A New Year's Chutzpa
Jan 03, 2009 21:17:38

The classic definition of Chutzpa (as related by my mother): someone who kills both their mother and their father and then throws themselves on the mercy of the court because they are an orphan.

Recently there was an article published over at t-machine.org (source) entitled "Customer Relationships and Support for Online Games and MMOs."

The only reason that his particular article caught my eye was that it was picked up by Massively.com. Before this morning I had never even heard of "tmachine.org." The article, as the review by The Servitor, summarizes it is about "How good customer support is of paramount importance in customer retention." The author of the article over at tmachine has, apparently, discovered the concept of developers and publishers of MMOs selling a service and not just a product, as well as the idea of buying customers - That I am fine with, after all enlightenment is enlightenment no matter what the source.

What I do take exception with is, apparently the same thing the author of "The Servitor" blog took exception to in the article entitled "O Hai 2009, How you doin" (source) What I take great exception to is when someone tells me that I am too stupid to understand something, and what is more everyone else in the industry is, by and large, too stupid to understand it as well. Yet that is exactly what the author of the t-machines article does:
"We still don't know what "it's a service not a product" actually means. I'm sad to say this, but it's true. On the whole, MMO and Online Game developers/publishers *still don't get it*. They think they do, but they don't." - Adam at T-Machine.org

While the industry greats - people like Rob Pardo, Jeffrey Kaplan and John Smedley, are not loosing any sleep over the thought that someone feels neither they nor the industry at large "gets it" (and the Tmachine article doesn't point out anyone in the industry by name to be honest) I found the tone of the article to be nothing short of astounding. If I had been the only one to notice this I might have given it a pass. However someone who's work has been featured on "No Prisoners, No Mercy" (who I should point out is a professional in the very industry the article on customer service discusses) took note of it as well.
"Furthermore, the post's tone seems to imply that the way we should encourage improvement in this area is to have those clueless gimps down in the customer service bay, who clearly have no idea about the "good CS = moar moneyz" equation, sit down and think about it properly." - The Servitor

The attitude that "The Servitor" is reacting to is set by the following paragraph in the Tmachine article:
"I'm sorry to all the people who diligently work in CS with no thought of monetization and think they're genuinely helping people. Yes, you are helping people. But you're paid to do it because someone else in your company (your boss? Your bosses' boss?) is using that as part of how they monetize it, or as part of something that helps to make sure the customer is still around in the future solely in order to BECOME monetize." - Adam at tmachines.org

The apology of Adam at Tmachine "I'm sorry to all the people who diligently work in CS with no thought of monetization and think they're just genuinely helping people..." is an example (and a poor one at that) of what my grandfather, a businessman all his life, used to call "telling people to go to hell and make them like it." It's just one step above the compliment "Gee for a fat girl you sure don't sweat much."

The T-machine article goes on to point out to us that the author has discovered the concept of "purchasing customers." While the original author may have suddenly achieved enlightenment the concept is nothing new in the business world. The idea of purchasing intangible assets of a corporation when the business is sold is called purchasing "good will." The concept is one of purchasing the intangible assets of a business - the value of a business beyond its physical assets; which represents the value of an existing client base and the future profits which come from that client base.

One of the phrases in Servitor's review that caught my eye was "include them [servitor is talking about customer service representatives here] whenever possible - this means things as diverse as "give support a briefing on any change that may affect the customer service as it's even in development.'"

This is an area in which I will admit that there sometimes seems to be a bit of a deficiency. For example when I was playing the beta of Lord of the Rings Online (Lotro) I paged a customer service representative (CSR) when a quest didn't work property. I might not have been concerned but it was a key quest that was necessary to complete (at least at the time) in order to progress in the game. To make a long story short the issue, which the CSR was unable to resolve, could have been solved by hiring someone who had actually played the game before.

I will also allow that there are times when not enough credit is given to support staff in an organization - after all who where the first staff members laid off at Turbine? It was that Quality Assurance and Account Management Staff.

Now I might understand if someone has a "burr under their tail" as grandma used to say and thinks that I personally don't understand an issue. But to day the MMO industry as a whole doesn't "get it" and you are the sole source of enlightenment?

That's just chutzpa.

See you online,

- Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Jan 03, 2009 21:17:38 CST (comments: 0)


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