“Custom bots are like additional agents. They’re like automated firefighters who work through players’ messages and handle a huge number of problems. With the right bots, you can solve not just simple issues but also time-consuming, complex and technical ones. Last month, we handled the majority of issues automatically with more than half handled by bots.”
-Nataly Kuzmina, Head of Support at Playrix
Playrix, a major international game development company, adopted Helpshift to replace their legacy email-centric service solution. By delivering a first-class in-game experience and automating their player issues, they improved player satisfaction, player retention and app store reviews all while reducing their agent workflow and scaling to meet the demands of an ever-larger player base.
First founded in 2004, Playrix is a major international game development company. Since 2011, it has focused on free-to-play mobile games including Wildscapes, Homescapes, Gardenscapes, Township and Fishdom, each of which has consistently ranked among the Top 50 Grossing Apps for iOS and Google Play. Today, Playrix games are enjoyed by millions of people every day.
Service: The Key to Unlock Gaming Revenues
In free-to-play games ensuring the player is consistently having a positive experience is the most important predictor of company success. In order to grow, Playrix must continuously add new players, increase the interest of existing players, ensure both remain in the app and ultimately encourage them to spend money in the game. Anytime a player has an issue that remains unresolved, there is a chance they may find another way to spend their time and money. Worse yet, they may write a poor app store review and in doing so dissuade others from downloading the game in the first place.
Playrix has always prioritized service excellence as a core part of their business. “All our support employees are in-house. Today we answer customer inquiries 24/7 across 10-15 languages with a geographically distributed team” said Nataly Kuzmina, Head of Support at Playrix.
Legacy Approaches Fail to Scale
As Playrix grew, however, it became increasingly challenging to stay ahead of the game in terms of player support. “We had built our service around email, frankly a little outdated, and not as stylish. As time passed and we grew, it became clear that wasn’t going to work anymore. First, players’ games were interrupted and many were annoyed by the inconvenience. Second, it just didn’t scale. A lot of email-centric products were built for B2B product volumes and our support inquiry volumes are much higher. By the time we started looking for a new solution, our existing system became cumbersome, restrictive, and didn’t provide us with the right set of tools to categorize issues properly and work more efficiently.”
Desiring to stay ahead of the competition and ensure they could scale their service capacity, Playrix turned to Helpshift. “We saw a real opportunity with Helpshift. First of all, it delivered a fully-native experience with in-app messaging. Players don’t want to leave the app to send an email and calling into a call center would be unthinkable. Helpshift delivered a fully integrated experience that delighted our players” said Kuzmina. “At the same time, we can understand our players based on information like device type, current level, game, and more to customize their support experience even before they give us any details about their question. Helpshift provides the clues that make resolving the customer’s issue much easier.”
Playrix selected Helpshift in August 2016. By October of the same year they were using Helpshift as the centerpiece of their service technologies. “The implementation was really smooth and we were up and running immediately”, said Kuzmina. “At the time we were also rolling out a new game and Helpshift immediately helped deal with the service request spike associated with a new title.”
Automation, Bots and Agents: The New Service Team
Once Playrix had adopted Helpshift, they took a three-pronged approach to service. First, an overwhelming majority of issues were common and could be resolved via FAQs. Those that couldn’t be answered by an FAQ went to purpose-built micro-bots to provide an answer immediately and/or collect insightful information to help agents. Finally, only the most complex issues went to human agents, who now had the time and focus to address more challenging questions.
“The most important first step for us was delivering self-service via FAQs” said Kuzmina. “Sometimes I even forget they are there but everyday we are passively helping customers. Common issue types are more easily handled and maintained once they’re set up. It just works, and it covers a lot of ground. It was a huge win for us.”
Once FAQs were in place, the next step was to build bots for key issues that couldn’t be easily resolved by reading an FAQ. “Custom bots are like additional agents. They are automated firefighters who can work through messages from players and fully automate a huge number of problems. With the right bots you can solve not just simple issues but time-consuming, complex and technical ones. Last month, we automated the majority of issues with bots handling or resolving over 50% of the issues. We’re still building more bots and see the tangible results utilization, CSAT, and more.” said Kuzmina. Because of Helpshift’s bots and automations, we didn’t see the need to expand the team further and our existing team was able to focus on more challenging issues and projects.
From Reactive to Proactive: Fostering Player Delight
But Playrix didn’t just react to new service requests. They also proactively worked to address poor reviews in the Apple App Store and Google Play. “We use AppFollow to stay abreast of new reviews in the app stores and we respond to players that might’ve had a poor experience. Thankfully, AppFollow and Helpshift work seamlessly together. When we receive a low review, we can reach out to the player via Helpshift to resolve their issue. In doing so we can often improve their review and get them back into the game, which, in turn, helps us acquire new players” said Kuzmina.
Playrix also made feedback from their service requests a key part of their product development and enhancement process. Rather than simply responding to issues, they used analytics of issue types to help their product development team know how to continuously improve their games.
Even with this new proactive approach to service and continuously rising player volumes, Playrix stayed ahead of the curve. “Our goal was to decrease the amount of routine and repetitive tasks our agents handled. We’ve gone from our agents overloaded with repetitive tasks to repetitive workloads reduced by more than half. Not only are they happier, but they are also more willing to satisfy players, even if that interaction might take some time since they have more time available” said Kuzmina.
The impact of Playrix’s increased ability to scale became evident during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. As countries around the world issued stay-at-home orders during March, April and May, volumes of service requests suddenly spiked. “We provided something really valuable during the pandemic, distraction. The whole company had already embraced a remote work culture but the pandemic brought a doubling or tripling of tickets in some of our games. Thankfully, we had automation and bots set-up, so we were able to scale very quickly without adding extra resources.”
“Overall I couldn’t be happier with our decision to choose Helpshift. It’s been a true partnership. Together, we’ve augmented the player experience, improved our reviews, increased agent happiness, and scaled to a level we never could have before” said Kuzmina.