"We need to interact with customers in the ways that work best for them."

Tim Rondeau
Senior Director, Customer Care

Leveling up on customer service with Salesforce

Activision has been making the most loved and played games in the world for over 30 years. Pitfall!® took Atari 2600 owners on an adventure in the 80s. Guitar Hero® rocked consoles in the 2000s. Skylanders™ melds the physical and on-screen worlds for a new generation of enthusiasts. How do the teams at Activision keep delighting gamers while pushing the technological envelope game after game and decade after decade? They listen to their customers.

Listening on the customer’s terms

Activision pulled off the most successful launch in entertainment history with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3®. Bigger than any other game, movie, or album before it, Modern Warfare 3 eclipsed $400 million in sales across North America and the U.K. in the first 24 hours it was on sale. Sales went on to hit $1 billion in just 16 days, setting another record.

Modern Warfare 3 was a hit because Activision knows gamers. Activision loves making games and it loves talking to gamers about making gaming better. The company also knows that when something goes awry, gamers want customer service that flows organically into the stream of their online lives. So in the wake of the success of Modern Warfare 3, Activision worked with Salesforce to create a new way of listening to its customers.

“It’s all about being personal and interacting with people the way they want to be interacted with,” said Robert Schmid, CIO. “I personally don’t like calling somewhere. I just hate hanging on the phone.”

The customers who play Activision’s games don’t much like waiting on the phone, either, so Activision deployed Marketing Cloud’s Social Studio to bring customer service online. Using Marketing Cloud, the team can easily track and monitor all relevant tweets and conversations on social media, with the goal of increasing player engagement. All interactions are uploaded to Service Cloud where social conversations are matched back to existing customers for follow-up.

In the first year after integration, Activision saw some pretty big changes. Customer tweets about bugs in game play became relationship builders as well as service calls. Employees across departments now collaborate internally to find fixes to issues posted on social media — Activision calls this “swarming.” Replies on Twitter and Facebook not only resolve issues, they become content for use by social, service, and marketing teams. Conversations about related brands and industries of interest are tracked and routed to sales reps as new leads, automatically. Activision unlocked a new level of customer service – you can think of it as social customer care.

Reducing costs while increasing engagement

Before Marketing Cloud, 50% of customer service at Activision was self-serve. Customers now solve 85% of all problems on their own with the help of self-serve content. Of the remaining 15% of issues that lead to live conversations with agents, more than half are solved via social media. The combination of high-performing self-service and social customer service has helped Activision lower its total customer service-related operating expenses by 25% annually. And the deployment only took three months.

“It’s an incredible change,” said Tim Rondeau, Senior Director of Customer Care. “We’re reducing costs and increasing satisfaction at the same time.”

When a gamer levels up, that’s a good thing. Activision leveled up its customer service with Marketing Cloud. According to a May 2015 case study published by Nucleus Research, Activision’s integration of Social Studio yielded a 378% return on investment in just over a year. That translates to a cost-to-benefit ratio of 1-to-2.1. In terms of dollars, it’s an $800,000 average annual benefit, measuring only costs related to support interactions. The benefits of keeping customers coming back for more reach much further.

Or as Rondeau puts it, “Salesforce is helping us build a better gaming experience.” Put in gaming terms: Achievement unlocked.