How to Recruit Exceptional Player Support Agents

There may be no harder job than building out an effective player support team. 

Maybe you’ve been there: You have a creative idea for a new game and all of a sudden it’s a huge hit and you’re scrambling to build out a company.

All the focus is on getting the game launched, but you can’t afford to lose sight of the fact that 26% of customers will stop doing business with your company after one bad experience (and an overwhelming 92% of customers will leave after three bad experiences).

If a few bad experiences is all it takes to lose a user for good, it’s obvious that your player support experience can make or break both your company’s reputation and your bottom line.

That’s why it’s imperative to recruit exceptional player support agents who consistently delight customers and drive positive buzz for your brand. 

Supporting customers in the gaming industry

No matter what type of industry or channel you’re working in, exceptional customer service is based on the same set of skills. But the gaming industry has a few characteristics that make supporting its gamers different from other industries, like e-commerce or SaaS:

  • Gamers are passionate. In most industries, customers are driven by practicality or necessity. They make purchasing decisions because they need something new or they have a problem to solve. Games are purchased for enjoyment and entertainment, which means that the passion guiding the decision often leads to more intense interactions and higher emotional investment. 
  • Gamers embrace community engagement. Gaming companies often cultivate strong communities around their products, with forums, social media channels, and live events playing significant roles in fostering engagement. Where other industries might focus on transactional interactions, gaming companies build and maintain a sense of community among players. 
  • Gamers represent a global market. Gaming is a global industry with a diverse audience stemming from various cultures and languages. Some games build niche audiences in different or unexpected markets as a byproduct of its communities. This adds complexity to your support offering because you have to consider factors like localization, cultural sensitivity, and regional regulations. 
  • Gamers embrace rapid technological advancements. The gaming industry is known for rapid technological advancement with new hardware, software, and gameplay emerging constantly. This fosters a highly dynamic environment where gamers stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies, prompting player support agents to do the same. 
  • Gamers engage with a range of monetization methods. Gaming companies employ a diverse range of monetization models to purchase and use their products. It isn’t abnormal for a game to include upfront sales, in-game purchases, subscriptions, and microtransactions — all with the same customer. This means that “simple” billing questions can become much more complex in practice. 
  • Gaming platforms have more risks than other products. Player support teams are also identifying and preventing fraud. And they often need content moderators to make sure communities are safe and players are following community guidelines. This makes support teams much more complex at gaming companies compared with other types of firms.

Gamers are a unique audience, and just because a customer service agent is successful in one industry doesn’t guarantee they’ll be able to support gamers as well.

Critical skills for player support agents

The trick to supporting players well is identifying the skills that your agents will need, then devising a training program that supports that skillset.

Great player support agents should demonstrate:

  • Strong communication is essential for clearly conveying information, instructions, and solutions. Agents should be proficient in both written and verbal communication, adapting their tone and style to suit the player’s preferences as well as the platform that they’re working on. 
  • Problem-solving. Agents should be adept at troubleshooting and resolving issues efficiently. They should be resourceful, creative, and persistent in finding resolutions to ensure a positive customer experience. Recreating (and resolving) an issue can take significant critical thinking. 
  • An understanding of gaming culture. Gaming culture has its own lingo, slang, memes, and social dynamics. Great agents might be avid gamers themselves, but if they aren’t, they should at least be well-versed enough that they understand community etiquette and can build credibility with players. 
  • Empathy and patience. Empathy is a universal customer service skill but gaming in particular can evoke strong emotions from customers (we’ve all thrown a controller or two). Player support agents must understand the emotional investment within gaming experiences. They should listen attentively, validate players’ concerns, and remain calm and composed, even in high-pressure situations. 
  • Resilience. Player support is especially challenging because gamers aren’t just people who’ve paid for a product; they also invest an intense amount of time and energy into the game or franchise. Having agents who can respond to that level of investment makes a big difference. 
  • Technical proficiency. Gamers often encounter technical issues related to installations, compatibility, and network connectivity. Player support agents need to be comfortable navigating different gaming platforms, understanding hardware specs, and diagnosing software relevant to each game. 
  • Adaptability. Not only do agents have to adapt to new technologies, they also need to communicate through a variety of support channels, like live chat, social media, and in-game messaging systems. Being comfortable with constant change will make a massive difference in how long an agent remains engaged and happy.

