Have you ever been in a situation where answering one question involves a quick check across three or more applications? In Player Experience, we have adopted a few practices to make communication easier across our team. I would like to highlight some of the processes that have withstood the test of time. What these processes have in common is bringing otherwise external but important information into our main communication hub.
At Kongregate we use Slack, however, this can be relevant for any messaging program.
“If you ever feel like no one cares, make a small mistake in a video game.”
— Player Experience Proverb
Most game teams would agree that when it comes to player feedback, the quicker the turnaround the better. For a small support team like Kongregate’s, which operates exclusively by email and typically resolves concerns over a couple of business days, summarizing feedback quickly can be a challenge. We answer requests in the order received and by the time we’ve responded to a handful of players about the same issue, the problem could be hours, or during high volume periods, days old.
But what if you could tell something had gone wrong based on the sheer number of requests sent by players over a short interval? Enter the PE Alert tool.
The PE Alert tool is a custom webhook that checks the number of incoming support request tickets from our help desk and sends an automatic Slack message if that number exceeds our average hourly intake. The message goes to a dedicated alert channel that is otherwise quiet, so when a discussion is happening, it’s guaranteed to be urgent.
The alerts notify devs about major issues within the hour. Support can provide issue details, discuss fixes and updates, and prioritize a response strategy. Most importantly, Slack serves as an excellent delivery system because everyone who needs to know is already there.
Announcement channels are a staple of any community chat. They are arguably superior to an email, but still tricky to keep relevant. When applied too broadly, the announcements won’t hold interest for most people in the channel.
Player Experience uses a department-only announcement channel as a means of sharing information specific to our team and discipline. Like most announcement-style channels, side chatter is prohibited to keep the focus on the announcements themselves. Routine subjects for an announcement include bug reports, policy changes, response template updates, and general reminders. Because it’s in Slack, updates are easily noticed and the channel history remains searchable.
Done consistently, team announcements are a bulletin board for new information and a way for team members to catch up quickly on events.
Look, I couldn’t resist another A.
As a customer-facing department in the game industry, saying Player Experience deals with a fair amount of negativity is like saying a fish deals with a fair amount of water. Most players don’t write to us for a friendly chat, they write in when something has gone wrong. And that’s what we’re here for! After all, if something breaks and we hear nothing but crickets that is way more disconcerting.
However, it’s important to remember we receive positive feedback as well! To highlight player appreciation we use a tool called Shoutouts by MaestroQA. The integration pulls positive CSAT comments from our help desk and posts them (along with a fun gif) in a dedicated Slack channel.
Our CSAT surveys are sent out after a ticket conversation ends, so we don’t miss those valuable moments when we turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Alerts, announcements, and appreciation happen to be relevant areas for the Player Experience team to focus on, though any department could benefit from centralized information in dedicated channels. Does the information need to be seen by many people? Is it tucked away in the corner of an application no one checks? Consider pulling that information into your company messaging program.