American video game company Blizzard Entertainment officially announced the opening of its new service center in Taipei City. Initially, the Taipei branch will be in charge of customer service in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Thailand, before expanding to Australia and New Zealand later.
Originally outsourced to Blizzard’s regional distributor Gamers First, the move marks Blizzards focused expansion into the region’s gaming and eSports sector. The new customer service center will include and expand Gamers First’s original staff.
Beyond the service center, Blizzard Entertainment is also investing in its local infrastructure and plans to build a data center in Taiwan.
Taiwan an excellent choice
Blizzard’s decision was influenced by Taiwan’s strong market and gaming culture, the company said. Thanks to the popularity of eSports, Blizzard’s Taipei Center will also oversee regional gaming competitions in the future.
Additionally, the wealth of multilingual and motivated talent in Taipei made the island nation’s capital a natural choice for Blizzard, as senior vice president Todd Pawlowski points out.
Ultimately, the company plans to transform its Taipei Center into a regional hub for neighboring countries comparable to centers in Seoul or Paris. The region will include Southeast Asian and Pacific nations.
Customer service a talent incubator
Blizzard has always seen customer service as a talent incubator for other departments. For Pawlowski, great service teams must be passionate about gaming and teamwork, as well as pushing themselves constantly to keep on learning. “This way, they are often able to move to other departments in the future,” Pawlowski says.
With more than 2,000 employees around the world, Blizzard’s customer service is typically separated into two parts. The front end, called Game Master internally, is responsible for online chats and customer calls. The back end supports the front end team and serves as a service level coordinator for game-related problems.
Pawlowski points out that the front end requires trained specialists. “Unlike flight attendants, who can typically finish their training in two weeks since they can identify customers’ needs through direct contact, our Game Masters can only communicate with customers through text. Training is therefore more complex and usually takes up to six weeks.”
Crucial source of feedback
Many managers in the company started in customer service. For example, current chief of staff Shane Dabiri was originally part of Blizzard’s customer service team, only to then become lead producer for the company’s global smash hit World of Warcraft.
In fact, customer service and Blizzard’s product development are closely linked. Facing users daily, the department has a unique understanding of customer needs. Its accumulated opinions and feedbacks are a central source for the product development team.
According to Pawlowski, the head of customer service communicates daily with the development team. More so, customer service releases weekly and monthly reports, which allow development to understand issues and problems early on. For flagship releases, the customer service team will even produce hourly reports to ensure instant bug fixing.