The 6 Golden Rules of Outsourcing the Care of Your Players
As I prepare to meet with clients, partners, and new friends at this year’s Gamescom in Cologne, I’m reminded of conversations I’ve had at similar shows, where I’ve extolled the virtues of ModSquad’s services. Yes, it’s my job to do so, but I truly feel that what we bring to our clients is incredibly valuable. We don’t think of it as outsourcing, however. Instead, we call it ModSourcing. ModSquad delivers a modern solution that sets us apart from dated, legacy providers; but how?
While these bits of advice are directed toward our friends in the games industry, they certainly hold true for those in other fields as well. No matter what your market, the basic tenets of world-class community care are the same. You may do everything in-house and have never considered using folks like us; or, you are currently on the hunt for just such a service. Either way, you need to make sure that whoever is engaging with your customers follows the 6 golden rules of player support and community management services.
1. Pay only for what you need.
The days of “pay per agent” are behind us. There’s no need to be trapped into paying for folks when you don’t need them. Look for an outsource partner that can provide the highest quality at the best price. With the ideal arrangement, you’ll be charged only for the hours you actually need to be there for your players, not paying to support the full-time schedule of people whose skills you only need at select hours.
2. One team, not two.
It’s important that your outsourcing partner have the ability to seamlessly augment your current team. You don’t need competing groups — in-house and external — stepping on one another’s toes, performing redundant tasks, or failing to communicate effectively. Look for a provider whose people will blend in painlessly with your team, who understand the ins and outs of your games, and who can relate to your players.
3. Demand transparency.
The best partners will provide full transparency, reporting to you on a regular basis and allowing you to interact with the team that’s working directly with your players. Some outsourcing companies use a “black box” approach, where they hold internal data close to the chest. These are your players they’re dealing with—you deserve to know everything that’s going on with your valuable player audience.
4. Embrace the peaks and valleys.
As your business experiences ups and downs, the optimal outsourcing partner will support your desire to ramp up and down as needed. Have a new title, feature release, event, or worse, a faulty patch that’s caused commotion? You’ll want to ramp up support at a moment’s notice, without having to jump through hoops. Similarly, if you find yourself in an unexpected downturn, you don’t want to be working with a partner whose rigid contracts don’t allow you to adjust. Save that kind of drama for your game’s storyline.
5. For the love of the game.
Do you really want someone in an offshore call center who has to read from a manual to sound like they have even a rudimentary understanding of your game? No! You want an enthusiast who’s as passionate about your game as your players are—and best of all, comes with professional experience providing the support your players need. Whether you’re communicating with your players by phone, email, chat, social media, in-app, or in-game, you want the person representing your company to have the right voice and to be able to empathize in the proper language, with the necessary cultural nuances. You can’t get that level of quality from just anyone.
6. No one-trick ponies, thank you.
The disciplines of player support, community management, and social media are merging at a rapid rate. Select a partner that can provide expert-level service in all of those categories and has their finger on the pulse of new and emerging technologies. It’s probably a good idea to make sure they can manage more than a couple of languages as well; say, 50+.
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