How gaming companies can keep fans engaged, loyal and advocating with incredible fan experiences
In the gaming world, complaints are loud. Gamers voice criticism and frustrations on social media, amongst their virtual and in-person networks, and across popular online communities. When something goes wrong, the gaming community is quick to speak out and air their grievances.
A CNBC article sums it up perfectly: “Every industry has its critics, but few are quite as vocal as an enraged video gamer whose game has just inexplicably stopped working—especially when a new console or game is involved.1”
When an issue arises, gaming companies need to provide effortless, seamless support (in-game, preferably) to cause the least disruption to a gamer’s life. If the customer experience is poor, it could lead to widespread backlash. In this post, we’re going to explore how the post-launch customer experience is more critical than ever for gaming companies to get right in order to maintain engagement, drive future revenue and build long-term super fans.
Competition, Netflix: While The Gaming Era is in full swing, the CX is critical for long-time viability
There are now more than 2.5 billion gamers2 across the world powering an industry that’s expected to reach a $300bn-plus industry by 20253. Gaming is getting more competitive by the day with the biggest tech titans competing against creative, independent developers4. It’s truly the Gaming Era, where it’s part of mainstream culture and captivating gamers time for, on average, 7 hours and 7 minutes each week5.
Part of this surge in popularity came as the Coronavirus stay-at-home measures forced people to seek new entertainment and ways to virtually connect with people. This shift increase can be seen in subscribers for Microsoft’s Game Pass service surpassing 10 million and Twitch reporting 1.49 billion gaming hours watched in April — a 50% increase over March6. And these are just two examples.
“We are heartened to see many people using games to be entertained, to find inspiration, and to strengthen social connections through shared adventures.”
— Head of Xbox Phil Spencer
As long-term fans and newcomers alike become more immersed in and obsessed with content, gaming companies need to focus on the post-launch gamer experience. Keeping gamers engaged, committed and happy is critical to future revenue streams, whether it’s purchasing new releases, storylines, fighting to reach the next level or making other in-game purchases. Even more, gamers are known to be fiercely loyal and are the best promoters. Ensuring they get the help they need when they need it is emerging as a crucial differentiator in an ever-diluted market.
This is because gaming companies are also competing to be the source of entertainment and escape from streaming companies like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon and Apple. For years, these companies have heavily invested in the customer experience – creating truly frictionless ways to get support, troubleshoot, and discover. Gaming needs to follow suit.
“Your players, your community, are often your best tool in terms of advocating for the game,” says Emma Siu, a community engagement manager at Electronic Arts.
What makes gaming customer service so challenging
Providing stellar customer service in gaming, though, is more challenging than in other industries. This is due to a few key reasons:
- Games are usually released before all bugs are fixed and sometimes even before they are completed. When something goes wrong, it often takes time to figure out if it’s a hardware or software issue. Ongoing development also sometimes sees new fixes lead to other issues.
- Gamers require special treatment. They are immensely passionate and want empathy for their situation.
- Typically more technical, gamers need more nuanced and advanced support than other industries.
- There are many (expected and unexpected) surges in ticket volume with product releases, as new bugs are discovered, etc. This results in often long resolution times. The agony of wait times is amplified with the instant-gratification demands of gamers, especially when it comes to engaging with a new release.
- Gaming companies have a global customer base. Staffing human support agents to provide 24/7/365 coverage who support multiple languages is cost-prohibitive for just about any company. As demand for gaming increased in the wake of Covid-19, gaming companies found it difficult to resolve a surge in tickets with a ballooning customer base.
Traditionally, gamers have sought help on peer-to-peer networks, FAQs, comment boards like Reddit or Discord7. As mobile gaming continues to command the most time, though, seeking help on community forums is difficult and requires a person to close the game, find a forum and post their issue8. It completely disrupts the gaming experience.
