Mobile Gaming Customer Support
The mobile gaming industry continues to grow as smartphone technology improves, opening up these games to a wider audience. A wider audience means more opportunities in this $30.3 billion market, but it also means more competition as developers devote more of their time and energy into mobile game development. Many mobile games rely on small in-app payments called microtransactions as a revenue stream. Players use microtransactions to pay for digital goods, such as extra game items and cosmetic changes. Individual payments are small, but long-term, engaged customers can end up spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on an app. One challenge you run into as a mobile game developer is proper customer support, as well as rapidly scaling support for successful games. Maintaining a customer support strategy with customer loyalty in mind is key to a quality customer experience.
The Challenges of Mobile Gaming Customer Support
Customer service in the gaming industry is sometimes seen as an afterthought, with companies such as PC gaming digital distribution giant Steam and game publishers such as Electronic Arts (EA) receiving reports of bad customer service. Many customers assume their gaming customer support will be a bad experience due to this trend.
Mobile gamers often play for short stints in the office, waiting in line, or multitasking with other activities, with Statistica reporting a 6.8 minute average game play session. If your customer is busy with other distractions after a short session, he or she probably doesn't have the time to sit on the phone with customer support. Multichannel support, particularly in-app customer support, provides a convenient alternative for customer assistance.
Another major challenge is finding customer support staff who speak your gamers' language. Gaming culture uses many slang terms on top of any specific terminology you use within your mobile game. Ideally, your customer support team plays and loves your games as much as your customers do. When your customer support department is passionate about the product, this excitement and common ground comes through in interactions. The time to resolution is also decreased if your support staff knows exactly where the player encountered an issue due to game familiarity.
Multichannel and In-App Customer Support
Keeping your customer support in-app offers convenience to players and helps build a good customer experience. The customer doesn't have to exert significant effort to connect to customer support, which may ease frustration. The mobile version of Blizzard's free-to-play game Hearthstone offers ticket-based customer support from the game's menu. The customer support representative can then contact the player through email, phone or the user name on the company's chat service. When the customers get quick and convenient support, they feel valued by the company, which in turn improves customer loyalty. Your in-app customer support should also be empowered to help out struggling players, whether that's through giving them free game currency, items or time. A small apology gift for the inconvenience gives the player a reward for going through a frustrating experience.
Additional support channels allow the customer choose which option is most convenient. These channels are a powerful complement to in-app support. Email, social media support channels, live chat, phone support lines and callback requests provide several ways for customers to reach out. Self-service support options are also important for a strong customer support strategy. Forrester found customer support self-service usage reached 76 percent in 2014. Ideally, the FAQ or self-service knowledge base is available both in-app and through a website. Taking a proactive approach to customer service takes pressure off your support channels, empowers your customers and creates a seamless experience for customers needing help. Your players also gain autonomy, while providing them with options if they're unable to find solutions through self-service. By providing multiple support options catering to their customer experience, you improve their engagement and satisfaction levels.
Mobile gaming is a highly competitive industry, but it's still falling behind on quality customer experience due to poor customer service. Give players a good game and a great customer experience, and you give yourself a way to stand out from other options in the market.