By Sid Victor, VP& Head of Support Services at CSS Corp
Entertainment not only relieves stress but can also be a great source of happiness. While games have always been a great source of entertainment the mediums through which they are delivered and consumed have created a snowball effect over the years. As much as 64% of the general population in the U.S. alone consists of avid gamers, and the global gaming market is expected to touch a whopping $90 billion by 2020. Now, those are massive numbers.
Most gamers are passionate about the games they play. However, their loyalty should never be taken for granted by gaming companies. Their passion towards the game typically leads them to have a shorter “fuse” than most other types of consumers. The other dynamic, unique to this industry is that a very miniscule percentage of customers drive the vast majority of revenue, making churn significantly more painful. So, what needs to be done, not just to keep them happy, but also to maintain a perennial flow of revenue?
Here are some of the fundamentals that may appear to be borrowed from the software industry but can be applied to the gaming vertical as well.
Identifying the differentiators
As the gaming industry keeps growing, it’s also turning highly competitive. As there is little to choose between competitors on factors like graphics, soundtracks, and cost, the ability to provide personalized and in-game service to players is turning out to be an essential differentiator. The ideal way to keep the players loyal is to keep them delighted, which can be achieved through a mix of exceptional customer service and analytics-driven insights about players.
Many gaming companies now realize the real value of customer service and player analytics. Bringing this together can provide gaming companies with a substantial competitive advantage, offering substantial returns on the investment. While increasing competition makes it difficult for gaming firms to persuade new players to spend money on subscriptions, it is much easier to monetize in-game services. Additionally, player analytics can be used in tandem to identify the insights that could add value to player journeys and prompt them into making micro-purchases.
Adding value to the subscriber base
Here are six key reasons on the customer service front that can be useful for gaming providers looking to add value to their subscribers:
1. Advocates & Gamers as support agents
Hiring locally sourced seasoned gamers as support agents to boost engagement
Troubleshooting a mid-game issue can be annoying for players. So, when they approach customer service, they expect a quick fix to their issue. However, if they are forced to explain their problem to someone who doesn’t understand them, it can quickly add to their frustration. Having seasoned gamers and game advocates as support agents, allows players to communicate their issues in gaming lingo and receive empathetic experiences. It would reduce the customer’s effort and create an endearing relationship.
2. Multi-lingual support
Timely support in multiple languages that is active round the clock
Most games transcend geographical barriers and are played by people speaking different languages. While the instructions are usually available in multiple languages, it is also essential for gaming firms to offer timely support to gamers in their language. Also, it is vital to have a service team that is active 24/7, catering to customers from different time zones.
3. Support beyond traditional channels
Omnichannel support and in-game service options to enhance the gaming experience
While most PC gamers are technically skilled and like fixing their problems themselves by looking for support on the developer’s website or community forums, console game players usually prefer having quick and easy access to customer support without having to leave their games. This requires gaming firms to have omnichannel support that caters to the demands of their target audience across multiple touch-points. An omnichannel support strategy for gaming firms should go beyond traditional channels like email, chat, and call, to include in-game service options, active support on thriving gaming community forums, social media support, and mobile support to deliver exceptional player experiences.
4. AI-driven interactive player support
Automated interactive solutions such as virtual assistants to simplify interactions
While most customers prefer interacting with humans when they approach customer service, integrating virtual assistants across channels with support services has its benefits for gaming studios. Apart from helping provide prompt service to gamers, they can also bring down the operational cost while providing quick, round-the-clock access to support. A one-to-one real-time conversation that offers personalized attention to players can be quite useful in keeping the players engaged.
5. AI-driven player analytics
Relevant analytics to identify compelling insights about players
To keep their subscribers fascinated, gaming studios must keep pushing the fun factor in their games. This means, they constantly need to identify the gaps and improve the overall gaming experience, and AI-driven analytics is the ideal means to achieve it. Using player analytics, gaming studios can track the behavioral patterns of the players and use machine learning algorithms to spot emerging trends, which in turn can be utilized to improve game development and keep ahead of the competition.
6. Efficient Feedback Mechanism
Efficient feedback platform to tap player-reviews and opinions
To stand out from the crowd, gaming companies must continually look for something new, and most of the time it is their players who can offer those ideas. However, this requires a feedback platform that efficiently taps the reviews and opinions about the game from the players and delivers it to the design and development teams. The feedback can then be used to fuel new thoughts that would not only improve the gaming experience but also maximize a player’s lifetime-value.
In conclusion, for a gaming company, understanding the requirements of different types of players can be the key to success. However, providing continuous and comprehensive player support is not a core activity for many of them. This is where they can seek the partnership of a professional customer-experience management and services organization, specializing in both customer service, player analytics and cognitive automation for the gaming industry.
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