Supercell: Each Innovation Matters | Teleperformance
Supercell: Each Innovation Matters

The Teleperformance Leader Insights Forum took place recently in Dublin, Ireland. The event featured a collection of industry leaders and practitioners all exploring how ‘Each Interaction Matters’ throughout the duration of the modern customer journey.

 The opening day started with Frank Keienburg, Head of Player Experience at Finnish mobile game developer Supercell focusing on innovation. Frank was direct. You can’t expect your company to be innovative if you are afraid to try out new ideas. He said: “The media has said that the Supercell team drinks Champagne when we fail. That’s not quite true – they misquoted us. We try out new ideas, new products, and new games all the time. Most of them do fail. We get together once a month and share our experiences and the entire company learns from every failure – we encourage our team to share why their project failed because we can learn from that. After we share our experiences we then drink a brand of Champagne called LEARNING.”

 Frank was describing the Supercell approach to innovation. They try new ideas all the time and they embrace failure, not because it’s good to fail, but because you can only truly innovate by trying a lot of new ideas. If you try a lot of ideas then most of them will fail, but a few will succeed, and some will be enormous. Failure for Frank’s team does not mean a lack of success, it means that they tried an idea and learned how to make the next idea better.


Name changes used to cost about $5m a year in support costs – this was about 25% of all customer contact. By only ever allowing players to change name once they immediately reduced the cost to $2m. By allowing players to pay using in-game currency when they want to change name they reduced the support cost to $83,000. In addition, they now managed to monetize an action that used to be a support call.

 Frank explained his approach to caring for customers: “We have no managers. We have no appraisals. I don’t manage my team, my team manages their own tasks, and yet we look after the needs of more than 100 million gamers every single day in 20 different languages.

Frank described how his team studied contact drivers and managed to eliminate many of the reasons that customers needed to be in touch with support. For example, he said that name changes used to cost about $5m a year in support costs – this was about 25% of all customer contact. By only ever allowing players to change name once they immediately reduced the cost to $2m. By allowing players to pay using in-game currency when they want to change name they reduced the support cost to $83,000. In addition, they now managed to monetize an action that used to be a support call.

 Frank described the Supercell Machine Learning bot – named ‘Sparky’ by the team. Originally Sparky was just an experiment to see if they could handle simple and repetitive customer questions using a bot, but now Sparky handles around 50% of all customer questions.

 However, this doesn’t mean that the humans in the contact center are all gone. The volume of customer interactions is increasing all the time. By using tools such as Sparky Supercell can offer a more immediate service for simple questions, freeing the humans to handle all the questions that are too complex for the automated system to handle.

This is great news for the human agents – they only ever need to get involved in more complex and interesting problems – not the repetitive and boring problems. For instance, by having Sparky on the frontline helping customers, they have found that when players have a problem and get locked out of a game, their account recovery time is now 50% faster than before.

 This really helps when the team is under stress, like on the day a new game launches. They now train Sparky in all the possible questions and problems they can foresee with the new game and Sparky handles most of the repetitive problems – even on a product launch day. And the more problems they customer service team handles, the more that Sparky learns.

 Having Frank open the event was a great choice because he set the tone for the entire conference. Supercell is not only a great study in managing a large volume of customer interactions, but also an example of how innovation can blend automation with great human customer care.


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