Mod of the Month – March 2017

It’s that time again! Our March Mod of the Month has magnificently mastered moderation, as well as less alliterative tasks of customer support and fraud prevention. Applauded by her colleagues for her can-do attitude and cheerful personality, the March 2017 Mod of the Month is none other than Kelsey Escolar!

Kelsey joined ModSquad in April 2016 and works out of our Sacramento, California operations center. In the year she’s been a Mod, she’s proven to be an invaluable asset, providing customer service, fraud monitoring, and social media moderation for a number of our apparel retail clients. She makes it very clear that she loves her work and the people she works with.

I have never worked with a more dynamic group of people. Management here is awesome and truly works to help everyone succeed. So far my employment for this company has been nothing short of a wonderful adventure.

For her first ModSquad project, Kelsey provided customer support via phone and email for our client J Brand, a premium denim and fashion company. She continues to work on our J Brand team, monitoring and regulating the team’s work around fraud prevention. Kelsey also handles time-sensitive payment disputes for our client Bendon, a purveyor of premium lingerie like Heidi Klum Intimates.

Kelsey is extremely passionate about all forms of customer support and loves collaborating with teammates to ensure both clients and customers get the best possible service. Her projects at ModSquad have allowed her to hone existing skills as well as learn new ones.

Working here has drastically expanded my skills and opened new doors for my personal goals within the company. Working with and alongside management is very fulfilling for me, and I truly enjoy interacting with my teams in order to provide the best experience for them and the customers we speak directly to.

When Kelsey isn’t working, she’s pursuing her passions as an artist. She currently makes large paintings, micro paintings, and sculptures from repurposed tree branches. The historical building she calls home in downtown Sacramento provides artist housing and allows Kelsey the opportunity to share her work with the public in its monthly studio gallery-type showings.

When asked about Kelsey, the project managers who’ve worked with her had no shortage of praise.

“Kelsey is a superstar at phone and ticket support, and she works ridiculously hard behind the scenes to make work go smoothly for the rest of her teams. She has taken point on helping establish and develop new tools and services for our clients, as well as helped mentor new Mods.

“She’s beloved by her teammates for her sunny can-do attitude, her infectious work ethic, her caring and fun-loving nature, and her ability to find the silver lining on any dark cloud. Our clients love her, too, because she’s attentive, professional, and detail-oriented, and she’s among the first to spot trends or issues that might need a client’s attention.

“I can count on Kelsey to take on any new assignment with a smile, always going above and beyond to conquer even the most mountainous of tasks. She takes teamwork to the next level!”
—Rabbit Korbin, Project Manager

“I could sing Kelsey’s praises for days, and it still would not be enough. She has quickly proven herself to be an invaluable part of our team, whether it’s working with management to handle sensitive issues or switching gears in an instant to change an existing workflow. Her work ethic is outstanding, her quality is amazing, and she’s always a happy ball of sunshine!”
—Crystal Litzau, Project Manager

“Kelsey does a near-flawless job on my project and takes so much stress off her managers’ shoulders. No matter how hectic a day gets, we know that Kelsey will get things done. She is so friendly and cheerful that just talking to her (even through Skype chat) makes my day better. Always hardworking, dedicated, and responsible, Kelsey is the perfect Mod!”
—Katie Bragg, Project Manager

That’s a Wrap on SXSW!

It seems like only yesterday we were shaking hands, trading business cards, showing off our dance moves, and generally making a splash at the SXSW Trade Show. We were thrilled to share our ModSourcing story and explain how we help our clients keep their customers happy through social media management, content moderation, community management, and customer support.

For our first year at the festival, we certainly made a name for ourselves! Other companies had some fantastic features and unique booths, but there was something about our pigeon giveaway that had attendees returning to our booth. Or maybe it was our irresistible charm — yes, let’s go with that.

For anyone who wasn’t following our SXSW adventures as they played out on social media, we put together a recap of some of the highlights. We had a great time meeting so many people and experiencing the festival… we can’t wait to be back next year!

A post shared by ModSquad (@modsquadinc) on

Behold, Booth 523!

