• Natalie Markovits

Using player feedback for the ultimate user experience

Updated: Sep 6

How do you measure player sentiment, most common issues, new trends, and more to provide the ultimate user experience?


Hello and welcome to Affogata’s podcast: Let’s talk customer feedback. We had the pleasure of hosting Elpis Fragkou, Senior Customer Care Coordinator at Wooga.


A Senior Customer Care Coordinator for June’s Journey and Pearl’s Peril at a world-class game maker studio, Wooga, part of the Playtika family of brands. They have a double major in Social Studies and Philosophy and a passion for advocating for excellent user experience through a data-oriented mindset and thoughtful communication. They use their knowledge and experience to help the game teams implement players’ feedback into the production and raise awareness of the importance of user experience in their journey within the gaming industry. In their spare time, they are making music and of course, play board and video games.



The gaming industry expects another boom year in both excitement and sales. But with the launch of many new games comes the realization that the market becomes even more crowded, and the bar is raised yet again in all aspects, including games' complexity levels, design, story, and character features.


What's this podcast episode all about?


1. Elpis shares with us how player feedback influences her day-to-day job and how Wooga utilizes it to provide the ultimate player experience.


2. A discussion on why is it so critical for gaming companies to listen to players, understand their sentiment toward the game and look for new trends.


3. We asked Elpis how does Wooga find the most transcendental feedback and cuts through the noise to find relevant changes to implement in their games.


4. Lastly, we got Elpis' best practices and tips to retain players in such a competitive environment as it is the games industry.


Audio version




Transcript:



Host:


Can you run us through your day-to-day Elpis as a senior customer care coordinator at Wooga? What are your priorities during the day? How do you tackle critical issues players are encountering?


Speaker - Elpis Fragkou, Senior Customer Care Coordinator at Wooga


Yes, of course, thank you Natalie. To be honest, in order to be in a position to provide the best support I can to our players, I need to always be a step ahead and allocate some time by the end of my day to plan for the next day. Informing myself about upcoming events and changes in the games to be prepared for possible critical issues that might come up from our players, as well as coordinating the flow of information within the teams are certainly my biggest priorities to make sure that I’m staying on top of things.


Life in Customer Care, as every person in a similar position will tell you, is always a fine balance between what’s happening in the game right now and what will happen in the future; it’s a race against live issues and simultaneously a marathon in which you have to keep up a steady pace for ongoing inquiries. So far, the nature of a Customer Care discipline is a reactive one, and in order to be proactive, you need to go the extra mile and be prepared for what might happen in a week or a month from now. Understanding what the team will need to excel at their job, from requesting tracking and documentation in place to enable their work, to creating new FAQs for upcoming features and proactively crafting macro responses to be ready for any situation are among my day-to-day responsibilities.


From conversations I’ve had with other colleagues in our field and my personal experience, time management is frequently a challenge and a skill that you need to constantly be improving. Personally, before wrapping up my day, I make a list of what issues have been flagged to us by the end of the day and need further investigation in order to be ready to prioritize those issues in the morning. When you have such an active, invested, and engaged global community of players playing your games, you realize that something will come up and you need to be ready to tackle anything at any point. The smallest change in the game can suddenly become a huge wave of customer care tickets for our team to handle. In order to respond to the needs of your players in an empathetic and timely manner, good coordination between Customer Care and the games teams is absolutely necessary. You are essentially the bridge between your players and the developers. Being able to support the games teams by measuring the scale and the urgency of the issues we are facing, keeping track of them, and presenting them in a clear and organized manner, saves precious time to get back to the players and ease the sentiment within the community.

After all urgent issues are being dealt with and momentarily out of the way, the next thing that I do is to catch up with all the side conversations that are happening. Being at a company like Wooga where working with a one-company mindset, as opposed to a group of individuals, is not only accepted, but instead desired and celebrated, enables me and my colleagues to provide valuable feedback for our games, and identify opportunities to improve our current workflows and processes.


Host:


As a senior customer care coordinator, what are the most important metrics you want to measure in games to provide the ultimate experience?


Speaker - Elpis Fragkou, Senior Customer Care Coordinator at Wooga


As I mentioned earlier, I am a social scientist and a gamer myself, and in order to deeply understand the sentiment of our players I utilize the tools from both my gaming and social-scientist toolkits, if you will. Immersing yourself in your games, and engaging frequently with their features, especially as they change, is a fundamental requirement to understand the passion that describes your community.


On the other side, I believe that besides the usual customer care metrics that focus on quantitative data, such as Customer Satisfaction, the volume of tickets, Turnaround, and Response Times, there is great value and a huge potential for qualitative data lying in Customer Care. For me, qualitative data analysis of the sentiment of the players in combination with the available quantitative metrics is the way to go if you want to improve your approach. Of course, I am heavily biased here due to my position, but I believe that understanding the sentiment and the reasons behind it throughout the customer journey and how it differs between the different clusters of your player base can help you prolong this journey and improve the overall experience while at it.


