It’s common knowledge that online communities and online games have loyal fans and critics alike. Many websites utilize social media management tools and moderation services, as well as filters to weed out inappropriate comments and behaviors. But when it comes to online games, the stakes get even higher for performance. Usage statistics from various sources report that online game players spend 22 hours a week playing the game, despite the fact that half of the players have full-time jobs and are married (and nearly one-fourth have kids). Surprisingly, only one-fourth of players are teens. The majority are college students, early professionals, middle-aged homemakers and retirees. Sixty percent of players have reported at least 10 hours of continuous play.
You would think this kind of fanatical devotion to online games would mean loyal customers for life and customer satisfaction levels through the roof. However, companies have to work more diligently than ever before to keep performance as near to 100 percent uptime as possible in order to avoid massive backlash from their fans.
A Double-Edged Sword
Online game producers need to deliver content patches faster. Players have become much more adept at finishing new content, and many gaming companies have struggled to keep up. This may be a double-edged sword: the need for speed of content development may improve user satisfaction in the short term, while at the same time increasing the probability of bugs and poor performance. Satisfying customer demand for content could contribute to a company’s downfall since poor game performance relates to negative player experiences and ultimately abandonment as a subscriber.
Having a moderation team that immediately addresses issues when they occur is important. Players are unwilling to tolerate losing what they worked so hard to achieve due to bugs or performance issues.
The Role of Moderators
Often, players don’t want to take the time to submit a ticket for support when they find issues. They simply expect an immediate resolution. Moderation service teams can monitor player communications using intelligent filtering and moderation software and step in to provide a quick response to potentially prevent the customer from leaving.
If the games are run in software-as-a-service (SaaS) environments, it is typical for game performance to decrease. Since speed is crutial, the most solid solution to guarantee high performance is utilizing servers on-premise or in a private cloud.
What are the top reasons gamers get frustrated with online games?
- Getting kicked out of the game due to server error
- Losing assets or experience in the game because they haven’t saved at the opportune time
- A glitch in the system that prevents the player from progressing in the game even when they’ve earned it
- A weapon or token doesn’t have the power it is supposed to have
What can moderators do in real time?
- Work with the players to reproduce the bug and get it submitted right away so it doesn’t have to be researched by another team (customer service or tech support).
- Look for customer reports of system issues in the chat using filtering technology. If everyone’s talking about it, it’s probably a major issue.
- Identify server issues so they can be reported immediately. Server downtime reduces overall satisfaction with the game.
- Help defuse a player’s anger, frustration and anxiety. The immediate gratification of a moderator beats waiting for a response to a submitted ticket.
- Discover issues that are unknown to the development or QA teams.
- Reduce the time to resolve issues versus relying on ticket submission.
What is the bottom line for the organization?
- Responsiveness has a direct correlation to customer satisfaction. The longer it takes to resolve an issue, the more likely it is customers will move on to another game.
- Happy customers = customer retention = increased profits.
- Reducing the negative chatter and tirades by the players in forums and various social media networks is at the heart of reputation management.
- Identify otherwise unknown issues in real-time from actual users of the game.
- Reduce the time it takes to resolve issues and communicate with players. The feedback loop can be painful for players due to delays in response and a lack of understanding the real issue.
- Server downtime can be dramatically shortened. Every minute counts!
- Improve product quality at a pace demanded by today’s sophisticated players.
The moderator, along with the right technology, can be the missing ingredient that keeps a user from leaving and never coming back. Identify problems and respond to customer issues quickly. Having human moderators in place provides a direct communication channel for users to report problems and give real-time feedback.
A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s blog.