Come meet us at Shoptalk or GDC.

Game On: It’s Time for GDC, and ModSquad Will Be in the House!

March in San Francisco may bring thoughts to its residents of the start of spring. But for hardcore gamers like us, it makes us think of only one thing: it’s time for GDC!

Every year, the Game Developers Conference (GDC), held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, is a cornerstone of ModSquad’s March planning. The event, which takes place from March 19 to 23, draws 26,000 people from the video game field, along with some of their most ardent devotees, in a gathering to celebrate and explore the latest innovations in the industry.

ModSquad’s GDC team this year comprises VP Sales Clive Jefferies and SVP Global Operations Rich Weil, a veteran of many, many GDCs. As Rich has noted time and again, GDC keeps getting bigger and better with each passing installment, and this one looks to continue that tradition. Rich and Clive will be joined by others in the ModSquad family, meeting with friends, clients, partners, and potential clients as they continue their work helping today’s top game publishers save money, scale their services, and provide top-notch support to players. If you’re attending, set aside a few minutes to say hi to the team.

Must-See Panels at GDC 2018

Here are some of the panels and presentations we’re looking forward to and think you’ll enjoy, too.

Bridging Community Divides in Cross-Platform MMOs
Tuesday, March 20, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Why we’re excited: We’ve often said that when you’re managing player communities, you have to be on top of (excuse the pun) your game. In this discussion, reps from Daybreak, Trion, NetEase, and Guild Software discuss their tips and tricks for effective community engagement across multiple platforms. Find out more…
Mitigating Abuse Before It Happens
Tuesday, March 20, 11:20 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
Why we’re excited: Sometimes the best course of action for community managers is to formulate a comprehensive proactive plan, to quell any problems before they appear. We’ll hear how companies like Microsoft and flaregames work to avoid bad user behavior. Find out more…
Juggle ALL THE THINGS! Community Managing Tons of Games
Tuesday, March 20, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Why we’re excited: We’ve managed many, many player communities over the years, and we’re well aware of the responsibilities and challenges facing community managers in the video game world. We’re intrigued to hear speakers from Trion, Blizzard, Daxnd Games, Klei Entertainment, and Jump Gaming share ways they overcome resource issues and set player expectations. Find out more…
Community Marketing and Management at Your Best and Worst Times
Thursday, March 22, 2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Why we’re excited: Our community managers work closely with clients to ensure consistent messaging across all platforms. This discussion from Paradox Interactive discusses the ways in which companies similarly partner their marketing efforts with their community initiatives. Find out more…

We hope to run into you in San Francisco next week. If you’re attending GDC, let us know — send us a message on Twitter, or set up some time to meet up. See you there!

Shoptalk: ModSquad Attends the Retail & Ecommerce Power Event

ModSquad has created some outstanding partnerships with leading names in the retail and ecommerce industries over the years. In providing our clients with top-notch customer support, moderation, social media, and community management, we’ve stayed on top of the latest trends in consumer behavior, the retail landscape, and the delicate art of supporting our clients’ customers with top-level service.

Last year, we ventured out to the inaugural Shoptalk Europe event in Denmark, a confluence of retailers, brand representatives, and vendors like ModSquad. It was a great experience (which you can read about here), one that we’ve been looking forward to replicating. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ll be exhibiting at Shoptalk in Las Vegas, Nevada, from March 18 to 21. This event joins together Shoptalk’s U.S. and European events in a global gathering that’s expected to draw 8,000 attendees. From startups to established powerhouses, everyone who’s anyone in the retail and ecom sectors will be there.

ModSquad is pleased to represent the innovators working in support of retail and ecommerce companies. Savvy brands, seeking out cutting-edge strategies to best serve their digital customer base, look to companies like ModSquad to provide the expertise and sterling service they need to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. We look forward to meeting old and new friends from those brands, as well as our fellow innovators, later this month. We hope you’ll be among them.

Can’t-Miss Panels at Shoptalk 2018

We’ve gathered some of the panels and presentations we’re most looking forward to and think you’ll enjoy, too.