Lovely booth babes gave all our visitors a warm welcome.

We loved seeing so many photos taken on our #ModSourcing Vespa!

A post shared by dead leaf echo (@deadleafecho) on

On Tuesday, we hit the Pitch Stage to show SXSW what ModSourcing is all about.

Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to Austin…

Or rather, “see you soon.” We’re excited to move into our new Austin office this Spring!

And of course, we can’t wait to be back at SXSW in 2018.

Director Profile: Jason Ferguson

Welcome to the premier installment of our new Director Profile series, in which we speak with some of the movers and shakers here at ModSquad. To kick things off, we’d like to introduce you to Jason Ferguson, our Director of Client Services. Jason’s a familiar face and name to the vast majority of our Mods, having worked his way up through the company, starting off as a Mod himself and transitioning to new roles with greater responsibilities in his time here at ModSquad. During that time, Jason made his way from his Atlanta home to join us at our Sacramento Operations Center. In his downtime, you’ll find Jason at his Folsom, California home with his wife and his young son, the latter of whom he’s trying to get into Star Wars. Says Jason, “I enjoy playing video and board games, sci-fi/fantasy, Star Trek, Star Wars… the typical nerd stuff.”

So you’ve been with ModSquad almost from the beginning.

Maybe a year or so after it started. I was here before any of our VPs. It’s been a long time.

Where were you before that?

I spent a lot of time online and I was a gamer. At the time I really wanted to get into gaming community management, so that’s kind of how I got here in the first place.

Before I came to ModSquad, I worked for a company called Sulake. They’re still around. They make Habbo and they also built and operated Virtual Magic Kingdom for Disney. I was a moderator in that game, which was one of my favorites. It was fun, Disney-themed, and kind of cute. It was a really well-built game with very thorough policies and lots of great moderation tools. I was always really impressed with what they did over there.

When that closed, I got a position as a community manager for a virtual world for kids called Elf Island, but it was a startup and didn’t last. The virtual-world-for-kids boom sort of burst. At that point, I came to ModSquad.

For my first project at ModSquad, I was a moderator for Webosaurs. The company was much smaller than it is now, but it was still growing quite a bit, so I managed to get on other projects as well. And it took off from there, going from working a few hours a week on the side to working as a full-time community manager for about a year. After that, I was a project manager, running some of my own projects. And then I took another job for 15 months, but when I came back, I did so as an account manager. And since June 2014, I’ve been Director of Client Services.

Can you describe what a director does?

I supervise our account managers, help launch new projects, and work to streamline and improve our service offerings. We’ve got nine account managers, each of whom oversees their own accounts with project managers and many Mods. So that’s a lot of people down the list, but I’m directly managing nine account managers.

With new projects, I’m involved from the beginning to ensure that it launches smoothly. I’ll be on kickoff calls and get directly involved with complicated launches, so that things go well. I assist our account managers when they need backup; whether they need help with a launch or they need to quickly fulfill an urgent need for a client, I’ll jump in and help.

Streamlining service offerings — what does that entail?

I ensure that we’re being consistent across the board, in terms of our policies, procedures, or expectations. I’ll establish project-launch checklists or set procedures for how we handle the kickoff or end of a project.

What sets ModSquad apart, in your opinion?

I would say the big thing is flexibility. I hear that both internally, obviously, but also from my own experience with our clients. One client, a food-delivery service, is always telling us that they’re amazed at how flexible we are. They’ll come to us with an urgent need for quite a few more hours, and we’ll get it staffed. Then, once we’ve handled all of their customer-support tickets, we let them know that they might want to scale back a bit. The fact that we’re so flexible going up or down when they need us has been something that has set us apart for them. They really enjoy working with us, and their favorite part is knowing how we can just do whatever they need us to do.

We have a diverse pool of talent, so basically whatever a client might need, we can provide it. We have people with different skill sets, different languages. We might be doing customer support for a client and they’ll realize we do moderation or QA, which they also need. They’re always impressed to hear about all the different things we have to offer.

Any great stories that stand out in your memory?

