Game-Changing CX Design: How to Create a Winning Player Support Experience

6 minute read, posted on 04/27/2023, by VXI Marketing

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In today’s competitive gaming industry, players expect every aspect of a game to be fun, immersive, and frustration-free. From game design to user interfaces, leading developers invest a significant amount of time designing must-play user experiences (UX). Unfortunately, the same “design thinking” is not always applied to the player support experience.

As a result, gaming companies fall short of consumer expectations when it comes to deploying fast, effective, and convenient service interactions. Gamers prefer interactive, real-time support through channels like social media and community forums, but response times can be too long, with many issues remaining unresolved. Our latest social media benchmarking report found that on average, gaming publishers and developers are responding to less than 2% of their “owned “mentions, with high flush rates.

To stay ahead of expectations, companies must design in-game experiences and right-channeling strategies that will provide the optimal response time for the issue at hand. When players have to leave the game and wait for email support, or a live chat agent, they get frustrated. Especially when, according to Zendesk, gaming organizations have an average response time of 39 hours on email, with only 24% of brands regularly responding to customer inquiries.

Taking the time to design an effective engagement strategy, balancing the need for both a human and digital workforce, can help lean CX teams personalize the support experience at scale while maximizing a player’s lifetime value. Here’s how we recommend getting started:

Tip 1: Mystery shop the player support experience online

A recent study revealed that 70% of customers would pay more for a convenient service experience. While 67% of customers claim they would abandon a brand based on one negative interaction. How do you know which outcome, retention or attrition, your digital journey inspires? If you have no way of monitoring or quantifying player effort or sentiment on your digital channels, you’ve identified your first problem.

Mystery shopping isn’t just an antiquated marketing tactic or “old fashioned” tool. With most gamers starting their interactions online, it can be used for any aspect of the player’s journey. Create a digital scorecard and have your customer support, e-commerce, and marketing leaders solve for the key contact drivers starting on the website.

Your customer engagement strategy has to include options for both diehard gamers and casual “noobs”, with gaming becoming a universal pastime, following the path of other mass media, and attracting a diverse array of players. Unfortunately, it’s often the player support experience that exists outside of the game that leaves a substantial number of customers feeling left out.

Tip 2: Map out the customer journey

That’s where journey mapping can help. To achieve an elevated level of player understanding, the video game industry needs to extend beyond in-game data to inform its customer engagement and retention strategies. Opening up the data infrastructure to include other ecosystems like the contact center and digital support channels can help segment the player base for enhanced personalization, allowing developers to create customer experiences (CX) and support strategies that will satisfy each player, across all levels of experience.

To create the customer journey map, leverage “outside-in” thinking to analyze the current state, taking a closer look at the top contact drivers, customer analytics, and existing processes to identify the main points of friction across both the customer and agent journeys. Then chart out the top questions, motivations, emotions, and channel options that exist today, highlighting the experience, communication, and capability gaps.

For example, a recent report by Adobe found that mobile games have the highest abandonment rate out of all app categories. To continue to grow their audience, especially on free-to-play platforms, mobile gaming companies have to prioritize the customer experience (CX), starting with journey mapping to identify their CX gaps and reduce churn.

Only by mapping the player support journey and a brand’s current state, can real anticipatory CX be achieved, meeting the needs of players tomorrow and creating a roadmap to achieve a future state for ongoing transformation.

Tip 3: Design the future state roadmap, deploy operational playbooks and redesign processes

Before deploying a new video game, studios kick off the development process with the game design document (GDD). The purpose of this document is to organize ideas and teams to help keep everyone aligned as they develop. At VXI, we follow a similar methodology to help lean CX teams launch their transformational initiatives.

Through a series of workshops – intensive, collaborative working sessions with customer care teams and domain experts, our advisory team helps leading brands align around their top customer priorities to design the future state and comprehensive operational playbooks to help them get there. Gaming organizations would be wise to adopt a similar approach, creating process maps, rules of engagement, KPI design, and automation playbooks to support a comprehensive player support strategy. This should encompass everything from in-game social and chat services to self-service knowledge bases and generative AI that can tap into FAQs gleaned from issues raised on forums like Reddit and Discord. Automation can help address the low-hanging fruit on social channels, while also escalating issues into messaging channels requiring live support. Organizations can start by designing processes and right channeling strategies to address their top CX gaps, or the areas in their customer journey resulting in large volumes of player fallout like latency issues, code redemptions, and issues with downloadable content.

Tip 4: Launch solutions at scale

Once designed, outsourced partnerships can help gaming organizations deploy CX transformation at scale. While most engagements follow more of a “lift and shift” model, we recommend working with a partner to design the experience and identify opportunities for transformation and operational efficiencies prior to ramping up with a new vendor. Combining traditional CX practices with design thinking to test and launch emerging technologies, re-engineer processes, and deploy omnichannel experiences will always result in better outcomes for your brand, its players, and your long-term partnerships.

From right shoring strategies to GigCX platforms and digital workforce solutions, there are many ways to keep your support teams agile and responsive to player needs. The goal is to keep customers moving seamlessly between gameplay, socializing, and e-commerce, which like any must-play video game, isn’t possible without first designing a winning player experience.

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