TMCnews Featured Article
Digital Media Exchange Using Parature's Customer Support Software for In-game Support
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
And with the proliferation of advanced mobile broadband services and devices – which also give users access to MMOGs – the online gaming industry is poised to blossom into something huge over the next several years.
Obviously it’s not feasible to support all the users of these MMOGs using live customer support. It’s not like you can set up a call center and give everyone a toll-free number to dial every time they have a question. Nor would it even make economic sense, since many MMOGs are offered to users free of charge and thus aren’t necessarily “revenue generating.”
So how do the companies that provide support for these games handle the millions of not tens of millions of users who are online at any given time?
Self-service options supported by the portal include a knowledge base (i.e. FAQ) where gamers can get answers to basic questions without having to wait on hold to speak with a live agent -- and forums where they can start discussions with other gamers about game strategies or to solve problems. In addition gamers can open up a chat session with a live agent, if chat is made available. What’s more they can download documentation – such as a player’s guide or schematic – directly from the portal via a download module.
The beauty of the system is its flexibility: The gaming company or the Web site operator decides on which self-serve elements are included on the portal (for example, live chat might not be an option), thus optimizing the self-serve experience. In addition the portal can be designed to match the rest of the Web site – it can include the gaming company or host’s branding, logos, art, colors, fonts, etc. so that a user never knows he or she has left the main Web site.
The other huge benefit of deploying Parature’s customer support software is that it acts as a central repository for all customer (or in this case gamer) interactions. Gaming companies can use the user feedback captured by the system to improve game designs, troubleshoot problems and learn more about what gamers are looking for in their online game experiences.
During a recent interview with TMCnet, Gary McNeil, vice president of marketing, Parature, said the company is seeing rapid growth in the online gaming vertical, thanks to the fact that its customer support software, which is delivered via the software-as-a-service model, is ideally suited to online gaming platforms.
“Online gaming is a very large and fast growing market for us,” McNeil said. “For example, the massively multiplayer online games, or MMOGs, are huge: We sold LEGO, we sold IGN, which is under the FOX brand, we sold Turner -- you’re familiar with the Turner brands, amongst them NBA.com, NASCAR.com, FusionFall -- very, very fast growing.”
“Second Life powers it support with Parature,” McNeil continued. “So if you’re in Second Life and you have your avatar on an island somewhere, and you need to figure out how to pay someone or move off the island or change your avatar, anything to do with support, normally you would have to leave the virtual world in order to get your answer. That means you might become disengaged. But we have in-game chat now for gaming: You can just click on that button while you’re there: launch a chat, get your answer, and boom, you’re back in, doing what you want to do, which is play game, not waste time asking questions. Linden Labs, the maker of Second Life, uses Parature to support all their users around the globe, using both knowledge base and in-game chat.”
The trend continues with Parature’s new partnership with Digital Media Exchange – which last week announced that it is now the exclusive business partner in the Philippines for the Facebook featured game, Nindou.
Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard