outsource support

Empathy Manual For Any Outsource Gaming Support Agent

Outsourced gaming support can be empathetic too

Outsource support is not equal to less understanding and empathy

It’s understandable that some would hesitate to outsource support even if it’s the cheaper alternative to keeping support in-house. Support is after all, a core function of free-to-play development.

Outsourced support teams are usually the first contact players make directly with the developers, and so effectively become the face of the developer/studio in many occasions.

The important thing is to make sure outsourced support teams understand their important role in the player-developer relationship.

Another way to make sure that a developer and his outsource gaming support team is on the same page is to teach the agents how to empathize with the type of people that they’re providing support to.

There’s a step-by-step way of showing agents how to do that, and it’s by using nursing scholar Theresa Wiseman’s study of the 4 elements of empathy.:

1.) See their world

At the end of every support email is a person with a pain point, a little knot of frustration and disappointment caused by the game that you, the agent, is supporting. Gamers love their games like its no one’s business, and so the frustration levels are higher when something goes wrong.

Picture something you love, let’s say pizza. You’re starving, and the pizza boy rings your door and shows you the pizza. It’s the wrong flavor. You’re allergic to anchovies so you send it back. They send you a new one but it takes forever to reach you and by the time it does the pizza is cold and hard.

Imagine the emotion behind every ticket and you’re more likely to become motivated to help out.

2.) Practice non-judgement

Avoid the mistake of thinking that the players are stupid.

They’re not.

In-game knowledge is common sense to developers and agents, but not necessarily so for players. Remember the first point we made. Players are interacting with everything in the game for the first time. Put yourself in their shoes.

Set judgement aside about the mistakes and oversights players may have made. This will help agents provide objective and empathetic help. Players are human, they make mistakes, and now they need  help.

3.) Understand feelings

Anyone who is human will understand feeling frustrated. Remember the pizza metaphor.

4.) Communicate understanding

“I totally understand how frustrating it must be”

A phrase that works magic for email support replies, but is rarely ever used. Players who feel that developers understand their problems are more likely to have a positive image of the developer/game studio, even after problems encountered with the game.

Outsourced support for games don’t need to mean less quality than in-house support.

With the right direction and a clear sense of responsibility, outsourced support for games can be as effective and much more cost effective than in-house support.

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