Lessons Learnt: Consolidating your support

When we only had a handful of players, good customer support was relatively easy. Maybe I would answer a few emails, make a post about the latest issue on the PlayStation forums, then browse the forum for any missed opportunities or players questions which needed answering.

But then we noticed our game had some traction in its own subreddit. So we joined the conversation there.

Then we released our game on Steam. So we needed to be there too.

Then there were other forums talking about the game, so we participated in the discussion over there as well.

So, as you can see it got out of hand quite quickly. It was impossible to provide good customer service on so many different channels on so many different platforms with different accounts. It was obvious that we needed to consolidate our support. Especially when it was just a single person providing all the support.

So, how did we successfully consolidate our support?

  1. We used Zendesk to aggregate all support tickets from several channels
    This saved us so many manual hours of combing the channels looking for messages that were directed at us, which we would often miss due to all the other noise. Zendesk basically allows us to link our Facebook, Twitter, email, Instagram – you name it – to the Zendesk platform, where you receive all your players comments and questions in one “inbox”.If you have larger support teams, or just other community managers, this tool is extremely useful. It starts at minimal pricing per month which you can cancel anytime, and you pay per agent (user), so it’s easy to scale up or down in the future. You can read my full Zendesk post here.
  2. We clearly directed players to our support channels and stopped providing support on channels other than our own*.
    Currently we offer support via direct email and in our Zendesk knowledge base support forum. We made it very clear which channels we would be offering support on, with the appropriate visual prompts on our homepage and as stickied messages on other forums. For better control we decided only platforms that we solely own, to avoid any confusion and for better moderation. Basically, we left a trail of breadcrumbs on all the platforms so that our audience could find their way to our support one way or another.We had found that in the past it was hard to get our official developer accounts verified for multiple employees, or it took too long, or the visual cues were not great enough for our answer to stand out as the official one. Not all forums allowed us to mark posts as solved or as a developer response. Having our own platforms resolved this problem.*Until the support centre forums are correctly set up for all of our games, we do offer support via private Tweets or Facebook messages since they can be easily linked to Zendesk’s inbox.
  3. We created the knowledgebase to reduce the need for employee responses 24/7
    The knowledge base serves three main purposes: to reduce the amount of replies we need to give directly, and to increase the speed at which our players can resolve their issue, as well as keeping track of all internal knowledge and bugs. Customer satisfaction relies heavily on how fast their issue can be resolved. In the majority of cases players can resolve the issues themselves using a combination of our knowledgebase and peer to peer support (see below).
  4. We opened peer to peer technical forums
    Separate to the Arrowhead forums, the forums on Zendesk are for technical questions and support only. We do not offer support in our Arrowhead community forums because we don’t want them to turn into a sea of negativity or have hundreds of posts with the same technical question. I have noticed in the past that with Steam forums, once it because a tech help forum, there is little discussion offered, which potentially discourage users. Our two forums have two clear, separate purposes.
  5. We still need to get the design and usability right
    We are still working on tweaking the Zendesk UI, along with the Zendesk forums. They function fine out of the box, but for multiple projects they are not very intuitive, and the navigation is not very clear. There is quite a lot that can be done here via CSS, but without having a CSS specialist on hand this part will be outsourced to front end developers. My advice here is that it is better to have the help centre and forums up and running, even if they are not exactly perfect – don’t wait for them to be perfect otherwise you’ll never get them live.