising or falling customer satisfaction rates.
The challenges the game poses are real, and the game format made it fun: sales reps don’t need to memorize information, but they need to ask the right questions, recognize when to look up information, and appropriately tap into company expertise.
The story in the game is that a predecessor decimated sales in your newly-assigned territory. Your job is to regain customer satisfaction and sales by successfully resolving a variety of issues related to formulation type. When players enter their territory, they discover five customers, each with a different issue. Players had to find/locate the appropriate information to resolve each of the issues.
Behaviors the game aims at cultivating in players include asking relevant questions to clarify the problem and to understand customer’s needs and past behavior; seeking out relevant expertise within the player’s real organization; reviewing past issues in an effort to understand what might have occurred in the past that is driving current customer behavior; responding appropriately to the customer the first time.
Game’s feedback and scoring mechanisms include territory sales, which can go up or down based on player’s decisions in the game; customer satisfaction, which can rise or fall based on player’s actions; rewarding people with potential sales for accessing resources; a significant negative impact for selecting an incorrect response to the customer issue. This scoring choice helps reinforce the real-world need to give accurate information to customers or risk loss of customer satisfaction and loss of future sales.