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warspeech

Phone support is being "adjusted" out of existence

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https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?627620-Support-Adjustment&p=7604471#post7604471

"Support Adjustment

Greetings! 

On Monday, June 6th we will be expanding our online and in-game support services as part of our efforts to provide speedier and higher quality responses to help requests. As a result, phone support will no longer be available for Lord of the Rings Online.

For account and billing related issues you can continue to contact us online via http://support.turbine.com. 

To request assistance from within the game, simply click the ‘New Ticket’ button on the Help Panel.

Thank you!
+Dust

Edited for grammar" 

No one on the OF is drinking the kool-aid on this one so far.  

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Seen already myself.....   didn't pose this on OF, but does it cost money to rent or whatever a phonenumber in US??  Like in UK if you want an 0800 or 0845 number AFAIK you have to pay for the service as a business, just thinking this could be the main reason they have dumped phone service?

It doesn't look good, but as always they try and butter it up by improved online support - yeah, right - EG  Few years back, I called them on Skype from UK, to pay for some expacks to be applied to my GFs account just AFTER her Bday, but paid in advance by myself, credit card details involved etc, can you imagine doing that in game?   No, no you can't.

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1 hour ago, warspeech said:

No one on the OF is drinking the kool-aid on this one so far.  

Not true anymore.

Quote

Glad to hear it.


I have been playing since 2007 and have never had a reason to use phone support. Chat support is less expensive and more efficient (in general)

Please take special note of the "I have..." followed by a sweeping generalization presented as fact. True to the spirit.

SNy

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well, since English isn't my primary language and I'm much better communicating by e-mail/chat it doesn't matter to me. But it's another sign that they are minimizing costs/ taking the high route to maintenance mode

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"On Monday, June 6th we will be expanding our online and in-game support services as part of our efforts to provide speedier and higher quality responses to help requests. As a result, phone support will no longer be available for Lord of the Rings Online."
 

This kind of double talk just rubs me the wrong way. It is deceptive, plain and simple, and insults the intelligence of the user.

I don't care about phone service one way or another (LOTRO always worked fine for me and I never contacted support except for some failed attempts at reporting bugs). If they had just plain said "sorry, we canceled the phone line but we added some chat and in-game service resources" they would have made a much better impression.  This is just stupid on their part. The "whales" they want, the people with money to spare, are people who are usually not some form of idiot who you can address the way they do.

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What I find interesting is the apparent evidence the margins have shrunk so much that cutting the support line has a significant impact on the bottom line.  Most businesses a comparable level of outlay is a very small portion of the overhead.  I new they had contracted significantly, but this starts looking like mom/pop level.

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In a day and age where outsourcing a call center can be done for pennies on the dollar, Turbine's closing of phone support tells me that they are having financial problems, if they can't even afford an outsourced call center.

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This is pretty bad for an MMO. Something goes wrong and you can't contact anyone. You can't ever talk to a human about an account or billing issue.

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10 hours ago, Dalthalion said:

In a day and age where outsourcing a call center can be done for pennies on the dollar, Turbine's closing of phone support tells me that they are having financial problems, if they can't even afford an outsourced call center.

Remember they can't even be bothered to fix the forums, or remove spam from the forums. They could probably afford a cheaper type of phone support, but no one will spend the time on it. Lotro is their minds is clearly an old, half-supported game at this point.

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17 hours ago, nosam9 said:

This is pretty bad for an MMO. Something goes wrong and you can't contact anyone. You can't ever talk to a human about an account or billing issue.

Most studios get rid of phone support as soon as their titles go free-to-play. (Examples that come to mind off the top of my head are Trion Worlds and SOE/Daybreak.) Turbine did pretty good by keeping their phones going for six more years.

Even Blizzard stopped offering phone support for its games 3 years ago. (Blizzard does offer live chat now, though. For some cases, I think that can actually be superior to phone support.)

Turbine's phone support was very helpful to me on both occasions I needed it, so I'm sad to see it go. But I'm not surprised to see it go. I doubt they had more than a handful of employees answering phones. At least players who were previously unable or unwilling to call will be in the same queue as everyone else, now.

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22 hours ago, Fredelas said:

Most studios get rid of phone support as soon as their titles go free-to-play.

That's a valid point.

But since we know Turbine is unwilling to provide good support online, this is going to be bad. They have a tendency to close tickets or never answer them, and I can't see this changing now. If they suddenly offer top rate online support that would be different.

Turbine is basically no longer offering support for all who ask for it - unless they are actually going to answer every ticket.  

With their track record of ignoring PMs to community managers, and closing tickets instead of helping players, I highly doubt this will change.

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F2P MMORPGs taking weeks, months to answer or never answering tickets is preety common.

Besides Lotro is odd small MMORPG operating for small group of diehard fans + some random F2P players, what do you expect?

 

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TSW is an odd, small MMO operating for a small group of diehard fans and some random B2P players along with being known to have financial issues, and we have excellent customer service. No phone support either, but then again, the GM's seem to have far greater abilities to help in-game and all of the CM crew seem to really strive to resolve any issues you may have.

Being a small company with limited resources isn't a formula for poor customer service, it's how the company chooses to deal with customers that matters.

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TSW revenue is life or death for Funcom + TSW is far newer game.

Turbine is(or at least can be) bankrolled by WB and Lotro is significantly older game.

Relatively small company vs huge corporation.  Essential vs non-essential. Diffrent overhead, diffrent corporate culture.

 

Hardly comparable.

 

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I gave the same qualifications for TSW as you did for LotRO, they are very similar in the points you originally posted.

But even off you're second post calling in the WB card etc. LotRO could easily have better Customer Service than TSW, Larger potential bankroll, more time to set up and establish a streamlined helpful CM department.

My point stands, it's not about F2P, being a small company or having a small playerbase, CM is about how the company decides to deal with customers and how they divide up the resources to maintain Customer Management. You don't need a call center to be effective and efficient for an MMO you do need to empower the CM people to be able to do their job and push them to do it well.

 

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Underwhelming CM support seemed to be intristic Turbine characteristic, true.    I remember getting much lower quality CM once my account was transfered to Turbine from Codemasters.   Codemasters support really was better.

Of course that was several years ago.  No idea how it is at Turbine now, but I have doubts it improved considering where in the market their products are now.

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It's easy enough to say that chat or in-game support is better than phone support anyway.

But lousy chat support sucks even more, because you can't do anything when there are just no replies coming and you know that the douche is just gaming in the background (and in the case of LOTRO support probably not gaming LOTRO).  On the phone there is quite a bit more connection.

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Sadly, I've been waiting a week now for a password/email problem with no response. This would take five mminutes by phone. I can't use in-game support obviously. I noticed that Lego products has phone support, though.

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