Chatbots and the Future of Messaging in Retail
Monday, March 19, 9:00 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.
Why we’re excited: We’ve been closely following the rise of AI technology and its use in customer-support chatbots, having supported chat programs for our clients for years. We’re looking forward to hearing about the experiences eBay, Facebook, and Viber have had using this technology. Find out more…
Delighting Customers Through Personal Interactions
Monday, March 19, 9:45 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.
Why we’re excited: As etailers move toward more personalized shopping experiences, ModSquad remains an integral part of that customer interaction. This panel brings together representatives from Pizza Hut, Sephora, and the Lionesque Group to reveal how they create meaningful customer connections. Find out more…
AR, VR, and Advances in Product Visualization
Monday, March 19, 5:15 p.m. – 5:55 p.m.
Why we’re excited: AR and VR have dominated the digital discussion for the past year, and we’re no strangers to providing support for those environments. In this panel, we’ll hear about how the Hershey Company, Wayfair, and Google are moving the AR/VR needle. Find out more…
Building Engaged Communities
Tuesday, March 20, 5:15 p.m. – 5:55 p.m.
Why we’re excited: We’re big advocates for building a better community and advise clients on best practices in planning for and maintaining a robust online community. So we’ll jump at the chance to hear how Aerie, e.l.f., and LoveCrafts engage their online communities. Find out more…

Quick quiz for Shoptalk attendees:

What’s the best way to save your company money during your visit to Shoptalk at The Venetian Las Vegas?

  • Gondola-hopping on a shopping spree in the Grand Canal Shoppes
  • Betting it all on “17” at the roulette table
  • Sitting down with ModSquad to learn how our flexible offerings can trim your budget and better serve your customers.

If you said C, you’ll want to set aside a few minutes to talk with us at Shoptalk, Discovery Zone space ET40

Social Marketers Target an Unlikely Powerhouse Demographic: Teens

For brands looking to grow their customer base through social media, opportunities don’t come much bigger than Generation Z. This group of consumers born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s are now teenagers. In the United States alone, they number 60 million and wield an estimated $44 billion in spending power (or, if you factor in their influence on their families’ spending, more like $200 billion). Most importantly, they’ll make up 40% of all consumers by 2020. Clearly, Generation Z is the next purchasing powerhouse.

Tapping into such a massive customer base has to be high on the priority list for social marketers. So how best to connect with Gen Z?

They are a new generation in every way.
For starters, don’t lump them in with Millennials, the generation that preceded them; they’re very different. Having grown up in the post-9/11 era and during the Great Recession, these kids are seen as less coddled and less entitled than Millennials (with a deeper interest in social and humanitarian causes). They also spend far greater time on social media. Millennials spend about an hour a day on social, while 44% of Gen Z check it hourly.

And speaking of social media, here are a few other things to keep in mind if you’re pursuing the Generation Z market in their natural habitats.

Not all social networks are created equal.
Gen Z uses various social platforms for very different purposes. To see their hopes and dreams, check out Instagram. To catch their real-life moments, look to Snapchat. They rely on Twitter for their news and get updates on Facebook. But they don’t post much on Facebook; not only is it for “old people,” but Gen Z understands that the internet is forever, so they’re more wary of posting on perma-sites like Twitter. That’s why they’ll often use aliases or create separate accounts, even on Instagram (or “finstagram”)—just to be safe. They much prefer ephemeral offerings like Snapchat, for just that reason.

Social plays different roles in their shopping journey.
Just as they use disparate networks for info gathering and social sharing, so does Gen Z use social media for their product purchases. A whopping 85% of this audience learns about new products through social, and they’re 59% more likely than older consumers to connect with brands via social. But how each individual network breaks down is interesting. Gen Z discovers new brands on Instagram (45%), then they turn to YouTube to learn more about a product, at double the rate of Millennials. When they’re shopping at real stores, they’re more likely to document the experience on Snapchat.

Share what you care about.
Don’t bury the lede—you only have seconds to capture their attention with a quick, compelling story; teens are eager to check out the next message and move on. In that time, be clear about what you stand for. Ideally, they’ll see your brand as being involved in social causes that mirror their interests. As a generation that’s highly interested in racial, gender, and income equality and environmental issues, these are consumers that are willing to put their money where their mouths are.

Speak to them using faces they’ll relate to.
Use real people, not models, in your campaigns. Gen Z is a group that trusts social influencers as much as mainstream celebrities. Remember, they live most of their digital lives on their smartphones; it’s where they consume the majority of their entertainment. They watch two to four hours of YouTube per day (and 50% can’t live without it), as compared with less than 30 minutes of traditional television in that same period. It’s no wonder they relate more to those they’re watching on Snapchat and Instagram Stories than the faces that grace movie and television screens.