I remember when we started with Plain Vanilla Games, they were small. Their app, QuizUp, wasn’t even released yet. We started out doing a one-time five-hour QA engagement with them. And that ended up turning into recurring weekly QA, which grew into moderation once they launched their project. That grew into customer support, and as the game became more and more popular, they had even more service needs that we helped them with. At the time, everybody was playing QuizUp. I’d log into social media and everybody was talking about it. It’s great to see your clients be successful, to watch TV and see a commercial for your client come on and know that you played a part in that.

Mods Enrich a Global Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day

When Kermit told the world, “it’s not easy being green,” he had clearly never met our friends at Tourism Ireland! Ireland is green year-round, but St. Patrick’s Day is even more noteworthy because the whole world turns green. We couldn’t be more excited to support Tourism Ireland in their celebrations of the holiday and Irish culture.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, Tourism Ireland, together with local partners around the world, will roll out its annual Global Greening, turning iconic buildings and monuments green. From Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, to the Great Wall of China, to the Empire State Building in New York City, Irish pride will be hard to miss! Many of our Mods – located in our Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland operations centre and remotely around the world – are already very busy as they actively engage visitors and fans across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In addition to our day-to-day work sharing the beauty of Ireland with overseas travelers, our Mods are getting the word out about St. Patrick’s Day events taking place across the island. They’re also monitoring and engaging influencers on social media, facilitating a photo competition on Instagram, chatting with fans during a livestream of a St Patrick’s Day concert, and engaging with fans during a live feed of the Dublin St Patrick’s Day parade.

Our team is already seeing increased chatter on Tourism Ireland’s channels, and we are preparing for even more great interactions and opportunities to build community and encourage Irish travel year-round. And after the fairy dust settles following the excitement of St. Patrick’s Day, our Mods will still be online, helping travelers plan their dream vacations to the Emerald Isle.

New Kid on the Block: ModSquad Office Opening in Austin, Texas

A couple of days ago, we made our South by Southwest debut. Austin, Texas will never be the same… literally. While we’ll soon be packing up our booth, we’re excited to share that this won’t be just a one-time visit to ATX. SXSW may grace the city only once a year, but ModSquad is taking up permanent residence in the Silicon Hills. Our new Austin office is set to open in May 2017!

While the majority of our 10,000+ Mods around the world work remotely, our Austin office will augment our existing operation centers in Sacramento, California, and Londonderry, Northern Ireland. As the home base for our Services and Business Operations teams, planting roots in Austin will allow us to enhance our relationships with our clients in and around Austin, as well as build new ones.

“Austin is a business-friendly hub with vibrant tech, video game, and e-commerce sectors, and we’ve been considering an expansion here for quite some time. We already have a number of clients and employees based in Austin and we’re excited to have an even larger and more involved presence now.” —Amy Pritchard, CEO

Our new office is located at 1611 West Avenue, in the historic Edgar Perry House. The house is a perfect representation of ModSquad’s mission, which is to provide a comfortable, inviting workplace that’s the polar opposite of your traditional cube farm. With its large windows welcoming in the bright Austin sun, our Ops Center workers will be positioned throughout the house’s many architecturally unique rooms. ModSquad knows that creating a welcoming, collaborative environment for our people is the best way to ensure their success. And that’s reflected in the work we do for our clients.

Built in 1909, the house has been home to a number of prominent figures in Austin’s history, including Edgar Perry himself, a well-known cotton merchant focused on making Austin “a nicer place to live.” A supporter of the YWCA and the Austin Symphony, Perry was a founding board member of The Austin Club and was one of the initial developers of Highland Park West and Highland Park neighborhoods.

Nobody has told us for sure whether the house is haunted, but if it is, we hope Perry will visit us to share some of his business skills. The technology we use to support our clients is a bit more advanced than the cotton gin, but we’re sure Perry would be happy to know we’re as committed as he was to seeing Austin flourish. And that starts with the smart, polished people who will be populating ModSquad’s latest digs.

One thing’s for certain — when SXSW 2018 rolls around, we’ll have a lot less traveling to do to get there.

downtown Austin pano.jpg” by Steve is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Brace for Impact, Austin: ModSquad’s Coming to SXSW!

Austin’s been long considered a cool, hip town? But is it MOD enough? It is now!

Alert the authorities: ModSquad’s comin’ to town.

We’re launching our Austin invasion with a rip-roaring appearance at this year’s South by Southwest festival. We’ll be tearing it up at the conference’s Trade Show, which runs from Sunday, March 12 through Wednesday, March 15. Come visit us at booths 523-525 to:

  • Hoard some free Mod swag: We’re giving away stickers, tattoos, and… wait for it… View-Masters! Who doesn’t love View-Masters?
  • Charge your devices in a charging station that’s the envy of Time Lords everywhere.
  • Get your photo taken on a Vespa, make it your new profile picture, and presto — you’ve just become two or three notches hotter!
  • Pick your jaw up from the floor as you stare in wonder at our one-of-a-kind event space. Seriously, it will blow your mind.
  • We’ll be hosting a Meet & Greet, at the ModSquad booth on Sunday, March 12 at 3pm. Stop by for some complimentary refreshments and beverages (including the adult kind).

Then, on Tuesday, March 14, ModSquad takes the stage… the pitch stage, that is! In this fast-moving showcase, exhibitors present their products and services to attendees. We’ll be preaching the ModSquad gospel to the unconverted — don’t miss it!

Finally, if you’re down in Austin for SXSW, you automatically earn a few cool points. Why not up the ante and let everyone know you’ll be hangin’ with ModSquad? Share this article with your coworkers, friends, and family. If they (or you) are going to be in Austin next week, we’d love to have the chance to meet up!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

ADDRESS:

SXSW
Austin Convention Center
Trade Show – Exhibit Halls 2, 3 & 4
531 East 4th Street
Austin, TX
Visit ModSquad at booth 523 of the Trade Show.

EXHIBITION HOURS

Sunday, March 12: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Monday, March 13: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Tuesday, March 14: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Wednesday, March 15: 10 a.m. — 2 p.m.

MODSQUAD MEET & GREET

SXSW Trade Show, booth 523
Sunday, March 12 at 3:00 p.m.

MODSQUAD AT THE SXSW PITCH STAGE

SXSW Trade Show
Category: Content & Social Engagement
Tuesday, March 14 at 1:30 p.m.

The 7 Essential Elements of Customer Communication

Happy Alexander Graham Bell Day! It was 141 years ago today that the Scottish inventor was granted a patent for the technology that would eventually be known as the telephone. To honor this achievement, the day was recognized by legislature in Bell’s later homeland, Nova Scotia, Canada.

From Bell’s first crackling telephone call to Watson to the myriad of communication tools we have now, clear and timely communication with your customers has never been more complex. With customer service issues posted to social media and 24/7 call center expectations, keeping your customers happy is a monster job. Despite the channel proliferation, some tried and true tips will carry you through effective and productive interactions with your customers, whether they’re reaching out via an old school landline or chatting from their smart watch.

1. Take the time to listen, actively.

Everyone wants to be heard, and your customers are no different. Don’t assume you know where they’re going with their call; in trying to expedite things, you may wind up interrupting and frustrating them. Instead, hear them out. Also, let the caller know you’re with them through brief verbal interjections; confirmations such as “I see” let the speaker know there’s someone taking it all in on the other end.

2. Be empathetic.

Not only do you want to utilize “people persons” in customer support roles, you want some with healthy senses of empathy. Your reps should know how to read your customers’ moods and be able to understand their trigger points. They should know what it’s like to be on the other end of that dialogue and feel their pain or frustration – and turn it into a dignified moment of positive interaction. As a bonus, if you have support teams who feel like they’re part of the customers’ worlds (as we do by assigning Mods to projects for which they have an innate passion), then you’re already ahead of the game.

3. Be considerate of those who have trouble with technology.

We’ve all seen the memes and read the stories about callers whose bafflement with some of the tools we take for granted led to the creation of the acronym PEBKAC. Keep in mind that everyone takes to tech at different speeds, and be ready to adjust accordingly. Minimize the use of confusing terminology. Try to use analogies to explain technical concepts to your callers; for example, when describing browser or site security, paint a verbal picture of a secured building (such as a bank) and layer in the details in that manner.

