THE NON-TECHNICAL GUIDE
TO REMARKABLE PLAYER SUPPORT
5 traits of all high-performing
player support teams
The pain's oh
Picture this: you've just bought a new game and waited an hour for it to download. It's time to jump in. But wait, there's updates. Another 20 minutes go by. *Ding* your game's finally ready.
Just kidding, the updates broke the game -- you can’t get past the start menu. Disappointment and frustration set in.
This is a player's mental state when they contact player support. And if it's not resolved fast, it could sink your entire game. Because players talk to each other about bad games. And once those messages gets out – through chat, forums, and social media – the reputational damage is done.
And your game enters into a death spiral.
When in-game issues and poor player support combine, things get ugly fast.
The game haemorrhages players. People share their bad experiences online. Sales and micro transactions plummet. Players don’t trust you to make outstanding games anymore. You’re on your way to crashing and burning.
Once this process starts, only one thing can save you: great player support.
And that’s what this guide is all about: how high-performing player support teams deliver player-satisfying, disaster-avoiding help. So let’s jump in.
Get out in front
of big issues
When a server goes down or an update causes an in-games problem, player support isn’t always the first point of call. For many gamers, they check forums and websites to see who else is having a similar issue.
It’s understanding this kind of behaviour where high-performing player support teams separate themselves. How so? They let the players help themselves. They anticipate the rise in disgruntled players and proactively offer transparent information and updates in easy-to-find places, like forums and websites. That way, players don’t have to spend hours waiting when their game goes down.
And the result is not only happier players, but a serious reduction in the number of player support inquiries.
detail makes all
In an age of automation and macro responses*, players know if they’re talking to a human or a machine -- and there’s nothing more frustrating than an unhelpful automated message.
The answer: personalised messages for every single player. Because giving frustrated players the feeling they’re talking to a real person who understands their problem, and is invested in fixing it, goes a long way.
Smart player support teams even customize their macros to add a personal touch. What’s more, when you personalise your macros, you avoid mistakes -- like copying and pasting text from the wrong place. It’s this attention to detail that separates player support from great player support.
*A macro is an automated response triggered by keyboard shortcuts (Like copying with ‘ctrl + c’ but for sending snappy player support responses).
There’s nothing better than player support that knows a game inside and out.
Take this first-person account of World of Warcraft player support, for example. “I used to play it years ago. One day, some of my character’s gold disappeared, so I raised an in-game ticket. Then after a while, a game master (player support agent) whispered to me in-game, "Greetings young Warrior of the Light (my character was a Paladin), I see thou has a problem". We proceeded to speak in old English and make references to medieval times while resolving my issue. I told my friends, we all laughed. A bad experience turned in to a great, memorable one”.
An agent who knows the game and knows the player. Now that’s good player support. It’s what the best player support teams get right every single time.
to your players
Sometimes problems need to be fixed on the developer’s end. But unless developers have a decent understanding of what’s wrong, it’s a hard slog to fix any problem fast.
High-performing player support teams treat the cause of the problem, not the symptoms. Instead of just reporting issues and escalating tickets to developers, they reach out to unhappy customers to gather intel on the root cause of issues. Then they communicate this info back to developers in a way that makes sense.
Acting as an active go-between for players and developers, speeds up issue resolution times and gives customers a sense that their problems are actually being investigated.
on the players
The best player support teams don’t think in terms of quick fixes, they think in terms of player solutions -- that is, what’s best for the player.
Consider a typical player support returns process. If a player bought the game in-store, they’d be asked to return it to that retailer.
But with new return merchandise activation (RMA)* tools and processes, player support teams are empowered to accept returns and initiate refunds. This might not help retain players, but it does create goodwill for the next release and curb bad feedback.
*I know, I know, we said non-technical in the title, but this is one thing you really need to know about.
There you have it, the a non-technical guide to better player support. Because the truth is, there’s no such thing as a perfect game. One way or another, you’re going to have a crash or a bug or a typo. And while it’s important to minimise these issues, you’ll never catch ‘em all.
It’s why great player support is vital to the longevity and profitability of any game.
It’s why you need a high-performing player support team.