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April 05, 2010

IGN Entertainment Signs up Parature for Support

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor


In the U.S. alone, computer and videogame software sales topped $11.7 billion in 2008. Millions of gaming fans, online looking for content, news and tips, and lots go to IGN Entertainment sites.

A unit of Fox Interactive Media, IGN is an Internet media and services provider with news, reviews, videos, previews and forums. Not shockingly, IGN sites attract one of the largest concentrated - and licitly-counted - audiences of young males online.

In a given month, tens of millions of unique users visit one of IGN's targeted sites, which include IGN.com, GameSpy.com, Direct2Drive.com and AskMen.com. Across all sites, the company's customer service department fields 12,000 support inquiries every month.

The problem was, "a person had to answer every email," said Chris Henderson, senior manager, customer service, IGN Entertainment. "The tipping point was a large beta release where we had more than 9,000 email requests in three days.

That's a lot of wasted effort, especially since 95 percent of all questions are redundant. So Henderson chose Parature (News - Alert) Customer Service software to help with self-support.

Customer support software provider Parature "stood out for its ease of use, self-service features and multi-language capabilities," Henderson said, adding that she liked "the simplicity of customizing the look of each self-service support portal to match the theme or current game release."

Because if a huge game is the focus, "the ability to modify our support to represent that graphically is essential," Henderson said.

At the end of March TMC's (News - Alert) Patrick Barnard reported that Parature introduced the Helpstream Switch Easy program, a program to help companies make a fast and smooth transition from Helpstream to the Parature Customer Service software suite.

"The team will manage the transition from start to finish, including reviewing the existing Helpstream system and assisting in carrying out feature setup," Barnard wrote.

From one back end, IGN supports 12 different self-service portals, each customized and changed regularly based on the audience and the site's theme. Approximately 200,000 end users access the support portals every month for articles, FAQs, graphics and videos to help them answer their questions.

The volume of those accessing self-service has grown to an impressive 92 percent of all inquires.

When end users do log a support request, IGN resolves 57 percent of tickets with auto-responders through the Parature system, Henderson says: "All tickets are logged via the Parature Ticket module, which manages automated customer notifications, as well as automated routing and alerts to team members when an inquiry remains open a certain amount of time."

To achieve an equivalent quality of service without Parature, Henderson estimates that she would need to double her team of 10 CSRs. "Simply put, Parature is 50 percent of my work force. With Parature, I am able to use fewer CSRs, keeping my staffing budget low."

To download a free customer case study and learn more about how Parature improved IGN's customer support, click here.


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Patrick Barnard




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