4. Anticipate questions and problems.

As you deal with customers from around the globe, as we do 24/7, you see patterns in problems and customer responses that you can work to get in front of. Have a customer who knows a bit about the problem at hand, but not as much as they think they do? Word your end of the conversation to use that level of knowledge as a jumping-off point. Curating a robust knowledge base allows your more base-level agents to provide quality assistance to your audience in an expeditious manner.

5. Keep the customer informed — on their preferred channel.

Don’t keep your customer in the dark. If you plan to get back to them within 24 hours, let them know that. Set their expectations (and then try to exceed them). Waiting on a vital bit of information or a product shipment? Keep your customer in the loop. If they express an interest in communicating through a specific channel, do your best to maintain your conversation in that same channel. Don’t expect them to bend over backwards to access important updates.

6. Be a mystery shopper with your support team.

This concept isn’t just for real-world retailers. Want to know how your team is treating your customers? Sure, you can always go to the audiotape (if we may date ourselves). That’s why we’re always being warned that our telephoned pleas for help are being recorded “for quality assurance purposes.” Go one step beyond and get on the horn or behind the keyboard and reach out yourself. Play the part of a flummoxed buyer. Go ahead, be confused. Be annoying. Put your team to the test. The results may be enlightening.

7. Bring in outside professionals to help.

Sometimes you have to know when to call in the troops. Maybe you have a major product launch. Perhaps your team is planning concurrent vacations. Don’t make your customers pay the price with longer hold times and harried reps. Look to bring in a managed team of professionals in your space who are comfortable with your tools and fans of your brand. Staff up as needed without going through the hassle of hiring and training. And pay only for the coverage you need. We know just the folks you should call.

 
Alexander Graham Bell Museum” by Espino Family is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

ModSquad’s SXSW 2017 Attendee Guide

Less than two weeks from now, tens of thousands of people will descend upon Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference — and ModSquad will be among them! We can’t wait share ModSquad’s unique story with like-minded gaming, music, and technology enthusiasts, all while enjoying the quirkiness that is Austin.

While this is our debut year at SXSW, we at ModSquad have attended our fair share of conferences, so we’ve put together our very own guide for attendees. Whether you’re a local Austinite and SXSW veteran or an out-of-towner flying in for the first time, we’ve gathered tips we think are sure to help you make the most of your time at the event.

SXSW 2017 Panels You Won’t Want to Miss

If you’re reading this blog, you probably share some of our interests in things like digital media, community management and moderation, customer service, gaming, remote work, and technology. Here’s a list of the panels we’ll definitely be checking out and think you’ll want to, as well.

Networking Sucks. Build Communities People Love
Friday, Mar. 10, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
“From local groups to national organizations to podcast communities, our panel of successful leaders will discuss how to create a community that people absolutely love.” Read more…
Trolls: To Feed or Not to Feed
Saturday, Mar. 11, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
“In this session, social media community managers come face-to-face with their page trolls. Hear some horror stories from the social media managers responsible for keeping a page clean, and hear what drove the blasting from some of the internet’s top trolls.” Read more…
How Do You Keep Your Company Human in 2030?
Sunday, Mar. 12, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
“In the foreseeable future, the unprecedented rate of technological progress in AI, digitalization, AR/VR, and automation will once again force us to reimagine the definition of meaningful work. Every aspect of companies, from their culture to how they connect with customers, is going to be challenged.” Read more…
Living Brands: Design With – Not For – Customers
Sunday, Mar. 12, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
“To thrive, brands must atomize and create bespoke experiences that deliver against their promise. They must become Living Brands to forge relationships with users, with experiences that are available anytime, anywhere. But how can brands remain recognizable when the visible becomes invisible?” Read more…
The Social, Sharing, and Streaming Future of VR
Friday, Mar. 17, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
“A common concern about virtual reality is how isolating it might be. … Join Adam Arrigo (TheWaveVR), Alex Schwartz (Owlchemy Labs), Bruce Wooden (AltspaceVR) and Tadhg Kelly (VREAL) as they discuss the social side of virtual reality.” Read more…
AR: Bringing the Magic Back to Gaming
Friday, Mar. 17, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
“Jeri Ellsworth, co-founder of castAR, will discuss the state of AR in a post-Pokemon GO world, redefining social gaming in the digital age, lessons learned in hardware and software development, and why gaming is the perfect entry point for mass-market adoption of AR technology.” Read more…
(Re)Exploring Gaming for VR
Saturday, Mar. 18, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
“In 2016, we saw many great examples of existing game genres being translated into VR, but as much as gaming needed to be redefined for success on mobile, we continue to face the same challenge with VR.” Read more…