And through it all, even with an abundance of stressful news bombarding us on a regular basis, Generation Z remains an optimistic bunch, with more than half of them believing they’ll be better off than their parents. The confidence of these young consumers should resonate with companies, reminding them that the future is indeed bright, especially for those quick to embrace this generation and engage its early adopters. From our place on the digital front line for some of the world’s leading brands, we know how important this demographic will be in the very near future.

ModSquad’s SXSW 2018 Attendee Guide

It’s almost that time! Beginning March 9, brands, organizations, innovators, and the general public will converge on Austin, Texas for the annual SXSW conference. A number of us from ModSquad will be there exhibiting at the Trade Show for the second year in a row, and as always there’s a lot – perhaps too much – to look forward to. If you’re attending, don’t wait until you get there to figure out your action plan.

Can’t-Miss Panels at SXSW 2018

If you’re reading our blog, you’re probably interested like us in customer experience, digital brand engagement, social media, and online communities. We’ve gathered some of the panels and presentations we’re most looking forward to and think you’ll enjoy, too.

What Followers Want: How Social Evolves in 2018
Saturday, March 10, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Why we’re excited: Digital communities, including those on social media, are our core passion and expertise. We’re eager to hear what folks from Instagram and Facebook predict for the year ahead. Find out more…
Brand Personality and Business Growth
Saturday, March 10, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Why we’re excited: Because we know that dry, scripted responses may give a customer the information they want, but won’t do nearly as much to drive loyalty or emotional connections as will thoughtful, consistent engagement. Find out more…
Never Lose a Customer Again: Creating Lifelong Loyalty
Sunday, March 11, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Why we’re excited: We’re all about fostering brand loyalty through awesome support and community experiences. Find out more…
Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore
Monday, March 12, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Why we’re excited: With a mostly remote workforce spread around the world, we’re thrilled to see more companies embracing the work-from-home model. Find out more…
Escape the Algorithm: Build Rad Online Communities
Tuesday, March 13, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Why we’re excited: Have we mentioned already our passion for digital communities? This should be a very interesting discussion on consumers’ desires for communities over content. Find out more…
AR Gaming: What’s Now, What’s Next
Thursday, March 15, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Why we’re excited: It’s no secret there are plenty of gamers among us at ModSquad. For the benefit of our many gaming clients (and our own personal passions, too), we’re always interested in seeing what’s in store. Find out more…

Visit ModSquad

Charge up and chill out at the ModSquad Swingin’ Mod Lounge. Find us on the Trade Show floor from March 11–14, at Booth #417.

You’ll especially want to mark your calendar for Sunday, March 11 from 3–4 p.m., when we’ll be hosting Happy Hour with beer, wine, finger sandwiches, and canapés.

Click here to learn more or to set up a time to come by and chat.

4 Tips for Making the Most of the SXSW Experience

At ModSquad, we’re all about strategic planning and digital safety, so we’ve applied our knowledge to helping you stay safe at SXSW while making sure you leave satisfied.

  1. Plan ahead. Check schedules ahead of time and decide which speakers, performances, and exhibits are most important to you. Set reminders for yourself that give you plenty of time to arrive early and get in the door for what you want to see.
  2. Bring your business cards. You never know who you’ll meet at SXSW. Whether or not you’re there to network, we highly recommend carrying some business cards so you can trade and reconnect after the event.
  3. Bring an empty bag! SXSW is all about the free swag. Especially if you’re flying in for the event, make sure to pack an empty bag or leave plenty of room in your suitcase for the free stuff you’re sure to collect.
  4. Leave time to recharge and stay healthy. Drink plenty of water (ideally from a reusable water bottle), get a good night’s sleep, and carry hand sanitizer! Additionally, take time throughout the day to seek out some shade, sit, and relax.

Mod of the Month – February 2018

February may be a shorter month than the rest, but there’s still plenty of time to celebrate one of our outstanding Mods. This month’s honoree actually just celebrated her one-year Modiversary this month, and what better way to celebrate than with a feature on our blog? Please join us in congratulating our February 2018 Mod of the Month, Anna Masoni!

Anna hails from Forlì, a small town in North Italy (you might be familiar with it if you’ve played Assassin’s Creed 2). An avid gamer, she has been a great asset to several of our video game clients and currently provides customer support for our client Wooga. Anna loves helping customers and adding a personal touch in solving any questions or issues they raise to her.

