Game Mechanics in Service Design

Here’s an interesting bit of backstage trivia from Target retail stores. They’ve apparently designed the terminals at the register with some feedback regarding the speed of service. The letter G equals fast (green) and R equals slow (red). They stack up the most recent ten transactions to show progress and encourage quicker checkout times.

It feels a little Tayloristic to me. But one employee commented that the whole setup “makes work feel like a game.” Others are commenting in another thread regarding the system details. They’ve built a lot of sophistication into it.

One important point is that since this is visible from the front-stage they’ve essentially written the scoring system in code so prying customers don’t realize they’re being evaluated.

Update: This button on the other hand probably shouldn’t exist, and definitely shouldn’t be on-stage

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