 

5 Ways to Make 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 at the right location.
  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.
    • Pro Tip: Follow@FreeShitGuide (they named it, not us…) to stay informed on which booth has the coolest swag.
  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.
    • Pro Tip: If you device needs a battery boost, just come by ModSquad’s booth (#523) and take advantage of our free charging stations.
  5. Wear sunscreen. Don’t underestimate the power of the Texas sun. Bring some SPF 30 (or higher) and reapply whenever you’re venturing outdoors. A hat is also a great idea (and will keep you from squinting in all the selfies you’re bound to take).

Visit ModSquad at SXSW!

Okay, perhaps we’re a little biased, but we’re confident that if there’s one thing that can’t be missed at SXSW this year, it’s ModSquad’s booth (#523). Our meet-and-greet on Sunday (March 12) from 3-4 p.m. is the perfect way to kick off your SXSW experience, with great company and photo ops.

Will you be at SXSW this year? What events or speakers are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. Trust us on the sunscreen. 😉

Mod of the Month – February 2017

While many around the world saved their displays of affection for Valentine’s Day earlier this month, we at ModSquad think showing love for the people who make a difference in your life should be an ongoing activity. In addition to our frequent internal digital high-fives and random shout-outs to our great colleagues, we have a monthly tradition of sharing our appreciation for a Mod whose awesomeness deserves recognition. This month, our February 2017 Mod of the Month is Tanya Brandi!

Based in Italy, Tanya joined ModSquad in October 2015 after being referred by fellow Mod Anna G. She quickly proved her brilliant customer support skills and passion for helping others. She’s been an invaluable asset to the support of two of our gaming clients, including Wooga, providing assistance to their Italian-speaking customers. She also provides Italian translation of English content whenever her clients need it.

I love helping people, especially in matters in which I have an interest (gaming being one), and I really enjoy interacting with customers. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but solving a case is incredibly rewarding. When players come back thanking you for an explanation or for helping them through an issue, it’s a great feeling.

For Tanya, the most important part of her work is ensuring clear communication with customers, especially regarding technical issues or game mechanics. That means taking extra care to break things down, explaining troubleshooting instructions step by step, and always reassuring customers that she’s happy to help them.

Sometimes an extra explanation can turn a case from sour to well-received! It’s something I work hard on.

She’s also always on the lookout for ways in which we can further help clients. For instance, in reviewing a game’s FAQ, Tanya noticed there was more information available to players in English than there was in Italian. She raised this concern to her project manager, who brought it to the client. This attention to detail and dedication to helping the Italian player community earned Tanya and her team praise from the client.

In addition to her passion for helping people, Tanya loves video games, comics, anything and everything Disney, and her dog Sammy. She collects figurines of her favorite game and comic characters, and occasionally enjoys cosplaying. In and outside of work, Tanya’s cheerful attitude helps her in her goal of bringing a little bit of sunshine wherever she goes.