I excel in understanding a customer’s needs and crafting a customized answer to assure them they are speaking to a real person and not receiving an automated response. I believe going the extra mile to add a bit of personality when answering tickets can turn a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one.

Prior to joining ModSquad, Anna worked as a Citizen Services Operator, providing assistance in-person and via social media. It was that experience that made her realize her love for helping people and her desire to pursue a career in customer support.

Being able to calm down unhappy customers, and help them through an issue is not always easy. But when an initially upset customer comes back to apologize for an outburst and thank you for solving their issue, that’s one of the best feelings!

Anna is also a talented artist and has worked as a digital colorist for comics. In her spare time, Anna enjoys drawing, catching up on TV shows, playing video games, and spending time with her 15-year-old cat Miki. She also has a passion for travel and aspires to travel across Europe one day.

If the wonderful things our Project Managers have to say about Anna are any indication, she has a bright, customer-focused future ahead of her:

“Anna is amazing, and I couldn’t live without her. She does work in both English and Italian; she knows everything, understands everything, and helps with everything. I’m proud to say I hired her into the company and I’m ready to fight in a duel to keep her on my projects.”
-Lara Greco, Project Manager

“Anna Masoni is one of the best Mods I’ve ever worked with! She’s kind, friendly, honest and extremely helpful! She really cares for her project and her teammates; she’s an amazing Mod and she really deserves to be Mod of the Month!”
-Alessandra Ghiselli, Assistant Project Manager

“She has stellar QA, she steps up to answer questions other Mods have, and is super friendly. She is a versatile Mod, providing both English and Italian support. Our project isn’t the easiest due to the breadth of information involved, but she is consistently among the highest performers month after month.”
-Samantha Walker, Assistant Project Manager

Six Sure Signs You Need to Scale Your Support Team

At ModSquad, we’ve seen a lot in the past 10 years. We’ve worked with companies of all sizes, from startups to enterprise-level corporations. But whatever industry they’re in, no matter how large or small, they share the common need for flexible outsourced support. Every company experiences peaks and valleys, and not just the kinds that affect stock valuations. Sometimes periods of variable needs and demands are only felt internally but can still have a big effect on the overall organization.

That’s why we’ve put together this checklist of symptoms of a business that needs to scale its support team. Knowing the signs of impending demand or likely support gaps can allow you to plan, budget, and schedule accordingly. Any of the following situations may necessitate reaching out for additional support.

Vacation Time is Approaching

We’ll start with a no-brainer. During the holidays, seasonal sales tend to boost many company’s bottom lines. But they’ll only hit those heights if they’re prepared. With a huge spike in tickets, it’s critical to have a right-size staffing plan in place. Similarly, school vacation periods and summer breaks are when many of your team members will want to use their vacation time. Don’t let your queues build up because a percentage of your staff is on break; prepare for their absence with simple pre-planning. This is low-hanging fruit, and an easy situation to manage.

You’re in Pre-Launch Period

Your company has been working toward this for months, perhaps even years, and now it’s time to unveil your new product offering. What are your expected needs? Have you taken into account the possibility of your new release exceeding expectations? What if a major flaw is discovered once it hits consumers’ hands? Have an action plan in place to get the help you need, preferably from a flexible provider with the ability to add hours and team members on demand.

You’re Preparing to Enter a New Market

If you’re venturing out into a brave new world, hitting markets that you’ve not served before—either geographically, demographically, linguistically, or a combination thereof—you’re likely not prepped to properly serve your potential new audience. Make sure your team speaks and writes in the customer’s language. Are your support agents multilingual? Does your product require a certain familiarity on the support agent’s part? Put in place a team that’s comprised of enthusiasts who understand the product and its user base, so that they can have authentic dialogues with your customers.

Your HR Team is Pulling Support Tickets

When your R&D group is manning the phones, answering technical support questions that are beyond the capabilities of your core staff, and when your marketing department is busy drafting responses to customer inquiries, they’re not doing what you hired them to do. If your entire team is pitching in to help keep up with the growing backlog of customer requests, you need to hit the reset button. Free up your employees’ time by properly ramping up a support team. It not only increases your people’s productivity, it improves your relationships with your customers, who see quicker resolutions from agents with appropriate backgrounds.

