Young gaming customers are a special group, and their customer support needs are in a class by themselves.
Perhaps few understand this better than Steve Wilson, Customer Service Manager at Cartoon Network’s MMOG – FusionFall, whose customers are primarily boys age 8-13.
To determine what kind of customer support would best serve this audience, Steve’s team turned to focus groups. (To get the most participation, the focus group asked a lot of questions about the game itself, then Steve’s group ‘snuck in’ some questions about their support needs.) Not surprisingly, the findings showed that traditional support vehicles – phone, knowledgebase – didn’t work for this group. Instead, they discovered several recurrent themes.
First, kids distrust customer service. Many don’t like admitting (especially to adults) they don’t know something. So who do they trust for answers? Fellow gamers. So, Cartoon Network puts a lot of focus on community forums. They allow players to exchange ideas, and allow the support staff to support one to many, maximizing each agent’s time.
Second, reduce customer support hurdles anywhere and everywhere you can, or customers will leave. Forcing customers through the knowledgebase or pointing them to phone support won’t work. Chat is an important communication medium, but a great deal of priority is put on allowing gamers to chat with each other while keeping it safe. For that reason, safety alerts are always at the top of the queue, resolved within five minutes.
The demographics of each user base are unique. Are there support channels within your industry that meet resistance from the customer? If so, how did you reduce resistance or accommodate the specific needs of your customers? How important is a chat support channel to your customer base?