Multilingual Customer Support for Gamers: Why You Should be Online
Over the past 25 years, the video game industry’s customer support systems have exploded to epic proportions. When we were youngsters playing Duck Hunt we never thought about connecting to the Internet to share our winning streak or to complain about how our Zapper didn’t work when we fired it a centimeter away from the screen. Now our online world blends so seamlessly into our gaming lives that it’s hard to imagine a gaming system without a multilingual customer support network. One of the foremost ways to connect with users is through social media, and for the gaming industry this has enhanced players’ ability to engage with each other, the brand, and customer support teams.
Players need you online, and they need their favorite gaming companies to command social media effectively. Along with a social online presence, large gaming businesses should implement a fully integrated online support service for their customers. For example, publishers with an international market would require localized video game customer service teams integrated with the respective social channels for each language. It’s no surprise that major video game corporations are tentatively listening to their consumers and investing more in social media, mobile support, and in-game live chat. Without customer support, players may feel neglected when they have problems, or believe the business to be unprofessional. Now more than ever it is imperative that you integrate social media into your multilingual customer support strategy, as this is rapidly becoming one of the first avenues that customers in need of help or advice will seek.
How to Understand Your Audience
Now you have an idea of what you must do, you need to deduce the mysterious entity that is the ‘gamer’. Who are they? What languages do they use? What are their needs? Which social media channel will be most beneficial and what customer service strategy should you employ? For example, if you are targeting FPS players then perhaps an image-based channel such as Instagram or Pinterest will be of little use to you – a video channel like YouTube, which allows users to upload screen captures of those winning headshots, would be a great option to engage players. Instagram would, however, be appropriate for mobile games players who can instantly share a snapshot of their new high score.
Your online audience is something that can make or break you, and they can influence other potential gamers. Keeping all users happy may appear to be an impossible task, but it is not an excuse for not trying to optimize your business and realize your players’ needs. For example, negative comments should be followed up on (especially if the comments are submitted on your website or social media) demonstrating to other users that you are listening and that you care.
Pointers for the Perfect Service
One way to keep track of your customers and their thoughts is to monitor your online feedback across your different channels. If you analyze these comments you can find out how to tailor your support system to suit the consumer. Of particular note is the Mention app which monitors millions of sources in 42 languages and allows you to generate reports based on their findings. Of course, you will still need to employ native speakers in order to deal with this feedback.
There will be positive feedback too; however, the time to bask in it is not now. Negative feedback is something that needs to be addressed swiftly. Games developers should take note of a player’s complaints and rectify the offending material if necessary. A great example of a potential problem area would be confusion between languages. As the astute game developer will no doubt be aware, the Brazilian gaming market is currently booming so there are a lot of latent possibilities in this market sector. If you localize your game for Portuguese, make sure to make the distinction between Portugal and Brazil. There are differences both in the written and spoken language, not to mention cultural differences. This is why you have to research and observe your market. Separately monitoring feedback from Portugal and Brazil, for example, can be useful in that respect, as you can analyze how well localized your game is for each market. Just make sure you employ a localized team that has the language knowledge and cultural awareness to navigate these fine differences and communicate with your customers in a style that they can relate to.
One mistake that many businesses make is only looking at English feedback but there are over 50 major languages utilized on social media alone. This is why localization and speaking the gaming language is an important aspect of your online business strategy. On top of this, it means that if you cater to other languages your audience can potentially grow through eWoM (electronic word of mouth). If users have a positive experience with your customer support then they may just share that view with others on their personal social media channels.
A popular avenue to pursue is that of having a ‘Live Chat’ video game customer service. The idea of live help appeals to the customer as it fulfills their demands and their questions are answered straight away – which is useful when your console crashes and you need some quick answers. This type of service is especially important for gamers as they can clear any doubts they may have had about your game or platform by chatting to staff before they purchase anything. The sales may even increase because of this. Moreover, if you have provided this service in their native language then their satisfaction level is much higher along with their ability to make a purchase. This is especially crucial to social games such as Facebook games or mobile app games, where in-game purchases may be vital to a player’s success and the main means of the developer’s profits. Once you have made the customer feel safe in the online environment they are more likely to make an acquisition.
However, live chat only works if the customer receives near-to-instantaneous service. Likewise, your customer support should also have a quick response time to queries. If you don’t respond in reasonable time then the customer is less likely to make a transaction with you. They may even give you the aforementioned dreaded negative feedback somewhere on the web. Sometimes your plans have to start offline before you can bring them on. Companies are training their staff to work harder, and demonstrate to the customer that they have gone the extra mile to help them. Incredibly polite and resourceful staff will give your business an encouraging brand image, but you have to provide the training first and be available to handle your players’ queries.
Another aspect of going the extra mile is having an out-of-hours multilingual customer service feature. Companies who know their players know that gamers are notorious for keeping odd hours – not to mention that you need to keep your worldwide customer base and their different time zones in mind. If your client can post a question on Facebook during out-of-business-hours and have it answered then that is a positive experience for them. However, if this question goes unanswered not only would the poster be able to see this, but other social media users would too. A quick response should be applied to every possible post/tweet/query from the customer. Not every question can be asked within business hours, and with this fast-fire anytime response you are more flexible as a business. Assembling an out-of-hours team is a step forward in engaging your customers and improving your brand image – this is a major reason why hiring outsourced customer support teams in local offices that can talk to your players in their native language is imperative to providing exceptional customer service.
The importance of having a healthy and fully-functioning multilingual customer support system cannot be stressed enough. If there is no visible customer service, users will not be able to lodge any queries or complaints to be dealt with. This is especially important for gaming companies since they have a huge, built-in testing group – their user base. Players need a way to inform video game developers of their games’ bugs, glitches, and various other issues. This positive, cyclic relationship makes having a successful customer support system vital to gaming corporations. Furthermore, this system needs to be rigorously organized for the different languages, the different sections of your business, and the different media channels.
MO Group International are award-winning localization and community management experts with experience in over 40 languages and specialists in social media and customer support. We have years of practice in international community management and can develop a multilingual strategy tailored to your channels. We specialize in fueling engagement and helping you to understand your communities and so expand your markets. Visit our website today for a free quote.