[MUD-Dev] Biz: Game support

Michael Sellers mike at onlinealchemy.com
Fri Nov 14 11:51:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


Dan Harmon wrote:
> From: Peter Tyson [mailto:PeterT at codemasters.com]

>> Anyone considered moving their game support to India/Asia? At
>> first glance, while cheaper, it does provoke issues of
>> understanding the subtleties of English, gaming and MMORPGs in
>> particular as the support is rarely formulaic phone/email
>> answering.

>> I believe UO moved some support to India, anyone have any
>> experience of it?

> Well on the plus side, if you make people pay international rates
> to India, you won't have to handle many support calls ;)

> Actually that's an interesting point. How many games have local
> points of presence across all territories offering support 24/7 at
> local call rates?  I've never called a game support line - sitting
> in a queue at international call rates has never appealed.

I think most places in the US (and this goes far beyond games) that
are outsourcing to India route the calls through their own 800
numbers, meaning there's no cost to the customer, or through local
US numbers.  The cost of routing calls internationally is far
outweighed by the savings in personnel costs.

There are a lot of cultural issues beyond idiomatic English too, but
it seems that with proper training and some on-the-ground presence,
outsourcing the first levels of customer service to India, the
Philippines, or other countries can be a big win for service-heavy
businesses.

There are cultural issues on both ends too, and some no-win
situations.  For example, if you call EA support and get an
Indian-accented guy who says, "hello, my name is... Frank", some
people are put off by the blatant dishonesty and in effect the
company talking down to them as the customer (just let the guy tell
me his name is Sridar!).  OTOH, there's the perception in some
companies that many customers are uncomfortable talking with Sridar
or Niranjan or Ajay even if their English is excellent, and would
rather have the illusion of talking with Frank or Todd or Bill.

My hope is that this sort of discomfort will fade as people get more
used to dealing with globalized services.  I think that, properly
run, this sort of operation can provide strong benefits to both the
company and the local economy.

Mike Sellers
Online Alchemy
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