In case you weren’t convinced of Tanya’s sheer awesomeness, here are just some of the fabulous accolades shared by her project and assistant project managers:

“Tanya has always been amazing, but this month she surpassed all of my expectations. Our client’s game broke for players in Tanya’s region, on a Saturday morning, with nobody else around to help. Tanya handled the crisis herself, collected all the necessary details on the issue, found and tested the cause in-game, and helped me relay everything to the client. By the time the game’s developers were made aware, we already had the details they needed for a quick resolution. Tanya is simply perfect. I wouldn’t give her up for anything in the world!”
—Lara Greco, Project Manager

“Tanya’s QAs are one of the best on our team week after week. If she slips in even the smallest way, she jumps right on the problem and is quick to learn and correct herself. No excuses, only solutions. She is always positive and a dedicated team player.”
—Samantha Walker, Project Manager

“I love Tanya and wish we could clone her! She has an amazing attitude and is great with following all new policies and procedures down to the last letter. She is one of those Mods who, when an issue arises, is there with all the relevant information, as well as suggestions for how to fix it.”
—Matea Makek, Assistant Project Manager

“Tanya is always positive, helping the team as the best Mod leader I’ve ever seen. She’s always stepping up with additional community monitoring, browsing additional information channels, and posting helpful notes. In a fast-changing environment, Tanya’s flexibility and creativity in urgent situations are invaluable.”
—Anna Veretennyk, Assistant Project Manager

“Tanya is really awesome, always ready to help her team and really meticulous in every task she takes on. Clever and resourceful, Tanya is one of the most reliable Mods I have ever met!”
—Alessandra Ghiselli, Assistant Project Manager

“I don’t even know where to start. Is it her marvelous attitude? The ease with which she gets all tasks done? Her astonishing and always eager mentality when helping others? All I know is: she rocks…. HARD!”
—Hauke Denissen, Assistant Project Manager

The Reality of Supporting Virtual Communities

As next week’s annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) draws near, one portion we’re particularly looking forward to this year is VRDC, or the Virtual Reality Developers Conference, taking place Monday and Tuesday, February 27-28. We’re excited to not only attend the event, but sponsor it as well — be sure to visit us at booth TT08!

GDC is always an exciting event for us and one we attend each year. As passionate as we are about games, so are we about the technologies that fuel them, particularly virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These technologies change not only how consumers experience games, but also how they interact with other players, and moreover, how we ensure player safety in a virtual world. As they become a bigger mainstay of gaming technology, developers will have to ensure proper tools are in place to both monitor and take action on player activity in virtual worlds.

While the technology is still somewhat new, we’ve been considering their impact on community and player behavior for quite a while. At last year’s annual Austin Game Conference, our SVP of Global Operations Rich Weil joined some industry friends to lead two panels: one on Moderation in Virtual Reality, and the other on Building a Lasting Community Influencer Program (for VR and Beyond).

In those panels, Rich explained that larger, multiplayer VR games have the capacity to drive the same emotional attachment from players that early MMO games did. Of course, the nature of VR poses new avenues for in-game harassment and griefing, especially within games that compel such passionate fan bases. It’s quite likely we’ll see an uptick in game companies investing in in-game moderation and monitoring presences by community teams.

Some might shy away from challenges like these; at ModSquad, we see them as an opportunity to expand the services we provide. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. ModSquad has been fortunate to work with a truly forward-thinking client who’s leading the way in the field of augmented reality gaming. Our Mods were tasked with the momentous job of global brand and community protection and international customer support.

A lot of today’s AR experiences are hosted within mobile applications using a device’s built-in camera. That means endless possibilities for screenshots and video captures, which is an enormous moderation undertaking. Unsavory real-life imagery shared across social media overlaid with your app’s branding? Maybe not what you had in mind when you got excited about user-generated content. Having a team of moderators on tap to monitor what’s being shared is essential. In the future, we expect to also see developers setting limits on how/when/where screenshots can be captured within the app.

In addition to digital safety, VR and AR present the complication of physical, real-world safety. With the developments we’ve seen over just the past year, we look forward to seeing a renewed focus on tutorials that guide players through safe use and best practices.

It’s experiences and insights like these that make us eager to reconnect with peers and partners at VRDC this year, as well as meet new friends and learn about their exciting plans for the industry.

Will you be at VRDC? Come say hello! ModSquad will be at location TT08. We can’t wait to see you!

 

D5X_8984” by Official GDC is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
D5X_7338” by Official GDC is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
D5X_7934” by Official GDC is licensed under CC BY 2.0.