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Player support metrics: How to choose and improve KPIs

Over the past year, both the number of gamers and the time spent playing games has risen. The increase in popularity is great news for the games industry, but higher volumes brings its own set of challenges including spikes in customer queries as the demand for player support grows.

Tracking the success of the player support experience and adjusting to the constantly evolving demands of your community is an important part of keeping players satisfied. Self-service tools, like chatbots and FAQs, help automate certain elements of customer care, but when that support is transferred to an agent, the experience must remain at a high standard. To gauge how your player support team is performing, you need to identify and measure the right key performance indicators (KPIs).

When it comes to gaming — where player support engagements often take place over email, chat and in-game support tickets — the type of KPIs to measure will depend on your goals as an organization and the customer service channels you use. Here is a closer look at some of the most common player support metrics used by games companies.

First contact resolution

First contact resolution (FCR) measures the number of customer interactions that are resolved within the first interaction, whether that's via email, chat or another kind of engagement.

It's easy to see why having a high FCR percentage is ideal. It's indicative of a well-prepared and knowledgeable player support team, one that has the expertise and tools to tackle gamer queries within the first exchange. However, FCR gets a bit complicated in an omnichannel world, and successfully using this metric means counting player support touchpoints accurately. For instance, if one of your players asks a question over social media, and are transferred to email to resolve the issue — would this count as one contact or two? It's important to accurately define these situations when evaluating KPIs.

Achieving good FCR rates can sometimes be at odds with safe and secure player support, which often takes place through a ticketing system and requires a bit of back and forth to confirm identity. In order to get the most out of the FCR metric, games companies need to make sure it's not impacting the quality of an interaction, especially in cases where multiple complex issues crop up that require escalation.

Average handle time

Average handle time (AHT) tracks the average duration a player support agent spends "handling" a customer's queries. AHT accounts for everything from the time the player engages with support, to when the agent completes the post-interaction work, including authenticating the player, looking up customer data and making notes after the exchange.

AHT is a great metric for tracking efficiency. A shorter AHT means shorter waits and quick answers for players — and spending less time with players means more tickets can be tackled by an agent. From an organizational perspective, AHT can be used to show the issues your agents are most efficient at answering and highlight player issues where your team could use more support.

However, AHT has some downsides. The metric doesn't necessarily reward longer client interactions, even if those interactions are creating more engaged players and higher levels of satisfaction. With emails, in-game support chat and social media, outside factors can delay player responses, impacting the overall AHT while not actually impacting the player experience. For example, if a player steps away after starting an in-game chat and are delayed to respond to an agent's verification questions, they might be very satisfied but the interaction will not necessarily have a stellar AHT.

Customer effort score

Customer effort score (CES) is a metric that tracks perceived effort in responding to an inquiry. It's rated by the player receiving support and collected through a follow-up survey that asks them to rate an experience on a scale of "very difficult" to "very easy."

The CES metric is an ideal way to track a specific type of interaction between players and your customer care team, whether it be through a live agent or self-service method. For instance, maybe your chatbot is struggling to recognize a common problem players experience while trying to buy an add-on for their character or an expansion pack for a game. If multiple players flag this particular question with a high amount of effort, the chatbot may need additional training.

CES can be a great metric to track success across different stages of the support journey as it takes into account support interactions that tackle various issues across multiple channels. However, CES requires the customer to respond to the survey after an interaction with the support team, and not all will follow through with answers. It can also be limited in its scope in that it may not be representative of how the customer feels about you as a whole, since it only looks at that specific interaction.

Customer satisfaction score

Like CES, a customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is collected through customer feedback usually with a follow-up survey that asks "how would you rate your overall satisfaction" on a scale from very unsatisfied to very satisfied.

It's a simple structure, and given its wide use as a KPI for brands across industries, there's a good chance that most of your players have responded to a CSAT survey request at some point in time. Responses can be gathered from various platforms including voice, in-game chat and email, and the survey can be customized based on the player's region or the personality of your game. For instance, you can use different languages, emojis or icons from your games to personalize it in a way that will make it stand out to the player when they receive the survey.

CSAT can give you valuable insight into how your support team is performing, however, satisfaction can be an abstract term and can take on a different meaning in different regions or countries. It's important to keep in mind that there are cultural biases that can impact its success as an overall metric.

Additional KPIs to consider

The above metrics can provide you with a picture of how your customer care team is performing, but that's only a slice of the overall player experience.

Another key metric to monitor is the engagement score of your player support team. An engaged, inspired agent is ready to own the customer experience from end-to-end, resulting in greater innovation and better customer outcomes. That's why it's important to foster a caring culture that invests in the well-being and development of your team members.

And while KPIs are helpful, so is listening to your community. For a lot of gamers, community is what enriches the game. Even if it's not about playing together, forums and streaming sites give players a place to bond over games and build connections. User-generated content — everything from social media posts to video game reviews — provides insight into the player's journey. Incorporating a strong content moderation practice in your CX strategy allows you to draw insight from your community while keeping them safe, but requires an entirely different set of KPIs to consider.

In the end, it's evident that no single metric is the key to unlocking player support success, but determining your brand's objectives will help narrow the scope. Once you've selected the right KPIs to measure, you're ready to focus on the bigger task at hand: improvement. After all, high scores are meant to be broken!

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