You Support Queue is Becoming Unmanageable

Even though you planned your support strategy down to a T and thought you had everything in place, you’re still unable to keep up with the demands of your audience. It happens to the best companies. Step back and look at the big picture and know when it’s time to reach out for additional help. You’re not helping yourself by thinking you can manage it all when your incoming-ticket stats say otherwise–the numbers don’t lie.

You Don’t Have a Back-Up Plan

As noted above, sometimes the best-laid plans go awry. That’s why it’s smart to always have a back-up plan available. Just as companies prep crisis plans that they hope they’ll never have to use, so should you have a design in place that will inform your group how to swiftly and efficiently escalate your support team if and when the need suddenly arises. Knowing that you have a squad available to provide up to 24/7/365 support, in scores of languages and in countries all over the world, should help you rest easy.

After the ramp-up, a flexible solution will allow your company to scale down just as quickly, always providing you with just as many (or as few) support hours as you need. A partner with flexible options ensures you don’t pay for time you won’t use. We’ve put smart scaling solutions in place time and time again, helping countless clients reap the rewards of right-sized support teams.

Create Loyal Customers Through Meaningful Social Engagement

No matter the product, service, or industry, there’s one thing all brands can agree on: loyal customers are the best kind of customers.

These days, it is estimated that new customer acquisition can cost at least 5 times more than keeping an existing customer. Retaining customers through excellent customer rapport and timely service can broaden brand loyalty. Adapt these concepts to social media, and there’s an opportunity to broaden loyalty from a single customer exchange to a community of loyal customers, and potentially their subsequent networks.

Through social, business can establish a dependable reputation, deliver positive support experiences, and foster emotional connections, all of which have been shown to drive customer loyalty to a brand.

Be Dependable

Where once social media support was “nice to have,” now it’s an expectation. Customers expect a response on social media, and they expect it quickly. Research shows that almost half (42%) of customers expect a response within an hour; 32% expect a response within just 30 minutes.

If you think just responding during business hours is enough, think again. Your customers want consistency around the clock, with over half (57%) expecting the same fast response times on nights and weekends. This may seem like a lot to deliver, but it’s worth it when you see customers coming back.

As we covered in a recent article, the less effort customers have to make to get their issue resolved, the happier they will be. By maintaining a presence on the social channels where your customers are most active, they have easy access to reach you whenever they need, and your consistent dependability will help to drive that coveted loyalty.

Deliver Positive Support Experiences

Numerous studies have concluded the direct effect support experiences can have on a consumer’s feelings towards a brand. In a recent survey by our partners at Zendesk, 52% of respondents said they would stop buying from a company following a bad customer support experience; 42% said they would actually purchase more following a good experience. This is true not only for traditional support channels like email and phone, but also for social media.

Another study found that 55% of customers who call out brands on social media hope to gain an apology or solution to their issue. Considering the public nature of these complaints, it’s not enough to simply redirect angry tweeters to your email or phone support. In fact, the same study showed that a bad response was actually more detrimental than sending no response at all. 50% of respondents said they would boycott a brand after receiving a poor response to their post on social media; 26% said they would unfollow the brand’s social pages for the same reason. Upon receiving a good response? 37% were likely to purchase from that brand again, and a whopping 45% said they were likely to to post about the interaction.

Foster Emotional Connections

Your fans will quickly tire of canned responses like, “Thanks for sharing!” or “We’ll pass along your feedback.” Customers want to feel acknowledged, and that they’re dealing with a human who can help.

Additionally, not all comments you receive on social will be questions or issues, and those customers will benefit from acknowledgement or engagement as well.

Consider building social customer support programs that assure the community you real, you are listening, and you care. For example:

  • Thank customers (genuinely and specifically) for sharing feedback and concerns
  • Respond to reviews, both positive and negative
  • Recognize and acknowledge return visitors and community regulars
  • Compliment shared photos of your products or experiences (better yet, ask permission to share the best ones)
  • Identify community members who regularly help or engage positively with others (especially new members); if you can, reach out and surprise them with a small gift for being so helpful.

Customers want to feel connected to your brand and the people behind it. Robots (or responses that make you sound like one) will make even an avid purchaser question your commitment to them as a customer. Instead, reply in ways that show you share the same interests and passions.

At ModSquad, when we staff a video game project, we make sure the Mods are gamers themselves; for apparel clients, we aim to staff the project with Mods interested in fashion. This type of product and industry knowledge makes for much more engaging responses that affirm to the customer the people behind the brand are just like them.

SXSW: So Nice We’re Doing it Twice!

We had such a great time at SXSW last year, we’re coming back again!

ModSquad’s Operations Center in Austin, Texas has been up and running since May 2017, and we’ve become full-fledged Austinites, replete with our love of BBQ (here’s looking at you, Amy K!), great music, and all things weird. So when one of the biggest events in town comes around, you know that ModSquad will be there to represent. As we noted last year, we won’t have far to travel to get to this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) conference.

The Mods from Austin and beyond will be converging upon the fest’s trade show exhibition, which takes place Sunday, March 11 through Wednesday, March 14 at the Austin Convention Center. As always, SXSW is a gathering of disruptive upstarts and established powerhouses from the worlds of film, music, and interactive. The event’s trade show is similarly focused on both the best and brightest of up-and-coming business and the leaders in a diverse range of fields, from tech to creative to science.

Last year, we met hundreds of enthusiastic business professionals and spirited entrepreneurs, along with students and fans. It’s a unique blend of smart, engaged people from across the spectrums of age, background, and interests, but all with an unquenchable thirst for learning, exploration, and discovery — just like our Mods! It was great to introduce ModSquad and our service offerings to such a wide range of people, and we made many new friends and business partners at the show.

We also got tremendous feedback on our experiential set design, which was a hit both at the trade show and on social media. If you thought our space last year was a hoot, well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Be sure to visit us this year to see the ultimate Mod aesthetic come to life. We’ll be posting a more in-depth preview of this year’s SXSW in the weeks to come, but plan to stop by our ModSquad Swingin’ Mod Lounge, #417 on the Trade Show floor. (Tip: You’ll want to mark your calendar and plan to join us for happy hour at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 11.)

Until then, be sure to catch up on your sleep, because when SXSW rolls around, you won’t want to miss a thing. We’ll be right there with you, enjoying the spectacle and wonder, and we’d love to see you.



Austin Convention Center
Trade Show – Exhibit Halls 2, 3 & 4
531 East 4th Street
Austin, TX
Visit ModSquad at booth 417 of the Trade Show.


Sunday, March 11: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Monday, March 12: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday, March 13: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday, March 14: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.


SXSW Trade Show, booth 417
Sunday, March 11 at 3:00 p.m.

5 Tips to Maximize your Customer Support Knowledge Base

If your brand is committed to happy customers, you’ve probably worked hard to have the most helpful, personable, knowledgeable support team you possibly can. But the reality is, sometimes people prefer to find the answers themselves. Therein lies the important role an effective knowledge base plays in a holistic customer support strategy.

A knowledge base is not a replacement for a support team, but rather a supplement to one. Why have one? Because it will result in happier customers. And happier customers spend more (and more often).

Why You Should Have a Knowledge Base

Less Effort = More Loyalty. Research published in the Harvard Business Review notes that even more important to customers than good service is their own valuable time. One of the main findings of their study is about how effort contributes to customer loyalty:

Delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does.

When something isn’t working properly or you can’t figure something out about a new product, what’s the first thing you usually do? More than likely, your first step starts with a G and ends in oogle. We in the customer service industry call that self-service. Attempting to find the answer yourself is a low-effort option that (hopefully) leads to a solution. According to research from Forrester:

53% of U.S. online adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.

It’s What Many Customers Want. Over the past decade, numerous studies have pointed to increasing consumer desires for easily accessible information via a knowledge base. In a recent study by our partners at Zendesk, 91% of customers they surveyed would use a knowledge base if it met their needs. In same study, 67% of respondents said they prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative.

Free up Agent Time for More Meaningful Interactions. When those who prefer self-service are able to get their answers from a knowledge base, those who prefer to interact with a support representative can still do so. An effective knowledge base should enable you to support more customers and reserve agents’ time for more complex inquiries.

Tips for Building an Effective Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is more than an FAQ page (though, an FAQ page is always good start). Of course, just like customers experience good and bad support interactions, there are also good and bad knowledge bases. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re meeting your customers’ needs:

1. Know your biggest contact drivers.

Take the time to look at the tickets and questions your support team receives, and check to make sure the ones driving the most inquiries are answered in your knowledge base. From there, you can work on adding lower contact drivers and other information your customers may seek. You can also design the landing page of your knowledge base to feature answers that are read the most or address a trending question.

2. Understand your customer.

This is important for any type of customer support, but there’s an additional factor to consider when developing a knowledge base. Not only should you understand your customer in terms of who they are demographically and what they want from your company, but also the way they communicate. This is important because it will influence the words they use when they search your knowledge base. Review the ways in which they communicate a question or issue when they contact your support team; use those to test your search function and make sure the right answers appear.

3. Anticipate customer needs.

Are you launching a new product? Releasing an update for your game or app? Changing your return policy or the layout of your website? Don’t wait until the questions start flowing in to update your knowledge base. Instead, brainstorm the questions and issues your customers are most likely to raise, and populate as much information into your knowledge base so that it can be published when your update goes live.

4. Optimize search.

If your customers are already searching the web, your website should be the first result they see. Not only will they trust the solution because it comes from you, but the clearer it is, the less effort they have to put into things like verifying the source or validity of the answer or reading through message board comments to see if the solution posted by a fellow customer actually works.

In the same vein, make sure the search function of your own knowledge base works well. Test it yourself using the keywords and phrases customers associate with certain questions or issues. Do the proper answers appear when you search for those terms?

5. Iterate, iterate, iterate.

This is where a proper analytics tool is essential. Even free platforms like Google Analytics will give you critical information about how your knowledge base is performing. For instance, you can see what terms your customers are searching and test them, as mentioned above, to ensure the right results appear. Another thing you’ll want to look at is how many people are performing subsequent searches or submitting a ticket after their initial search. Activity like this can indicate that an answer was not found or clear, or that the answer provided did not solve the customer’s issue. Use this information to improve existing answers or add new ones.

Building a knowledge base for your customers can seem like a big undertaking, but with the right planning and strategy, the long-term benefits are wholly worth it. Not sure where to start? Drop us a line; we can design, implement, and maintain your knowledge base while you rest easy knowing your customers have the information they need.

Let The Olympic Games Begin – Who, What, Where?

On February 9, 2018, the world will turn its eyes to PyeongChang, South Korea where athletes from 92 nations will gather to compete in seven sports across 15 disciplines for 102 medals. Cue the Winter Olympics.

For the first time, viewers in the U.S. will have access to over 4,000 hours of live coverage as the events happen across all time zones. Depending on where you live in the U.S., South Korea is 14 to 19 hours ahead, and for our team in Derry, Northern Ireland, it’s a 9-hour difference; that means very late nights or early mornings for many of us. To get the most out of the Games, we’ve put together a quick Who, What, Where Guide to help prepare you just in time. Minus the coffee.

The Who? What’s the next best thing than being at the Olympics? Filling your social media feeds with behind-the-scene views and experiences from star athletes, themselves. Here are just a few winter games athletes (and their Instagram handles) we can’t take our eyes off:

  • Shaun White, United States (@shaunwhite): two-time Olympic gold medalist snowboarder
  • Lindsey Vonn, United States (@lindseyvonn): holds the most World Cup titles of any woman skier
  • Pita Taufatofua, Tonga (@pita_tofua): the first Tongan to compete in Olympic cross-country skiing
  • Seun Adigun, Nigeria (@seun_msamazing): driving the first bobsled team to ever represent Africa in the Winter Olympics

The What? No more fear of spoilers before events air this year – all of the games will be broadcasted on NBC (and other various NBC Universal platforms such as NBCSN, USA, and The Olympic Channel), the BBC, as well as on YouTube. Viewers can also live-stream their favorite sports online via the portal as well as on the NBC Sports app.

The Where? Be sure to check NBC’s nifty calendar or the schedule on the official Olympics website to find out which days will have the broadcasts for which sports. First things first: the Opening Ceremony on Friday, February 9th at 11 a.m. GMT (3 a.m. Pacific Standard Time), followed by men’s & pairs figure skating, and freestyle skiing.

And just in case you find yourself at a watch party, here are a few factual treats to help ignite some conversations:

  • PyeongChang Olympic Stadium can hold 35,000 people
  • The torch relay started on October 24, 2017 in Greece and will end at the start of the Olympics on February 9, 2018
  • There will be 7,500 torch bearers to represent the 75 million population living in Korea
  • The estimated cost of hosting the PyeongChang Olympics is $10 billion
  • The most tickets ever sold for the Winter Games was in Calgary 1988
  • Germany is the most successful nation of all time with 14 total medal wins

If you’re a winter sports fan like a lot of us at ModSquad, it’s safe to say your Netflix account will miss you this February.

Will you be watching the Winter Olympics this year? What are some of your favorite events to watch?