Recently my son Ian has spent a good portion of his personal time playing an online fantasy game called League of Legends. Ian is ten. A few days before Thanksgiving he was suddenly unable to access his account. He’s a kid so he cried. Periodically the tears have come back. He’s miserable and unhappy in a ten year old kind of way. He feels betrayed and is slowly getting angry at the company that put out the game.
Until this happened he probably never thought about the fact that there was a company with hundreds of people that worked hard to create a world where he could run around with a giant medieval hammer and gleefully crush hobgoblins or become an anorexic dragon with a flaming staff and then team up with a huckster with a magic deck of cards. He, like most kids, has an abundance of energy and remarkable focus. He has turned that focus to this online world of fantasy. Now, suddenly, he has a real world problem trying to gain access to his primary form of escape.
When the account locked up I went online with him and dutifully filled out a trouble ticket. Yup that’s the system, we’ve all come to loath it, fill in some info on an standard form and submit it to god knows where and wait for a response. This is what the web has brought us – ” you’ve got an issue with our company?!! Well take an anonymous number and when we feel like paying attention to you WE WILL CONTACT YOU!” First, of course, give us every damn piece of info we require ’cause if you don’t we will just ignore you forever.
My son and I have waited for ten days for Riot Games to find the time to reply to us. I looked for a phone number and luckily found one on a user forum. Why would a company with 28 million registered users lower itself to having a phone number on its website? That would require them to pay some small kernel of attention to its customers when its convienent to the customers. This has what the web has brought us. Gone are the days when businesses were required to to actually SPEAK to their customers. No, no, that is a major hassle. The customer might be unhappy or critical, they might want us to help them when they actually feel a pressing need for help. “Press three to continue to be ignored.”
I should mention that I work in Sales. I work professionally in providing service and products to a large customer base. Whenever I visit my customers (yes I actually go and see them) I always find a way to mention that when you call the company that I work for a human answers the phone. Every time. Of course we could fire the two people that have spent twenty years answering the phones for the company and it would save some payroll dollars. We could install a phone tree that distills human concerns down to nine easily ignored questions. If we did this it would be ignoring the fact that calling a phone number and making contact with an intelligent person that knows how to begin the process of addressing our customer’s needs within thirty seconds is in the best interests of the customers. They need answers and information quickly and having a qualified person to talk to is the quickest most efficient system for the customer. The opposite system would be to force them to take their time to wade through a phone tree or a trouble ticket system or a sales lead form thereby saving our staff’s valuable time AT THE EXPENSE OF THE CUSTOMER’S TIME.
So Ian and I wait patiently for Riot Games to descend from the clouds and take one of their precious moments to recognize that one of their paying customers has a problem. While we wait Ian is forced to enjoy Riot Games competitor’s products, games that he had never taken the time to check out. I on the other hand have spent some time trying to find a phone number for Riot Games , call Riot Games (Oh no sir, our support teams don’t even have phones to talk to the gamers!) and write a blog to complain that the current generation of web companies have chosen profit as their God and see their customer base as a herd of sheep to be fleeced in the most efficient manner possible.
Copyright 2015 Billiken Media