Poor Customer Service Leads to Missed Revenue

As you may know, ModSquad — a provider of outsourced customer support to premier brands — got its start providing digital engagement services within the virtual world of Second Life. In the nine ensuing years, we’ve worked with most of the top game companies around. It’s an industry that’s near and dear to our hearts. That’s why I was so disappointed to have a miserable customer-support experience with a mobile game with which you’re probably familiar.

The game and company name will be unmentioned (to protect the guilty!), but know that this is a game from one of the top game studios, not some trivial upstart. App Annie gives the game in question a high rating; it’s actually one of their Editor’s Choice picks. But it’s not a top-grossing game, and I think I stumbled across one of the primary reasons.

I’m not a hardcore gamer by any means, but was using this game as a pleasant diversion when I needed a quick mental break. While playing the game on my mobile phone, I ran across an issue with an in-app purchase and I needed help. (No, it was not that I was stuck on level two, wiseguys…)

Now, if you’re using a mobile device, you need to be able to ask for help within the app you’re using. You shouldn’t realistically be expected to run to the nearest desktop to ask for help. Yet for some sadistic reason, that’s exactly what this company seemed to expect from their players. Because when I accessed their Help page, it directed me to their non-mobile-friendly website. Talk about a downer, especially when you have to fill out a form. If they’d been smart, not only would a help section been embedded in the app, but it would have automatically pulled in some of my information, such as device, OS, app version, and, oh yeah, recent purchases.

After the frustration of expanding the page to access form fields, typing out my information, pinching the page to move to the next field, and repeating this process, oh, several dozen times, I sent off my digital cry for help. And, boy did I need a drink.

Thankfully, the gaming gods were apparently in a merciful mood, as I received a quick response. A very, very long auto-response, as it turned out. I plowed through this email with all of its not-so-helpful suggestions and decided to follow the provided link to see if I could find a resolution. Guess what? It was a dead link, leading to a 404 error page. My nerves were getting fried, and I had the choice of either smashing my phone in frustration or reaching for another drink. It was an easy choice.

After taking the edge off, I took a deep breath and descended further into Dante’s next level of Hell, e-mailing the company back to let them know that their auto-missive provided no relief whatsoever. I waited. And waited. 12 hours went by. 24 hours. 48. Nothing. Crickets. I emailed again, asking for a credit this time on my in-app purchase. Finally, days later, I got a note from this high-end, major game company saying, “Since we haven’t heard back from you, we’re closing this ticket.” At this point, I ran the risk of going off on a full-blown bender. So much for my mild pleasant diversion. With fun like this, I’ll stick with work.

And since my work depends so heavily upon the first-class customer support that ModSquad offers its clients, it baffles me how a company like the one in question could so completely drop the ball on providing even a semblance of competent support. There was no embedded support and limited ability to access their game hub (which didn’t support mobile usage). Their scripted auto-answer was irrelevant to my question, and included dead links. And when I followed up again directly on a purchase, I didn’t hear back for days, with the issue going unresolved (to this day).

There’s tremendous opportunity for companies to enhance their customers’ mobile experience and up-sell users. Last year, people who spent money within their free-to-play mobile games plunked down an average of $87 on in-app purchases. That’s just $5 less than those gamers who play on traditional PC and console players, the ones we think of when we imagine hardcore gamers. With that kind of money on the table, it’s just irresponsible to ignore your mobile audience with inept service. Obviously, I wasn’t going to spend any more on in-app purchases for this game — or likely any other game from this publisher. That’s lost revenue.

We live and breathe great support, and have a long history of working with the top gaming companies. So it irritates me to no end when I hear of stories like this. But to have lived through it… Don’t get me started. Where’s my glass?

Mary Lex
SVP Business Development

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