This week, I wanted to talk about how we try to be as responsive as possible to the community here at Clever Endeavour, and how we have a few shortcuts that help us achieve this goal.
We don't have other companies to compare to (because we're only working at our company, obviously), but we like to think we're fairly responsive to the community. This includes emails, tweets, Facebook posts / comments, Reddit comments, Discord messages, Steam messages, and any other form of communication. I should mention, by the way, that we always try to have a casual, not-too-corporate tone and that we deal with the community as Clever Endeavour, a fun and silly company-person, or as real individual people (Rich, Kyler, Alex, Ben).
Emails. First off, we have two main emails that can be used to reach "the company". These are contact and support @clevendeav.com, and these help us filter the kinds of emails we're receiving. The contact emails are usually press / YouTuber requests, people giving us suggestions, or people emailing us about (usually not very useful) business opportunities. The support emails are bug reports or issues people are having with the game.
The two of them are treated very differently: contact emails are answered almost solely by Rich, while support emails go into a Google group which is accessed by all members of the team. Still, Rich looks through them and assigns them to other, more technical members of the team if he can't answer them himself. As well as being assigned, these support tickets also have tags denoting if they've been answered, if they need more information from the player, if they need more information from another member of the team, etc. The fact that one person funnels them to the right people however, makes it so that it's quite rare that something slips through the cracks or doesn't get addressed (not necessarily solved, though) in less than a couple of days.
Twitter is another one of our main forms of contact with the community. It's easy, however, to miss what's going on on Twitter without looking at it all day every day. We use TweetDeck to show notifications, activity and messages but we also have a search which filters for the term "Ultimate Chicken Horse". This allows us not only to interact with people who mention the company Twitter handle, but also the people who are asking generally about the game. For example, "does anyone know if there's a 4-pack of Ultimate Chicken Horse"? Well, responding to that Tweet allows us to connect with that user, and they also will often follow us as a result.
We respond to practically every Tweet that mentions us, even if it's to ask questions which we've clearly answered 6000 times. We also emphasize that silly tone on Twitter... Rich does most of the community management stuff and has been trying to (and continues to try to) establish a personality for the company which interacts like a human would.
Facebook has been less of a factor for our community. We've put less time and effort into it, and the mentions and followers we have are significantly less than what they are on Twitter. Still, in most cases, we answer to comments that mention the company, and we post regularly on our page. One important thing that we did is turned off direct messages to our Facebook page (which is set 'on' by default). This is super important because it means that people won't message you and feel ignored, they'll simply look at the email on the Facebook page and contact you in the way you want to be contacted.
Reddit is another good tool for interacting with our community, though it's less constant than Twitter. The big difference is that we'll make posts on Reddit once in a while in a subreddit like r/games, and then respond to the ensuing comments. After a couple of days, however, that dies down and we don't deal with it anymore. On our own subreddit, we answer regularly to things but it hasn't been extremely active. We're labelled as developers so that users can see who we are, but also see our regular usernames and know that they're speaking to a developer and not a hollow corporate personality. A new feature that you'll hear about next week should help make this community much more active however...
Lastly, we have a fan-run Discord where users can look for games, make suggestions, etc. We also have authority to post in the #announcements channel, so we can use that as well to get to our community. Having it be fan-run is a really good way to give the community manager some more time, and also let the community evolve as it should as opposed to forcing it in a potentially wrong direction.
The most important part of all of this, in my mind, is the speed at which you respond and the voice with which you respond. Our emails, tweets, and every other message we receive or see are responded to with warmth and with purpose, even when those messages are useless or annoying. In the case where they're complete spam (like fake YouTubers), we just ignore them of course. The voice with which we respond is fun, helpful (trying, at least), and that of a gamer who understands how you feel when things aren't working.
Now go out there and tackle some community! We'll try to do the same.