Making sure that the feedback of the players that you are receiving through multiple channels is viewed holistically and as part of a collective attempt to improve your product and deliver the ultimate customer experience is something that many companies, unfortunately, don’t do yet. From measuring the engagement of your player base to checking the deflection rates of your FAQs, there’s always an opportunity to improve something and provide the ultimate customer experience, and it’s important to be open to identifying these opportunities.


Host:


Why is it critical for gaming companies to listen to players, understand their sentiment toward the game and look for new trends? How much do you think companies are doing it?


Speaker - Elpis Fragkou, Senior Customer Care Coordinator at Wooga


Great question, thanks Natalie! When you are part of a company that makes games, it’s important to keep in mind that the ultimate “judge” of your efforts is your players. You need to be able to listen to them and understand the motivation and thoughts behind their feedback. When you are developing a game for them, you are quite literally giving them a whole new world to interact with, draw inspiration from, and have fun in ways that they didn’t before. It’s, therefore, important to pay attention to what they love and value before you can build more on that and give them more ways to engage with that thing they love the most about your game.


One player might love your game for one reason, and a second player might find a completely different aspect of your game that resonates with them; you need to have a dedicated framework that analyzes these insights and I think companies are getting increasingly interested in this type of data, in particular in the space of casual games. In our games, we regularly receive feedback from players that our games have helped them reconnect with their family and friends, especially during a time when there are restrains to physically meet with each other, through our social features, or helped them sharpen their memory when dealing with health issues, or re-exploring their long-lost creativity by decorating their islands, and the list goes on and on. We try to incorporate that feedback into our development as much as we can and give the players fresh ways to interact with our games. Our aim with every game, every feature, is to provide something of value to the player that also brings value to Wooga. In order to accomplish this, we need to listen to and understand our players and have effective processes to incorporate their feedback into our development.


There’s so much valuable information when it comes to players’ sentiment and their preferences, and gaming companies have historically attempted to incorporate this feedback somehow into their decision-making process. Adopting a player-centric approach, in a sense, gives you the opportunity to include another valuable stakeholder to the conversations happening around your game. When you are a company, and especially a gaming company, players’ sentiment is just as important as your other KPIs.


Host:


There must be a lot of noise and millions of conversations in your communities at Wooga. How do you handle all of this data and how do you manage to find the most important feedback from your core players?


Speaker - Elpis Fragkou, Senior Customer Care Coordinator at Wooga


Talk about a plethora of conversations, indeed! At Wooga, we are extremely privileged to have such an invested community that cares so much about our games. Of course, that is certainly an indication of the excellent people working at creating world-class games and the highly invested professionals that make sure that this feedback reaches our game developers, but honestly, that is only half the story. The other half of the story is the partner relationships and the cutting-edge tools we use to track, analyze, and improve our products.


From internally developed tools to consistent reporting of player sentiment, we are heavily relying on optimizing the methods we are collecting and analyzing feedback.

Tracking the data while identifying the parts of it that provide actionable insights from all over the web would be nigh impossible without tools like Affogata. By providing centralized knowledge in one place, it allows us to manage our time and efforts in the most efficient and effective way. Building a good relationship with experts across the industry and being in the position to ask for support at any point from highly knowledgeable folks is always a great win for your product.


Host:


In your opinion, what are the best tactics to retain players in such a competitive environment?


Speaker - Elpis Fragkou, Senior Customer Care Coordinator at Wooga


Listening to players’ feedback holistically through all your product teams and incorporating it into the production would be the number one step. There are multiple ways to go about it, but choosing the right processes and tools to collect, consult and eventually incorporate the feedback into your games is for me a solid approach that can ultimately help your product remain competitive throughout its development. Combining the quantitative with the qualitative data you receive from all the teams that have insights into your player base experience, removes a certain amount of bias in the development of your game and allows you to make decisions that will be viewed in a positive light from your players.


From a Customer Care perspective, build a strong culture of respect around players’ sentiment, no matter how small or trivial it might seem, and put in the effort to identify pain points and obstacles in your current approach to ensure a smooth customer experience. An invested player, and especially if they are a core player, who went out of their way and reached out to you with feedback or even a complaint, should be met with sympathy and they should be provided with accessible support. I believe that the moment a player contacts Customer Care is a crucial one, as they are usually coming to you to report something not working as intended, and if handled thoughtfully, a fantastic opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into an advocate for your product. Lastly, invest and equip your teams with technical tools, soft and hard skill training, and practical resources to always be providing above market standards of player support and help you retain your players in a competitive environment.


Host:


Elpis, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to participate in today’s podcast. It was super interesting to learn about the power of player feedback and how gaming companies can utilize it to optimize their games.


Thanks for all of you listening and don’t forget to visit us at Affogata.com.



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