The iGaming industry has been growing steadily over the last years, with the global online gambling market being estimated to be valued at more than 92.9 billion dollars by 2023.
Last year, while casinos with physical locations were struggling, online gaming platforms saw a renewed surge in popularity resulting from global lockdowns imposed all around the world and people looking for new forms of at-home entertainment. In fact, revenue from online gaming represented 20% of overall gambling revenue in 2020.
But with popularity come more customers, and with more customers comes the need to keep up with them and their needs and demands. Last week, our Head of Business Development, Elvira Truijens, was one of the participants in a webinar promoted by our partners at iMovo, along with participants from Zendesk and Tableau Software, and guest speaker Johanna Pyykonen, Head of Customer Support at Hero Gaming.
They discussed how companies in the online gaming industry can leverage AI in their support operations. Here are the key learnings from the event.
iGaming industry: customer service trends
Millennials dominate the customer base
Millennials constitute over 50% of the online gaming industry’s customer base. Although they expect the same things from support as other customers — immediacy, personalization, empathy — the way they prefer to interact is different.
As customers, millennials tend to steer away from voice channels. They’d much rather send an e-mail, resort to chatting, or use a messaging channel such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, the latter having seen an increase in usage of 190% over the last year.
But millennials also want to be able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and by themselves. Hence having a self-service strategy in place is key to connecting with customers through their preferred channels and providing a good experience.
Data mapping for a customized experience
By providing this omnichannel experience, businesses find themselves with a lot of customer data in their hands. The question is, how can they handle all that data and what should they do with it?
Data is especially critical in the online gaming industry, particularly in the context of digital interactions. Processing and analyzing data is essential to mapping customers’ experiences and trying to understand, which in turn allows businesses to put themselves in the customers’ shoes and look at the experience they’re offering from their perspective.
Knowing who your customers are — their age, gender, location, among others — and what products they prefer, which work well and which don’t, is a great way of offering more specific and customized experiences based on data and increasing overall customer satisfaction.
Customer service as a competitive advantage
In an extremely competitive market, understanding your customers and catering to their needs is essential. So is providing good customer service whenever customers reach out to your support team.
A lot of gaming platforms and sites work in a very similar way, with the same providers and payment methods. So it really boils down to who can provide the best and most effortless experience, which includes the customer support experience also.
Supporting customers the right way and at each touchpoint of their experience can be a huge differentiator in the online gaming industry.
AI: taking customer service to the next level
There is still fear that AI will replace humans in their jobs, especially in customer service. And from the customers’ side, people sometimes feel like an automated reply to an e-mail or chat question is sent by a robot who doesn’t always get it right.
However, adding an AI layer to customer service operations can benefit both agents and customers alike. And the key to that is based on how the AI model is trained. If the AI model is trained on customer service data from the online gaming industry and its best practices, then AI can be very efficient and accurate.
We already know that millennials make up more than half of the customer base in the gaming industry and that they prefer alternatives to traditional support channels, self-service being a preferred one.
Here, the key to a great user experience is to ensure your customer self-service flow uses AI to intelligently understand what the customer is asking and surface the right information with the minimum number of clicks. This will greatly improve your customer satisfaction metrics and support efficiency metrics.
Offering self-service possibilities to customers is good on its own, but adding AI capabilities to it can make it even better. Solutions such as Cleverly’s can detect the category of the question the customer is asking and suggest the best available content to help them. By solving requests this way, customer satisfaction increases while decreasing agents’ backlogs.
In the same way that a lot of gaming platforms are similar, most of the industry’s customers’ questions are frequent questions — around 60% of customer requests in online gaming are repetitive. If they have to answer all these manually, support agents will eventually end up with huge backlogs and feel burnt out and unmotivated.
AI-based customer support technologies can automate repetitive requests without impacting customer satisfaction or your brand reputation. This way, agents will have more time to dedicate to more complex cases where their intervention will make a difference.
Freeing up agents to dedicate more attention to customers is crucial in the online gaming industry. On the one hand, gaming has the playful and entertaining side of being a leisure activity, but on the other hand, it has a very serious side of holding and handling customers’ money. So it’s very important to have agents available to handle cases where customers won’t want to get an automated response or talk to a chatbot.
The future of customer service in the gaming industry
We ended the webinar talking about how we’ve never heard of a situation in which society was impacted by something so serious like a pandemic and then went back to its usual self as if nothing had happened.
The same can be said about how companies provide customer service. With all the available technology and AI-based solutions, the ones who’ll stay ahead of the game are the ones who keep up with the trends and keep reinventing themselves to be able to respond to customers’ ever-changing expectations.
The first step in this journey is to look at the data from your support operations and identify the opportunities for automation and deflection.
If you don’t know where to begin, or are unsure of what the best solution for your business and your team is, we’re here to help. Drop us an e-mail or click here to set up a time to chat with our data analysts — we’ll help you assess your operations and provide some insights.