Six reasons to consider a customer support strategy for games companies
June 18, 2014
The following are some of the top reasons to consider a customer support strategy:
1. Improving player connection
Understanding each stage of the players’ lifecycle and recognizing the important role of customer support in retaining players is no longer an option. Studios need to develop emotional connections with players, particularly Millennials (often defined as the generation born 1980 to 2000), and match their players with like-minded customer service representatives. Consider hiring game players as your support agents and have them continually level up in the game to truly understand the players they serve.
2. Streamlining player support
A positive shift occurs across the organization when customer service departments move their focus towards dynamically routing and handling calls based on player history. The studio’s competitive stance is improved by the ability to deliver highly differentiated services that actually drive revenue. Operational efficiencies also increase because all key delivery components are better aligned with players’ goals. Players enjoy a more rewarding experience because their customer support interactions are tailored to their preferences, based on purchase history, interests, or value to the studio.
3. The metrics that matter
In most studio environments, existing technologies and processes limit management’s ability to view customer support and sales results based on what actually transpired during a call. Network analytics such as call length, hold time, and transfer rates are often the only metrics used to evaluate and plan future strategies.
For example, a customer service operation might track average customer contact handle times, versus examining ways to shorten handle times for low revenue-generating customer contacts. They also might neglect to evaluate appropriate opportunities to lengthen handle times with high-value customers in order to resolve problems or increase cross-selling opportunities.
4. Personalizing sales
Who better to translate the voice of the customer than the person they talk to most. Connections made with customer support reps are a great opportunity to personalize revenue generation programs that also positively impact the customer experience.
Revenue-building opportunities exist at every stage of the player experience and carefully targeted offerings can be seamlessly blended throughout the players’ lifecycle. Typically, these types of revenue generation programs can be converted into a transaction-based pricing model with a variable cost structure. Changing player demographics and expanded platforms allow for the monetization of new business models, creating a growing community willing to spend money in the virtual world.
5. Proactive vs. reactive approaches
When a studio adopts a basic customer support strategy, engagement most often only occurs when the players are unhappy. From a branding and loyalty perspective, the implications of this approach are highly detrimental. Studios cannot maximize the players’ lifetime value or influence brand loyalty when their personalized interactions occur only when a player calls regarding product delivery dates, billing statements, or product anomalies. With proper planning, studios can create more proactive and positive engagements.
6. Being social
As players flock to social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and others, game developers should consider leveraging these communication channels to improve their customer support and gain a competitive advantage. Social networks offer a tremendous opportunity to proactively respond to player complaints as well as collect feedback to tailor the game. Using social media for customer care can also create “brand promoters” within the player base. These are players that act as an extension of the customer service organization, offering advice and gaming assistance in return for non-financial rewards, like recognition and praise.
Through strategic planning and investment in analytical and support tools, studios can create an opportunity for highly personalized, engaging player service experiences that will “bond” consumers to the brand. By accurately measuring consumer satisfaction levels after each customer interaction, game providers can increase the likelihood of future purchases, gain brand loyalty, and ultimately identify brand promoters who can spread the good word. In an industry where reputation is everything, this is where customer support can be a real game-changer.
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