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April 27, 2001

EA: Comments from Canyon

The following was posted to the Team Comments page on the Ultima Online Web site:

Comments from Canyon

When I was asked to make a post for the Comments from the Team, I felt that it would be a good opportunity to introduce myself and discuss how customer service is addressed from a training perspective. Iím known as Canyon, and I am currently in charge of training for the Player Relations group. One of the questions people ask me at player gatherings is how I ended up with Origin. I graduated from a small liberal arts school in San Antonio a few years ago, but my degree in Political Science isnít really put to use when teaching someone how to deal with problem players. My minor in Sociology helps a bit, as does my teaching and customer service background.

My first experience with an EA game was Wing Commander 3. I then went back and played all the Wing Commanders, and Privateer 1 and 2. Oddly enough, I never played any of the Ultima games. That changed when Ultima Online came out. I had to wait several weeks to get a copy, since it was always sold out in the stores. My first week of the game was tough (I was one of the newbies that got killed by a deer), but I made some friends who showed me the ropes, and I was hooked. I found my niche as a roleplayer, and quickly became a part of the UO community.

I got my break in the industry as a volunteer, and I eventually became a Game Master in September of 1999. I have worked as a Game Master, Senior Game Master, and I am currently responsible for training in the Player Relations department. When new hires join the team, I work with them for several weeks, introducing them to the game and the responsibilities they will have as Game Masters.

It has been a challenge to create a training division for Player Relations, but it has also been very rewarding. All new hires get consistent training that teaches them the latest policies and issues. We also have ongoing training for GMs when issues change, or when we add new features to the game. Training is a priority because we recognize that the Game Masters need to have the tools and knowledge to provide great customer service. We also conduct testing so we can see how well GMs understand the issues that they have to deal with in game.

We recognize that providing great customer service is essential for us to remain competitive. We have all worked very hard to improve the level of service that we offer, and we have made great strides in both the quality and quantity of service we offer to players.

When I go to a restaurant and receive bad service or food, I donít go back. And if I am really displeased with the service, Iím going to warn everyone I know about it. Not only will the restaurant lose my business, but the restaurant will most likely lose the business of my friends and family. The positive side of this is that when I have a good experience as a customer, Iíll go back and also recommend it to my friends. I understand that our customers do the same thing with Ultima Online, and we want to keep our customers happy with the service that they receive.

I understand that players will not always be happy with the outcome of the call, but I want to make sure that the GMs are doing their best to give the customers great service. There will be times when GMs have to tell the player ďno,Ē but this should always be done in a polite way that educates the customer on why we need to follow a certain standard of conduct. Itís my job to make sure the GMs understand what this standard is, and the best way to apply it in customer interactions. Regardless of the outcome of the situation, we want the customer to feel they dealt with someone who was polite and professional who was knowledgeable about the situation.

Canyon
Player Relations
Ultima Online

Posted by Nobody at April 27, 2001 7:34 PM

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