Buying software is a funny business. Comparing different offerings can be confusing when it seems like you are comparing apples to oranges to steak. Worse is when you think you are buying oranges but paying steak prices.
It’s important to understand what the “total cost of ownership” of different solutions really are. Here are some important considerations when comparing engagement and gamification programs:
Setup or installation fees: Should be pretty straight forward but this can get tricky when you have different levels of installation. Want customized APIs developed so all of your systems talk to these engagement and gamification programs automatically? Do you have data coming from different places that you need to import? Do you want to give your team various views, or create new flows? Each of these could add to the installation fee making what looked pretty affordable to “that is way out of our budget!” Not knowing what all of your installation fees could be can result in big, unhappy surprises.
Monthly user fees: Should be pretty easy to understand, and probably where most engagement and gamification providers compete. Prices can range from yearly to monthly and from $2/month/user to $40+/month/user, or more! Know what you’re getting and what the ROI is. More expensive rarely means better, and cheaper doesn’t always mean you get the ROI you want.
Rewards budget: This is 100% pass through… or at least it should be (see the reward fees below). If you have budgeted for your team to get $1,000/month in rewards, that’s what this is. But…
Rewards fees: You have to know what the fees are for moving $1,000 through your system. Usually this is a percentage of the rewards budget. In the above example you might pay, let’s say, an additional 5% of the rewards budget as rewards fees, which means your monthly spend will be $1,050 instead of $1,000. Beware of surcharges passed to employees for their incentives… you’ll do a lot of damage if an employee gets $25 on a reloadable Visa card but it costs them $28 in points. Make sure you understand these fees well.
Customization or special work (hourly/project fees): Can you say “scope creep?” This is where the customer says “oh, we also want this really cool feature that you don’t have… can you build that for us?” At Snowfly, we love to do customization, especially when it enhances the product for all of our customers. Just remember, when you talk to various vendors, special work can add up. We’ve heard of custom projects that go into the six figure range. Many custom projects can easily cost five figures. You’ll want to understand what custom work you need (want), what benefits they the customization brings to your program, and how much that will add to your total cost of ownership.
Gotchas: The list above might not be comprehensive… you might find other costs to add so you can appropriately compare offerings. Make sure you look at some of the things that can really muddy the water, including minimum fees (for example, some vendors won’t do custom work that is too small), getting locked into long contracts, volume discounts that dramatically change if your user count goes down, API access or data throughput fees, etc. Look at your contract closely so when your circumstances change (Covid, anyone?), you aren’t on the hook in a way that isn’t sustainable.
We know this can be confusing. The last thing you want to do is think you are buying one thing and getting charged way too much. At Snowfly we work hard to have simple and transparent pricing. If your head is spinning, or you feel confused, let’s jump on a call. Even if you are comparing other systems, we’d be happy to walk you through the different models you are looking at so you can make the right decision based on your needs.