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Customer Service?

Sunday, May 13, 2001 by TheDoc || [0 Comments]

As I sit here at work, I'm reminded every few minutes that there are problems with game companies and customer service. The problem is two fold really, in that when people try to get help for a product that isn't working, they should get help, but also that when they do call for help, they need to know something about their computer (or computers in general).

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind helping someone with a problem when it really is a problem that we should be helping them with. We get the typical "the game crashes" or "the game is slow". But, about 70% of the calls we deal with, are calls from people who don't know a thing about their computer. We start with the simple questions; what OS are you running (Yes, ME and 2000 ARE different OS's), what type of video card do you have? (most people don't know the answer to this one...), what type of sound card do you have? When was the last time you've updated the drivers for video/sound cards? Simply things like that. Most people don't know any of this, but expect a game to run without them ever having to do a thing. Now I'm sure we all kind of feel that way, I want to install a game and have it run, but I also know that if it doesn't run, it might be a problem on my end. Does it need DX 8 and I'm running DX 7, does my video card have the newest drivers if I'm getting artifacting in the game? You don't know how many times I've asked a person, have you updated the video drivers lately and gotten the answer, well, I just bought the video card a few months ago, or the computer is only a few months old... Then I have to explain to them that when you buy a computer, the software might be months older than that, or the cd that came with the video card probably is 6 months old. They don't see the problem with that. Then I have to explain that video drivers get updated monthly, or every other month and that their drivers could be almost a year old.

Now, I can deal with having to talk these people through things (even the ones who don't listen, go farther than you tell them because they think they know what you're going to say, or don't have a clue what to do when we say right-click), but I don't understand people when we tell them to do something like update their video card drivers, and even tell them where to get them, only to have them call us back because they can't follow simple instructions that were provided to them from the video manufacturer. So they decide to call us. Why? We didn't make the video card or the drivers... Would you call your phone service for instructions on how to put oil in your car? (that doesn't include information, where I'm sure they do get that sort of thing...) But to call us back, and say, ok, I've got the drivers, now what? Well, we just want to tell them, if you can't follow the instructions, call them, not us. We STILL don't have anything to do with them. We were nice enough to tell you what you need to do to fix the problem, where to get them, why do you think that we should hold your hand while you install them?

Another example is passwords. When you install a game, and create an account on the internet, it asks you to create a password. It tells you right there (if you bothered to read the terms of service) that we are not responsible for your password, so write it down, don't forget it, etc. We constantly get people calling us, telling us that they forgot their password, they gave it out to somoene who has changed it on them, or they used something so simple that a 5 year old could guess it, and now they want their account back. Our reply, we're sorry, we do not have access to the password database for security and privacy issues. They don't get that. Maybe we could just tell them what the password is and they can get their stuff back. Again, we cannot, it's company policy, and we do not have that access. Well, maybe they can talk to someone who does. These people don't get it. I feel for them, I really do, but if you forgot your password, or gave it out, or are dumb enough to make your password your character name, or 1234, then you want me to feel sorry for you, break company policy, and tell you something that I don't even have access to? Simple answer, no. Then they act like it's our fault that they forgot their password or they gave it out to someone (which is usually started with: I did a stupid thing and I know that I shouldn't have, but...). It's not our fault that you did what you did. You need to realize that.

Now that I've done enough customer bashing, I do realize that there are people out there who do not give customer support. I know some people that I work with that are more intent on playing the game, than giving the customer help. I can't stand this. I am there to do a job, even when it's not really my job, I try to help people. They don't know how to setup their LAN, it's not my problem, but I give them tips and point them in the right direction. When they call us asking how to install the video drivers, I'd love to tell them to call the video card manufacturer, but I don't, if I know how, I'll tell them. They complain that they have minimum or below standard system specs and their computer is running really choppy, I want to tell them to updgrade, but I'll usually give them tips on how to increase performance and try to get it running better (and please, if I tell you to turn off the damn antivirus software, it's for a reason, don't argue with me. It's a memory hog, and it tries to scan all the files in the background when you're playing the game, of coarse it's going to slow down the computer)... I'm getting paid by the hour to help you. I try even if it's not part of my job. Do I get praise? No, we only hear the people who bitch the loudest. If somoene is happy that we helped them after they tried to figure it out for a week, all we hear is thanks or maybe a complaint. I can't say that for everyone, there are a few who have expressed joy that we helped them fix their computer, or a problem that was happening, but they are the rare few, and even then we're the only ones to hear about it.

Next time you have to call tech support for something, and they do a good job, show them. Take the time to write to the company telling them that so-and-so did a great job helping them. Or if you call, after you are done, ask to speak with their supervisor and tell them what a good job the tech did. It always makes your day when your boss comes up to you and tells you that someone called or wrote to say what a good job you did. It usually clears up all the negitivity we deal with all day long. Remember, they are there to help you, they didn't create the game, they don't know every problem that a game has (new ones come up all the time) and if we ask you for information, it's because we need it. I won't ask for information because your cdrom doesn't work, just because I want to. And if you think well, somoene else will send it in, if they think the same way, the problem will never get fixed.

In closing, I guess it comes down to we'll be nice to you, if you be nice to us. And remember, this is MY opinion and does not reflect those of this website, or my employer.

If you have a different opinion and wish to express it, please email us and we'll be happy to review it and post it.

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