The perfect gaming use cases for automation that takes the CX to the next level
With gaming customer service, the most critical aspect is to resolve issues quickly and conveniently and get people back to engaging with content. Even better, it’s anticipating issues and providing the right information, to the right person, at the right time. Whether a person has a black screen, can’t access saved games or is experiencing other glitches, the anticipation and urge to get back to playing mounts with every passing second.
To resolve issues effortlessly and quickly, the gaming companies that prioritize the CX are bringing AI into their organization. AI can respond immediately to common questions and proactively resolve issues before they even happen. Customer service automation allows companies to scale up in seconds, even if there is an unforeseen influx of tickets, and manage an infinite number of tickets at a single time.
More and more, companies are looking towards keeping people in the game, playing more, and not needing to exit to find support or self-help on third-party apps, communities or even web chat. The core way of providing that in-the-moment experience is through live chat support within the game itself. By leveraging in-game support, human agents and chatbots alike can understand key information like the person’s platform, operating system and other factors to more efficiently help them – without having to ask.
The top customer service use cases for gaming AI chatbots
- Proactively let people know if there are issues currently being addressed: When a person reaches a certain level or part of the game, anticipate potential issues they might face and let gamers know if there are current bugs that are being worked on. Enable gamers to follow up with questions on expected resolution time, workarounds, etc.
- Inform gamers when an issue that they reported has been fixed: When a person reaches out to report a bug, leverage AI to capture relevant information behind-the-scenes such as an operating system and a platform. An AI chatbot can prompt the user for all relevant information, and as soon as a fix has been deployed, it can proactively communicate the update with every fan that initially reached out.
- Report hacked accounts: If a person believes their account has been compromised, AI chatbots can gather information from the gamer, pull up account activity, update passwords and prompt the user to conduct additional security checks.
- Troubleshooting, lost data and managing connectivity / streaming issues: Resolutions to common technical issues like game loading issues, downloading issues, lost game progress and game crashing errors can easily be resolved with little disruption to the customer. Gamers have traditionally sought self-help in these situations, and leveraging AI to help in a conversational interface (as opposed to search), brings a new level of convenience.
- Assist with unlocking features: Answering questions around unlocking game features like badges, coins and tickets to ensure customers maintain interest and are rewarded properly for progress.
- Discover new content and cross-sell: Recommend new compatible games based on equipment, engagement and player preferences.
- Get players in the game: Get players up and running by answering questions like “how do I move, how do I navigate, where is this button, etc.
- Broken equipment/tracking returns: Help gamers instantly track orders, report broken equipment, and initiate returns.
- Account assistance: AI can automatically resolve simple requests for log-in assistance, resetting passwords, payment issues, suspended accounts, restoring accounts, and updating membership plans.
As gaming continues to infiltrate mainstream culture, companies need to focus on making it a seamless experience when people reach out with an issue. As a way to differentiate and capture long-term engagement, loyalty and revenue, gaming companies must provide effortless and immediate resolutions to issues. With AI customer service, companies can keep gamers waiting less for support and playing more.
Can we show you how you can address every issue, build life-long fans and the ultimate advocates with incredible gaming customer service? We’d love to level-up your CX with AI. Let’s chat.
- CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2014/03/05/why-customer-service-at-video-game-companies-seems-so-bad.html
- Newzoo: https://newzoo.com/insights/articles/the-global-games-market-will-generate-152-1-billion-in-2019-as-the-u-s-overtakes-china-as-the-biggest-market/
- Globaldata: https://www.globaldata.com/video-games-market-set-to-become-a-300bn-plus-industry-by-2025/
- Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/90457843/gaming-most-innovative-companies-2020
- Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinanderton/2019/03/21/research-report-shows-how-much-time-we-spend-gaming-infographic/#db29ec73e076
- Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2020/05/12/video-game-industry-coronavirus/
- Zendesk: https://www.zendesk.com/blog/keeping-gamers-game-customer-service/
- Limelight: https://www.limelight.com/resources/white-paper/state-of-online-gaming-2020/