While you were busy creating your game, how often did you think about including user support elements in its design? Will your players be able to get all the answers they need in-app? If they need to report an issue or need help beyond the resources available inside the game, how will they contact you? If you're just a small team, you may feel overwhelmed with the idea of being bombarded by emails from your users. As G.I Joe so wisely said, "Knowing is half the battle." If you launch your game with some support basics baked in, you have no need to fear!
There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for in-app support; you'll need to factor in how complex the game is, as well as how many active users are playing (or you anticipate will play) your game. The upside to having support options within your game is that it allows the player to get the help they need, and then go back to playing. After all, an unsatisfied player (for whatever reason) is almost certainly a lost player.
Here are two basic items to include when thinking about in-app support for your game:
Provide an easy to access and regularly updated Frequently Asked Questions section within your game. When you first launch your game, you should be able to anticipate some of the common questions your players may ask based on beta feedback and internal testing. After launch and after any new updates, you'll want to revisit your FAQ and include any new questions or issues that have come up in the game.
Your game's FAQ could be something quite basic like a text file included in the game, or you can use more robust options like Zendesk or Helpshift. Which option you use all depends on your budget, the volume of players you have and the complexity of the game. As your game scales, you may find that you start with a simple in-game FAQ and then integrate something more complex as your user base grows and you have the budget to support that.
Contact form or e-mail
Provide an easy way for players to contact you regarding questions or issues outside the scope of the FAQ. Having players contact you from within the game has a few benefits:
- It's often possible to pass simple information about the game within the email itself. Information like the version installed, type of software version, or operating system, and more. This will give you some additional context about what's going on in that player's game that they may not necessarily think of including in their message to you.
- Giving your players a direct path to contact you can prevent a situation where you may receive multiple contacts from a player via multiple channels. For example, if someone has an urgent issue to address, but can't find an easy way to get in touch, they may leave reviews about the issue on one of the app storefonts, contact you via your corporate website, your personal Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Just as with the FAQ, your solution for managing player e-mails could range from simple to complex depending on your situation (and budget). Whether you chose to use an email client, a ticketing system, or an in-depth CRM solution, be sure to set the tone with the users who contact you from the onset.
- Activate an auto reply that sets clear expectations for the support you can provide to your players. If you know that you'll only be able to respond to the most urgent messages (refunds, majors bugs, etc.) make that clear in your auto-reply.
- If you have some more time to dedicate to reading and responding to feedback, you can create some personalized templates to speed up response time.
- Above all, keep it professional! Understandably, when you're so deeply involved in the creation of a game that it may be hard to hear criticisms or complaints, but it’s important to avoid the temptation to argue with your players.
One of the benefits of working with a publisher like Thumbspire is that we will work with you to create and update your in-game FAQ based on our experience working with similar game genres. We'll also manage all player feedback and report back to you with trends, bug reports, and suggestions we've received. That allows you to stay focused on improving and expanding your game, while we focus on keeping your players happy!
Stay tuned, we'll be covering the best ways to manage support outside of your game and on social media very soon!