If you’re old enough to remember when the latest in gaming technology meant circles eating dots, triangles shooting dots and rectangles hitting dots, you’re old enough to know that the gaming industry has experienced a meteoric rise and transformation over the past few decades. Gartner forecasts that the global video game market (to include console hardware, software, online, mobile and PC games) will reach $111 billion by 2015. In quick comparison, this surpasses near-future revenue projections for the movie and entertainment (music) market, estimated at $93 billion by the end of 2016.
Customer support in the gaming industry is transformational, as well. Phone support is practically non-existent. Gamers demand a rich and rewarding product and player experience, but when it comes to support, what matters most is good information, fast answers and a real-time resolution of problems on the channel of their convenience.
Well Played, Buffalo Studios, Well Played…
Social and mobile games pioneer Buffalo Studios is an example of winning service and support across channels and at scale. The well-known gaming company, owned by Caesars Interactive Entertainment, is the maker of the number one online bingo game, Bingo Blitz, as well as the company’s newest offering, Bingo Rush 2. Their ﬂagship game, Bingo Blitz, began as a Facebook-only offering more than three years ago. Buffalo Studios selected Parature to power their support portal, leveraging the company’s social media solution to deliver dedicated support on their game’s Facebook page.
When Bingo Blitz expanded onto mobile devices, Buffalo Studios realized that they would need to employ a more robust player service solution across their growing number of channels, especially as Bingo Blitz’s popularity skyrocketed and player counts soared to more than one million daily active users. So the company looked to customize Parature’s self-service portal capabilities with knowledgebase and ticketing, to deliver efficient and consistent multichannel service and information.
Technology and Best Practices as a Game Changer
Buffalo Studios is staying ahead of the game when it comes to adapting to the trends and best practices in online service and support. Not only were they an early leader in social customer service, but they also incorporated forums and a mobile-responsive support portal as part of their leading support offerings.
On the support agent side, they have also made the most of their customer service technology by ﬁrst centralizing all player communication channels including social, email, ticketing and more in a cloud-based service desk.
Wherever a customer question or issue comes in, they can manage, route, track and respond to all requests from one place with consistent information and business processes.
From 11,000 Daily Support Tickets to 300
For those looking for amazing customer service efficiency improvement stories, Buffalo Studios has one that might just top them all. As their player base grew to more than one million per day, so did the number of support tickets being submitted. At one point, they received more than 11,000 tickets in a single day. Although that’s less than one percent of Buffalo Studios games’ daily active players, as you can imagine, it still feels like a lot of tickets for a support staff of six. Incredibly, and with credit given to VP of PM & Player Experience Brooke Olson and her small player experience team, by employing a 24/7 support portal and best practice changes to their processes, Buffalo Studios was able to reduce ticket submission by an astounding 80% within days. Here’s what helped:
- Buffalo Studios deployed an online, mobile-responsive 24/7 support portal with a strong knowledgebase/FAQ offering. Players were encouraged to use the troubleshooter to try and solve their problem. Within hours of redirecting players to this portal, the ticket volume dramatically dropped. “It was such a sudden drop that I got up in the middle of the night just to make sure you could still submit a ticket through the new portal,” said Olson.
- An alert box was added to appear at the top of the portal if there was a known issue or common support question being asked that would tell players the issue and how it was being fixed. It was put to use when an issue arose in Bingo Rush 2 and the number of tickets about that issue dropped to zero once the alert box was active.
- Customer interactions and conversations, some that were happening outside the service desk, were routed so that all were managed within service desk. Queues and filters were also established and used to channel and manage questions or issues based on categories such as type of question, priority, etc.
- TSAs (Time-Sensitive Alerts) were employed to send automatic responses/resolutions to customers with the same question/issue when the resolution was available. With that, Buffalo Studios could answer hundreds of tickets at a time rather than one at a time with the same answer. During crunch time, Buffalo was able to respond to thousands of tickets a day using their TSAs.
Buffalo Studios Doesn’t Stop at Amazing
Eighty percent support ticket deﬂection is an amazing achievement. But Buffalo Studios didn’t stop there. Support agents are analyzing ticket data to make customer interactions as easy as possible. When a player clicks on the support button in game, the application automatically passes data to the support portal that is saved ‘behind the scenes’. The information – everything from game version to device information – is sent when the player submits a ticket, meaning less back and forth between the agent and the player to get support. They’re using their saved time through improved efficiencies to ensure faster average response times, more personalized service and prioritized support for high-value players.
They’re working on further development of the knowledgebase so that players can more easily ﬁnd the answers they need themselves to get back into the game, and developing their reporting to see where players are getting stuck in the game or having trouble ﬁnding the answers to their questions. Buffalo Studios is also looking ahead to added features such as live chat to improve ﬁrst contact resolution and personalized response, predictive search capabilities to suggest best answers, and the use of more data points to increase personalization and provide premium services.
Says VP of PM & Player Experience, Brooke Olson, about their continued achievements and commitment to customer care, “We absolutely want to leverage all available technologies to provide our players with the fastest, most efficient support possible. Whether it’s ﬁnding an answer in our knowledgebase or talking direct with a support representative, we want to make sure we are responding in the most professional and effective manner.
“With the tools that Parature has been able to provide, we’ve been able to create deeper, more personal relationships with our players and dramatically improve customer satisfaction.”
Read or access the full gaming industry case study here.