Gaming is an enormous and fast-growing industry, with revenue projected to top $159 billion in 2020 (a 9.3% jump over 2019). In some ways, the pandemic has created an explosion in gaming, as global lockdowns led to more time spent at home and on-screen. And, one way gaming companies can stand out against the competition is by offering high-quality player support, sometimes within the game itself.
The industry presents a unique set of challenges for customer support teams, however. First, many games cater to global, multilingual audiences that want answers fast. Second, customer support agents are expected to have the level of expertise needed to “talk the talk” alongside players. And finally, many players attempt to troubleshoot on their own, which leads them down a rabbit hole of unofficial, English-speaking forums.
These three challenges are, nevertheless, big opportunities to use AI and empower support agents to serve players quickly in their native tongue (and also, the language of the game itself). Here’s how:
Challenge 1: Massive global audiences
The audience for games – whether they’re played on consoles, mobile devices or PC – is uniquely global. Generally speaking, there are no geographical barriers to playing the large majority of games. Because of this, most companies localize them in order to handle cultural differences of multiple audiences. It’s a complex process that not only involves your standard translation tasks but also voice acting for all the different characters. As a result, however, gamers expect that they can get support in their native language, which is not always the case.
The reality is that many companies still work with lean customer service teams, as it makes very little economic sense to hire full-time agents for languages with relatively few requests. Unfortunately, that means some lower-traffic languages may experience longer first response times (FRTs), which can add to players’ frustration.
AI can help solve this by empowering agents with multilingual machine translation for international customer support. In other words, a human is still in the loop, but a machine aids in the translation process. A human checks the translation for accuracy before it reaches the customer, and feeds any corrections back into the algorithm. This process can help gaming companies reach a global audience with their support operations more efficiently.
Challenge 2: Knowing the language of the game
A gamer can spot another gamer a mile away. When support agents don’t know the lingo of the game, they immediately lose goodwill and credibility with players. Some gaming terms are consistent across languages, while others aren’t (for example, slang or abbreviations). Add to that challenge the global audience of players, and the right profile of support agent can be nearly impossible to find.
In this case, multilingual machine learning models for customer service can be trained on the unique terms for each game. As more terms emerge (or terms differ across languages), the model can be fine-tuned to “learn” them as well. That way, companies can focus on hiring agents that are also gamers, and leave the translation challenge to AI (with the lingo intact). Player support in their native language (and the language of the game) is a surefire way to improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.
Challenge 3: Multilingual self-service
Gamers are among the most tech-savvy of people who seek out customer support. That means they’ll try anything to find the answers themselves before contacting an agent. If these answers aren’t available on the website, they’ll turn to gaming forums to find them. Most of these forums are in English, which leaves out a wide community of multilingual players.
In this case, AI can help translate common support requests into multilingual FAQs for both the website and in-game help centers. This is the most efficient, low-cost way to support multiple languages at scale. Not to mention, a multilingual help center can alleviate frustration among non-English speaking gamers searching on English-only forums.
Key Takeaway: Gaming is a prime use-case for AI
Given the global nature of games and players’ big expectations (I should know, I’m a gamer myself), this particular industry is a perfect match for multilingual technology. It gives companies the flexibility to focus on hiring the right people with gaming expertise, whilst letting gaming-tailored AI take care of the rest.