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16 Apr 2015

Improve Your Indie Studio Customer Service With These Tips

Last week, I posted an article regarding the customer service mistakes that will cause you to lose customers that I urge you to read. It’s a great way to know what not to do, and offers tips on how to avoid customer service mistakes that could be detrimental to your studio. Customer service has been on my mind lately, so I was pretty pleased this morning when I saw a post over at Social Media Examiner that detailed how to offer outstanding customer service via social media. It’s worth a read, and I’m going to be using a few of their tips to tell you how to improve your indie studio customer service. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Best ways to respond to customers

Chances are, your indie studio is small enough that you can get away with using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for customer service purposes. It is the simplest way to engage with your customers (and also the fastest way) so be sure to use this method to simplify your indie studio customer service. Remember: if you use social media for customer service purposes, your customers are going to want you to respond within an hour. Which means you have to…

Create a plan of action for responding to them

Most the time, responding to your customers is typically straightforward. For example, if a player asks for a refund because they purchased a mobile game only to discover the game will not run on their device, this is extremely simple to do (and it does not take more than a few minutes to issue the customer a refund). Yet, what about those moments of crisis?

I will give you another example (a much more severe example). What if someone reaches out to you on social media and proclaims that someone used his/her credit card information to purchase digital goods in your game? Do you know how you would respond to this?

It is a situation that would catch any indie developer off guard. Even so, you need to know exactly how to respond to this type of situation, how to refund them their money, and exactly how to catch the perpetrator that stole the credit card information so you can ban them permanently. The best thing to do is to consult with your staff (or if you are the sole proprietor, reach out to other indie developers to see how they handle these moments of crisis themselves).

Speaking of your staff…

Teach employees how to respond appropriately  

If some members of your staff will also be responding to customer service inquiries, then teaching your staff had to respond accordingly to your customers is vital. It is imperative that you teach your staff how to properly respond to customers using the correct language, tone, and how to respond to negative comments posted on review sites, forums, and so on. The awesome tool Ice Rocket is great for helping you with this.

From there, fill them in on how to be polite, helpful, and pleasant to your customers. Let them know exactly what they should do whenever certain scenarios arise (such as the credit card theft scenario mentioned above) and how they should assess the situation. Stellar customer service goes a long way, and by setting your entire team up for success, your customer’s experience with your indie studio customer service will be positive.

Fairly address and assess complaints

Whenever your customers come to you with problems, then expect fast solutions. That means you need to appropriately address the issues that your customers are experiencing and properly assess their problems so that it is not an issue any longer. You’re happy, they are happy; everybody wins.

Let’s return to discussing negative comments on review sites, forums, etc. for a second. One of the worst things imaginable to most indie developers (and most business owners for that matter) is getting negative feedback for the entire world to see. When you get negative feedback, images of the situation going viral immediately pop into your mind because let’s face it: there is nothing worse than a customer service problem turning into a PR nightmare full of people renouncing your indie studio, talking negatively about it on social channels, and more.

There is no reason to be scared of negative feedback, though. Negative feedback is nothing more than an opportunity to show the world that you are indeed a professional and have customer service that would be the envy of any brand. Address their issues online for everyone to see and prove to everyone that you are going to make this wrong right! Even when potential customers see your negative feedback, they will see that you try to correct this wrong – and in many ways, this means a lot more to potential and present customers than knowing that your customer service is usually ‘really good.’ It lets them know that when the going gets tough, you rise to the occasion and always do the right thing.

Customer service satisfaction surveys are a must

Finally, be sure to always send out customer service satisfaction surveys to your current customers (customers that have been with your brand for at least 3-6 months). These types of surveys will let you know exactly what your customers think about your customer service and how you can improve it. Be sure to send out the survey every 6-12 months, and ensure that the survey does not take more than five minutes to complete. Furthermore, ensure that the survey is to the point and that your customers can answer the question accurately the moment they read it to themselves.

If you want an easy way to handle customer service satisfaction surveys, I highly suggest using a service such as SurveyMonkey to craft surveys that will yield valuable data to your brand.

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