As more products and companies go digital we’ve seen support quality diverge: either customers can rely on good service in a timely manner, or they are left out in the cold. In the world of apps, it seems the latter situation is increasingly common.
Unfortunately, we’re seeing more of a reliance on FAQs, canned email responses and other tactics that divert customers without providing a solid end-to-end experience. This emphasis on efficiency, especially within software, means companies are moving their attention away from central aspects of customer service and high customer satisfaction: responsiveness, helpfulness, and personalization. Just because products are digital and “lean,” does not mean these key pillars should be forgotten.
We’ve seen so much data around poor support in apps, but wanted to see it for ourselves.
Last year, we decided to run a survey to test the ability for the leading iOS gaming apps to quickly and correctly answer customer inquiries.
We chose a general question that any gaming company could easily answer:
“Will the current version of [app] be compatible with the iPhone 8?”
The Agent.ai team manually surveyed the top 25 companies in the Top Charts for Gaming in the iTunes App Store as of September 2017. The team noted the customer service communication options, and whether a user could contact the company via email, web messaging, web request forms, or in-app chat. The surveyed games and companies were as follows:
• 52% of support teams responded to the question
• Average response time was 22 hours
Although overall support was less than stellar, one company in particular stood out as having a particularly ineffective system. EA required the team to create an EA account and then send an email, requiring the user to use a channel outside of the app. EA replied to the customer inquiry via email three days later claiming to have resolved the ticket, without answering the question.
We started this survey to get a better sense of where the customer experience was breaking down for gaming apps. We were struck by how quickly we found the culprit: email. We found that companies using chat for customer service were far more responsive, overall, than those relying on email. For whatever reason, emails are more likely to go unanswered or answered days later. This is not to say all gaming companies that used email provided poor support – only that they had a higher likelihood of letting inquiries slip through the cracks.
Of course, this could be a chicken and egg scenario: are app companies using chat-based options because they are more devoted to great customer experience outcomes? Or is chat the cause behind their success? Like most things, it is likely a little bit of both. It is probably safe to say, though, that chat is more conducive to providing great support.