How to find and recruit great player support agents

Hiring exceptional talent is all about sourcing. Think about where your ideal candidates spend their time and how you can ensure they’ll see your value as an employer.

Here are four ways you can reach potential candidates:

  1. Advertising in gaming industry networks and job boards. There are a few job boards out there like Hitmarker or Games Jobs Direct that make it significantly easier to find candidates who are qualified and interested in the gaming industry. 
  2. Recruiting via social media, Social media can help you reach candidates who might not be actively looking for a job but would make a change if the right position is presented to them. 
  3. Offering an employee referral program. Your current employees likely know a few people who would make great candidates for your support team. Offering an incentive can encourage them to refer qualified talent to your business. Plus, your support reps will know exactly how to sell your company and will be extra motivated to find great talent to work with. 
  4. Engaging with gaming communities. This might include attending gaming events, becoming active in forums, and looking for other ways to network and build connections with gamers. These types of environments are often the best way to foster what ultimately becomes a successful long-term relationship. 

Pro Tip: Out-of-the-box recruitment strategies go a long way in helping you reach people whom you might not find by using standard recruitment tactics.

Tips for a great screening and hiring process

Sourcing applicants for any support role is a challenge, but selecting the right player support agents from piles of resumes is particularly difficult. It helps to have an effective screening process that funnels the best candidates to your hiring team.

In our recent webinar with Tony Won, founder of Player Support and long-time leader of player support at companies like Riot Games and Epic Games, Tony shared some wisdom and tips for hiring great player support agents:

Tony also recommended specific interview questions to help you hire great agents for your player support team:

  • Tell me about a challenge you’ve overcome. This question highlights an applicant’s resilience, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.
  • Where do you find your personal motivation? Similar to the above, this question helps you understand a candidate’s resilience and emotional intelligence.
  • Pretend I’m a new employee and I’m looking up to you. What advice would you give?
  • Do you know how your internet works? This question forces candidates to show their technical knowledge and their ability to communicate in an understandable way.
  • Have you ever had to troubleshoot a software or connection issue? Walk me through how you approached it. This question requires demonstrating technical proficiency and aptitude.

In addition to asking open-ended questions that require candidates to share examples from their past experiences, Tony recommends including a simple role-playing scenario that demonstrates candidates’ ability to ask good questions, solve problems, and empathize with customers in real-time.

Here’s one scenario you can steal: Pretend you’re a player who has lost access to their account.

If you’re a gamer, you know that losing access to an account where you may have invested countless hours can be terrifying. It feels like all of your hard work has disappeared in a moment. It’s emotionally charged.

And if you’re a player support agent or manager, you know that account access issues make up a huge volume of player support tickets — and they aren’t always easy solves.

This realistic and simple scenario can go a number of ways. Here’s what you should keep an eye out for:

  • How sensitive are they to the player? Do they communicate empathetically? Do they recognize the emotional state of the player and tailor their approach accordingly?
  • What kinds of questions do they ask? This is a chance for the agent to put their critical thinking skills on display. Do they make assumptions? Or do they ask questions that help them effectively zero in on where the core issue might lie?
  • Do they have sufficient technical knowledge? Player support agents don’t need to be software engineers, but they need to understand the big picture on how gaming platforms work, how data flows through the system, how to communicate and troubleshoot connectivity issues, and so on. Does the candidate seem to understand those big picture elements?

The goal is to ensure your interactions during the hiring process are natural and not artificial.

“Player support agents need the conversational skills to navigate emotionally charged conversations consistently,” says Tony Won from Player Support. That’s why using these situations on the spot can give you the best indication of how successful a candidate will be.

Providing exceptional player support

Great games sell themselves. But when they break, gamers just want to get back online. They’ve got dragons to slay, championships to win, and bragging rights to earn.

This is where your player support team makes all the difference. Having the right people means getting players back into the game faster – creating better experiences and developing stronger relationships with your business.

Need a faster solution?

At Peak Support, we know exactly what it takes to deliver great experiences at scale. With a deep understanding of gaming culture, advanced technical proficiency, and a commitment to delivering high-quality service, we empower companies like you to enhance their support operations, build engaged communities, and elevate the overall player experience.

Contact us today to take your support to the next level.