Feedback:User/Silromenar Curutur/CRM Remediating Incorrect Punitive Actions

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Keeping it simple: Arenanet should consider using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy which graciously compensates users for mistakes made by its staff which materially impact players' use and enjoyment of the company's products and services.

As an example (drawn from a recent situation), if a player who has kept his account in good standing reports another player violating the rules, which results in the reporter's account being suspended or banned incorrectly, and the mistake is not corrected in a reasonable timeframe (optional consideration), then the player is eligible for a "gratuity", which can be something like a key for a rare/unique in-game virtual item. In the case where the mistake costs the player real money, the player would be eligible for an equivalent-value substitute, such as character slots, extended subscription (assuming such is part of the game -- this is a general example for any type of game), or some other credit from the game.

The rationale behind this strategy is based on the following:

  1. Company mistakes should not be at the customers' pain.
  2. Good apologies consists of 3 parts: a) We're sorry. b) It was our fault. c) How can we make it better? By proactively making an offer to satisfy the last part, you generate a massive amount of goodwill in your customers.
  3. Customers understand that employees will make mistakes; that doesn't mean good apologies are unnecessary. Customers are much more willing to forgive mistakes when the company makes a significant and proactive effort in rectifying them and remedying their impact.
  4. Many times, the customer's damages from company mistakes are not real or tangible, and thus, non-tangible compensation in the form of virtual property can serve as a very good form of it, since it (generally) costs the company nothing.
  5. In the case of the example above, when customers go out of their way to help the company maintain the product or service quality, reciprocal consideration should be forthcoming when such a mistake is made, lest customers lose critical incentive to continue assisting, and may actually become fearful and/or distrustful of the company's motives or competence. This goes along the same lines in properly managing volunteers. Volunteers give of themselves, and when they are mistreated by the company, it can critically damage necessary motivation to keep quality volunteers willing to remain helpful.
  6. Visible company mistakes which go without adequate remediation can magnify in effect across more customers; bad PR can actually magnify the effect of the mistake manyfold. Likewise, good PR can erase the effect of the mistake, and can reinforce and engender increasing good will from a greater body of customers. "They took good care of me" is vastly more valuable as a PR result than "I was punished for someone else's violations and they didn't care" or even "Don't report other people's violations; YOU might get banned yourself instead for the effort". Actions which cost little to nothing in terms of money or effort which bias said result more towards the positive are a definite WIN for both company and customer.

There are potential issues with such a strategy; one issue is that knowledge of the company's policy may engender some people to attempt to "game" the policy, attempting to cause the company's staff to make mistakes so that they may profit from it. That said, it also can be known that people attempting to game the policy will lose their accounts permanently, and/or that any compensatory efforts made by the company are not guaranteed by the policy; it can simply be something which is offered at the company's discretion.

It was suggested that something like this would be a "Whoopsie Prize", and that the only incentive players should need to volunteer their efforts to help maintain service quality is their own vested self-interest. This take betrays a rather fundamental misunderstanding of volunteer and customer relationship management. As such, this suggestion is offered in an attempt to remedy this oversight.

I welcome discussion on this suggestion, as I believe I can offer significant and relevant insight into the issue.