Pokemon Go’s communication issues and how to avoid making the same mistakes

September 2nd, 2016   |  

With more than 100 million Android downloads and a reported $200 million in revenue after one month, Pokemon Go is a certified hit. Even with the success of the game, Niantic (the developers behind Pokémon Go) underestimated one important part: communication with their audience.

Photo credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA via VisualHunt / CC BY

Photo credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA via VisualHunt / CC BY

Shortly after it’s launch in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, players were hit with server problems, maintenance issues, and radio silence from Niantic. Although it seems as though developers were aware of bugs and were working to fix them, they failed to communicate this with their followers.

Some players took to social media to vent their frustrations in hopes of opening a line of communication with Niantic, like this YouTube rant. Still, no official response.

Tensions rose within the PokemonGo community after an app update on July 30th. Developers removed several functions of the game without any warning or disclosure.

Again, players took to social media to discuss their frustrations with the game and a slew of bad reviews flooded the Apple App Store and GooglePlay. Some players even went as far as to abandon the game completely.


People have come to expect, and in many times receive, constant contact from brands and companies. Cell phones, Wi-Fi, and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have bridged the gap between company and consumer. While many brands have learned how to use these tools to their advantage, Niantic failed to even get the fundamentals right. Their inability to communicate with Pokemon fans came as a harsh and unwelcome surprise to many.

The fact is that in 2016, social media allows a more effective and efficient customer service experience opportunity that many people have come to expect. Answering tweets and direct messages has a huge influence on a business’ success and perceived trustworthiness.

It does, however, seem like Niantic is learning from their mistakes. The company has since hired a Community Manager and is starting to inform players of updates and bug fixes through Twitter and the app stores. But is it too little, too late?

Don’t let your business repeat Niantic’s mistakes. Follow these six simple rules to keep your clients in the loop:

1. Keep customers involved

Regular interaction with your client base will help build trust and loyalty. If your customers believe that you are communicating with them openly, they will feel their relationship with you is built on mutual trust.

2. Keep customers informed

Keeping your clients involved is just as important as keeping them informed. An open and transparent communication with clients and customers is beneficial to build loyalty and trust. Nowadays, this is more than just a courtesy, it is a common practice. In the gaming world, companies often tell players about upcoming changes days, weeks, or even months in advance.

3. Use every channel available to talk to your clients

Don’t restrict your company to just one channel of communication. Gaming companies often fill blogs and forums with news of their intentions to show their community that they’re listening. Use everything at your disposal to interact and engage with your audience. Take advantage of social media channels and create an ongoing personal relationship with your followers. Send out press releases or newsletters and keep the conversation constant and consistent on all channels.

4. Collect information about your clients

Gathering regular feedback and monitoring customer satisfaction is vital to maintain a high standard of customer care. Stay tuned to your client’s needs and the latest market developments. Using tools like surveys, focus groups, and social media polls can help you target specific issues and show your clients that you care about what they have to say.

5. Act on the information you gather

Don’t just collect feedback, take action. If your clients are complaining about a specific bug on your website or app, let them know that you heard their complaints and take measures to fix this issue. Make sure to always keep your clients in the loop and update them if the fixes are ongoing.

6. Train your employees in client communication

Handling customers can sometimes be a little wild. Apart from sales or account managers, you should have someone that knows how to handle your community’s communications on the web. Using the wrong tone or style to communicate with your audience could be as bad, or even worse, than not communicating at all.

Not sure how to get started? Need help with your company’s social media or corporate communication strategy? Media Genesis can help!

We provide consulting for strategic and customer friendly social media communication and can assist in maintaining or restoring your online reputation. Reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter, or give us a call at 248-687-7888 for more information.

Posted in News.
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