Know their psyche, stoke their passions, and provide omni-cultural player CX and UX. They will gladly become your brand ambassadors!
In 2020, with people spending more time at home, growth in the video game and esports industries has surged. Statistically, 82% of global consumers played more video games and watched more video game content than ever during the height of lockdowns.
Viewership on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming platform, grew to an insane 5 billion hours watched between April and June 2020. That represents a 50% increase in viewership, and it culminated in 1.49 billion gaming hours in April 2020 alone.
In South-east Asia, more than half of the online population watched game-related video content between January to June. Consider that there are 360 million internet users in South-east Asia, who account for about two-thirds of the region’s population.
Gamers and CX
People of any age and demography engage with games. Yet something they have in common is the expectation of an outstanding experience: one that adapts to them culturally. They expect their brand interactions to be with a native speaker who innately comprehends not only the game, but the game within their cultural context. Such experiences leave them feeling truly understood. However, for most gaming studios, providing culturally-dynamic omnichannel player support at the scale is complex and expensive.
That is why gamers create their own community forums and peer-to-peer networks to help each other navigate games. Case in point – the Pokémon Go Singapore group on Facebook has over 100,000 members. The Dota 2 thread on Reddit has 759,000 members. Player-made forums, where gamers exchange tips and opinions about their games, are a fast source for issue resolution. Which means that by the time they interact with an official customer service experience (CX) team member, they would have already tried to solve their problems by different means.
For studios to successfully manage their brand experience, they need to provide customer support 24/7 on a variety of platforms, such as real-time chat or phone support, forums, customer reviews, and blogs. Outsourcing the entire CX function helps studios deliver a holistic brand experience: one that is omnichannel, multilingual, and offers a true cultural experience.
It helps when you understand who gamers are, to give them what they crave and need. One expert of customer, product and digital experience—Sudhir Agarwal, who is the CEO and Founder of Everise—offers some insights:
- Gamers have the luxury of choice. With ever-more gaming options, it is easy to lose a gamer to a competitor. Yet superior CX brings loyalty. Being heard, being fully and contextually understood, makes gamers experience a brand in ways that make competitors pale in comparison.
- Gamers demand 100% up time. Studies have suggested that players spend an average of six hours and 20 minutes each week playing games. Most of them even have a time period in their day allotted to gameplay, and being unable to access a game during that period can cause them to lose interest in it. Fast performance is the most critical aspect of playing a game. Therefore, game developers cannot afford downtime.
- Gamers will punish you for bad UX. User experience (UX) or bad UX design aspects that contribute to poor performance (e.g., a confusing interface or excess advertising) demotivates players to the point that they delete the game. Or if the game crashes, gamers demand to be informed that the issue is being addressed and will be quickly resolved. It is critical that technical support is always available.
- Gamers are passionate. A study of 410 gamers had found that “passionate gamers were interested in relating with others through the game, and exhibited a high degree of interest in discovery of the game, gaining leadership and prestige but little interest in escape from reality.” Regardless of their degree of passion or motivation, for many, gaming represents more than the experience. It shapes their identity and brings them into a community, both of which go beyond the game itself.
- Gamers expect you to speak their language. Unlimited by borders, game players can come from anywhere. Studios benefit from multinational CX not only by helping players with issue resolution in their native language, but by enabling the business to scale to new markets, boosting sales. If the studio owns the forums, customer reviews, and blogs, they can turn these into powerful tools to improve a gamer’s experience with multilingual support. By providing translations for these types of content, a game developer supplies gamers with more material in their own language, which helps turn them into advocates.
- Gamers are competitive by nature. Gamers in Greater Southeast Asia prefer to play games that foster community, teamwork, and competition, showcasing how gamers enjoy playing with or against other players. The same study found that 60% gamers are strongly drawn to esports and 42% of gamers fall into the segment of competitive arena gamers.
- Competition is motivational. Most games have ‘Ranked Modes’ where players compete for the top spot, or seek to improve their ranking against other players. By creating competition, the studio gives a player motivation to play, spurring loyalty. It leads to increased hours playing, and improves base player numbers.
- Gamers appreciate inclusiveness. Sharing updated information frequently and offering continuous support to address issues and concerns is critically important to exhibit that you value your players. One way of doing this is by showing empathy through personalized replies, especially when using automated responses. Good CX helps acknowledge and solves player issues as quickly as possible.
Know your gamers
No one understands gamers better than other gamers. Finding people who also play and understand the game can facilitate support teams to provide better assistance. But gaming expertise alone is not enough. Gaming CX requires talent, technology and CX processes that enable an integrated, full-spectrum approach.
When aspiring to provide great CX to them, you need to support an entire player base all day, in multiple languages across a wide range of support channels, at a low cost and high quality, beginning with gamers as the frontline agents.