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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Customer Service Week: Good, Bad, and Ugly Stories

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Pleasing you shouldn't be a key differentiator, but it is.

A very long time ago, excellent customer service was the standard. You called up a company's hotline and a real English-speaking person would address your inquiry and serve your needs. You don't get that in many places anymore. When Nintendo changed from having their gameplay helpline to what they have now, you can see that as a sign of different times.

October 5-9 is Customer Service Week, which is apparently recognised internationally. And we sincerely hope that our customer service at KoopaTV has been as good as a free-to-access website can be. We've addressed all of your comments, concerns, questions, and requests. We continually service y'all with hard-hitting commentaries that get both your brain and your gut burstin'. (In a good way. I think.)

But as I alluded to in the opening paragraph, not every organisation can be as good as we are. And some don't even try. 

For example, take Electronic Arts. Their "customer service" is to be completely dishonest with you. First of all, you get people who have no idea about proper English. They don't try to answer your questions in a manner that makes sense... they just try to lure you to their toll number. KoopaTV once had an amazing interview with a person off EA's customer service live chat about how my Madden NFL 25 disc didn't work and I wanted to send it in for a new one.

The kicker is that Madden NFL 25 wasn't even released yet and wouldn't be for over a month. The end result is that the service representative gave totally contradictory and nonsensical answers. That's not servicing or respecting the customer. Perhaps even worse, EA does not give their representatives the tools they need to be good service people. They set them up for failure and humiliation.
Haninder: No, it will charge you, you can check it on that link.
KoopaTV: Well they said it's "free of charge".
Haninder: Great.
Haninder: Than , you will get it for free. 
KoopaTV: Is it a problem that Madden 25 isn't going to be released for another two months?
Haninder: Not really.
Like, what the hell? EA, despite their PR, is widely recognised for their terrible service. And they're totally fine maintaining that.

Meanwhile, the shining example of good customer service published on KoopaTV (besides ourselves) would be HelloWorld (formerly known as ePrize), the third-party who handled The Pokémon Company International's "Gotta Catch 'Em All" content. I mean, you can look at their Twitter right now for their very transparent approach to customer service. So I'm very happy that after almost two years since we last looked at 'em, they're apparently continuing being good.

But back when KoopaTV talked about them, there was an issue with the winner's list not being published. So we asked them about what happened. They said they would get back to us in a certain amount of time... and they ACTUALLY DID! Then they said it would take more time to verify the winners and gave another time-table. If they didn't post the winners by then, we could contact them again. And... they posted the winners way before their time-table!

And they wished us a great day. That's a lot more than anything Electronic Arts ever did. An important principle of good customer service is that you don't, and shouldn't, have to lift the whole world over your shoulders to do well. If the company you're working for is honest and transparent to begin with, then pleasing the customer is just an extension of what your business already does, which makes your job relatively easy. You know you do not have a service culture if you feel that you have to fight your own company to make your customers happy. Companies that empower their representatives and make sure they have the knowledge and authority they need to do their work are the best places to work.

Speaking of great places to work with empowered employees, KoopaTV has a vast number of unfilled positions...

Then there's Nintendo's own customer service. Which has seen its ups and downs. But since I gave an example of bad service and then of good service, here's an example of... something in-between.

Back with Round 2 of the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program (which is our ultimate service for you), our prizes included two Deluxe Digital Promotion codes. Each code, once redeemed in the Nintendo eShop, would award its user $5 in eShop credit.

Unfortunately, I put KoopaTV in a situation where we had to rely on a third party (Nintendo) in order to fulfill our own customer service (KoopaTV to you, the reader). Basically, the codes that I was entitled to from my participation were lost, and I had to get Nintendo's customer service to get 'em back to me. Which was a disaster chronicled here.

And they flat-out did not understand me. After multiple phone conversations. They didn't have the knowledge to help with my request. If I was an ordinary clueless customer and not the well-informed commentator I am, then I would've been discouraged a while ago. In the end, eventually, another guy came and... instead of giving me codes, put the money into my eShop balance.

Which, if you remember, meant I couldn't exactly do KoopaTV's service obligation. Because I can't transfer my balance to yours. Not even indirectly. I had to fulfill KoopaTV's service obligations via other methods, though I hear y'all were still pleased with what I did instead.

So for Nintendo, that's a case of "We have no idea what you're talking about, but you're annoying so we'll give you something. Hope you shut up now." That's... not good customer service either, but it's better than EA's stunts. At least they escalated it to someone within Nintendo who COULD do something, even if it's not what I wanted. But the people at the front-lines should know what I'm talking about, or at least the person they first escalate it to (the unnamed "specialist" in the article). No, I had to get it escalated from the escalation. That specialist existed just to dissuade the customer. That's really not good.

You want to treat your customers with courtesy, respect, and with the knowledge that even if they may not be well-informed about this issue, that's why they're calling. They want your help because your company's communication broke down for them somewhere along their customer journey. Their knowledge set may be in a totally different area, so you want to treat them like they are smart people, not infants. You also want to be honest and keep your word.

KoopaTV is one of the most transparent videogame websites out there, if you listen closely. It's been a pleasure serving you, and KoopaTV hopes for the honour and opportunity of continuing to serve you in the future.

Another article where customer service was the moral of the story, but it deals with the stories of a KoopaTV traitor and a KoopaTV deserter, so...
For perhaps the worst customer service KoopaTV has ever encountered, look to Facebook.


  1. So far the best customer servies are those that usually have live chat though I did have good ones that I have done with email/phone. I usually research the merchant I am about to buy from well beforehand so that may be why but unlike merchants, not much can be done if you buy a product made from a specific company such as Nintendo.

    My preordered Splatoon Artbook with 300+ pages is going to be shipping soon from a Japanese merchant I bought from. I boight from them before and they use email for customer service for international customers and were really reliant and responded relatively quickly. Still nervous because it is my first time preordering. Still on the look out for the plush toys coming out.

    1. Oh, by merchant do you mean like an Amazon or eBay user?

      Hope your order for the Artbook goes well.

    2. Yeah for the merchant question.

      And I am very excited for the artbook.

    3. It's extremely important for individual merchants to be good with service.

      Your reputation is everything there. That and your inventory.

    4. My art book shipped. I am so excited. Now I eagerly wait for it as well as look up everyday to see if the plushies will finally be sold. Those pictures of those plushies that were not meant to be photographed is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing that I do not have to sew them up myself and a curse that I have no idea when they will come and they are so adorable and I want to have them and hug them. But eventually it will be all blessing when they are sold as there is no more uncertainty when they will come.


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