Activision uses Salesforce to serve gaming community

The Call of Duty designers use the Service Cloud and Chatter Communities to solve customer queries

Activision has adopted newly-launched public cloud services from Salesforce in order to communicate better with its customers.

The company – most-renowned for the Call of Duty gaming series – has 7,700 employees and makes $4bn in sales each year. However, it also has a horde of customers numbering into the millions that love their games and want to talk to the makers.

“We love working, talking to gamers, engaging with gamers and solving their problems,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision. “What we weren’t so good at was operational alignment.”

If customers had a problem with games in the past, they could call the company and join a queue to speak to an advisor. But as social networking has risen, gamers were using Facebook, Twitter and other channels, not just to ask for help, but complain about the issues.

Activision needed to find a way to aggregate all this information so it could answer queries more efficiently, so it chose Salesforce’s Service Cloud product – updated atthis week’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.

If someone posts about Activision, a notification will appear on the cloud dashboard alerting employees to the problem. With a new search functionality called Sunlight, users can find out if the problem is common and refer to guides kept within the Service Cloud. Then, if an answer is found, the employee can reply with the details to the gamer straight from the dashboard over any social network.

“But Activision has millions of gamers, tens of millions, so they could get tens of thousands of questions every day,” said Fergus Griffin, senior vice-president of product marketing at Salesforce. “Can they respond one on one to every one of those questions? They can try... but it is the community, creating a place where all those customers could come together [that is the key].”

So, as well as the Service Cloud, Activision has adopted the newly-developed Chatter Communities, also launched at Dreamforce. Chatter is Saleforce’s enterprise social network which has been used within businesses for employees and partners to communicate over a user interface similar to Facebook, hoping to encourage more sharing and collaboration within a company.

With Chatter Communities, Activision has been able to set up forums for each of its popular games that players can visit if they have issues, meaning that as well as Activision employees being able to see issues, the community can come together and help each other out.

Creating a place where all those customers come together, that is the key

Fergus Griffin, senior vice-president, Salesforce

“These guys love these games and know these games better than most, so they often know the answers,” said Kotick.

If a response has solved a problem, gamers can use the promote button to give it the thumbs up and engineers can even see problems they need to work into the next patch.

“We have [gone on] a great journey with [Salesforce] around, really enabling our front office socially,” said Robert Schmidt, CIO of Activision. “A lot of this [has been] driven by what our gamers want; the games are very social… so the [gamers] are used to being social [with each other].”

However, there was still a way to go before this new way of working would be embraced within the company.

“What I find challenging is not just the technology change, but the cultural, generational change [and] how that is going to affect us on the back office,” Schmidt added.

Schmidt told a story of how a colleague had seen an issue on Chatter that she knew the answer to. However, as neither her boss nor her boss’ boss had posted, she didn’t think it was appropriate to submit her answer.

“It can’t work like that,” he said. “We want everyone to contribute. It is going to take more time to penetrate into the enterprise than it will take our consumers to [get on-board].”

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