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Making Strides to Improve our Customer Support Services

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Vogt Linden

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As we mentioned in our last blog post,  the Customer Support team continues to drive a series of changes to the  way in which Linden Lab delivers support to our Resident community.  We  are examining our support offering from top to bottom, using the data  from our new support system, your survey data, blog feedback, and  industry standard practices to help shape our approach.

Some  of our changes will be apparent to you, like the look and feel of the  new case and live chat systems and our coming self-service tools. Others  will be structural and won't be immediately apparent, like our internal  support tools, but their benefits will reveal themselves over time as  they enable us to address your issues more quickly.

As we approach these changes, we have a number of high-level goals in mind:

  • Leverage industry best practices, and our own hard-earned lessons, to create a comprehensive customer service offering.
  • Respond to high-urgency, business-critical requests more quickly.
  • Better address product and service issues before they become a support interaction.
  • Provide all Residents with better self-service tools to help solve issues immediately.
Changes to Support for Basic Residents

As  part of these changes, we are examining the types of support we offer  Residents of all levels, in an effort to provide better, more responsive  service to the most business-critical issues.  Starting on Wednesday,  October 13th, we will simplify and reduce the types of cases that Basic  Residents can file and direct them to our self-service tools on your account page, or search the Knowledge Base or Second Life Answers for solutions.  As a Basic Resident, you can still file cases about  most account issues, billing issues, marketplace issues, and some  technical issues.

Improving Support for Premium and Concierge Residents

As  we increasingly direct Basic Residents to self-service tools, we are  exploring ways that we can better service and support our Premium and  Concierge Residents.  These Residents –who are often landowners,  merchants, and inworld business owners– will continue to be able to file  the full range of cases, have access support via live chat, and in the  case of Concierge Residents, have access to phone support.  As we begin  to see the impact of the changes we have underway, we expect our  response times across all of these channels to improve.

This  announcement is one of many to come soon as we work hard to provide  faster, more effective customer service. We look forward to hearing your  feedback as these changes roll out.

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It's nice to see something truly and usefully differentiating those who pay a premium vs. those who have only basic accounts. Thank you, LL.


@Adam Spark

Premium members are, AGAIN, NOT the only ones making financial commitment to SL.

I'm all for premium members being at the TOP of the list. But cutting basic members off of the list is a mistake in my view.

I think they just implemented something called an "incentive." It's about time. I see the marketing director may well be worth her weight in salt.

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Yoz,

You only refer me to a JIRA where you claimed, without backing it up with any documentation, that the issue was resolved a year earlier. In what JIRA entry was it actually fixed? What LL policy or Knowledgebase articles clearly state that a Premium account "closed" by LL for delinquency will retain their inventory if they make good on the past-due fees and pay to reactivate their account?

According to the Knowledge Base, a delinquent Premium accounts gets closed after just 38 days, and if you reactivate a closed/cancelled account, you could still lose your inventory :

Look here:

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/What_happens_to_delinquent_accounts

What happens to delinquent accounts

Linden Lab will continue to try and bill the account for 7 days past the billing date. During that period the owner of the account can continue to login as normal.

On the 8th day, the account is put on delinquent hold for 30 days. Paying up the account during that time will reinstate it.

On the 31st day (or 38th depending on how you look at it), the account is closed, and the land turned over to Governor Linden.

And here:

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/My_account_was_cancelled_and_I'd_like_to_reactivate_it._What_should_I_do%3F

My account was cancelled and I'd like to reactivate it. What should I do?

If you have cancelled your account, there is a chance that we may be able to restore it upon your request.

Depending on the length of time during which you account was cancelled, we may or may not be able to restore your account. Even if we are able to restore your account, there is a chance that the inventory, land, and/or L$ previously associated with your account may be unrecoverable. If your account can be successfully restored, we will charge you a US$9.95 reactivation fee.

 

The current documented policy still states that a premium account will be closed and could lose their inventory if they can't pay within 38 days. Please update the documented policy, if this has actually changed.

I can fully understand that a Premium Account that has gone 38 days without paying a past-due bill could, and should, forfeit their land, and remain suspended until they pay their debts. 38 days is sufficient grace period for most normal billing issues, like a lost or stolen credit card needing to be replaced. But as a content creator, I would need to have it in writing that such an incident won't cost me my inventory, since you offer NO way for me to back up my inventory.

There should also be some mechanism for negotiating uncontrollable circumstances. For example, a Premium member that owns a private island should be able to contact the Lab and request that their Sim be taken off line, but RETAINED INTACT, if they lost their job and were seeking new employment, and wanted to pay the bill off as soon as possible, and reactivate when they got a new job.

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Hi Peswold.  You are absolutely right, there are some system bugs that are both incredibly frustrating for Residents and drive a lot of support load.  One of the encouraging things about the "Back to Basics" strategy Philip outlined at SLCC is that we are getting an opportunity to look at many of these and fix them.  All in the name of getting to Fast, Easy, and Fun.

You are also right that we aren't being as responsive to cases as we once were, or as we would like to be.  A number of blog comments have also called out this fact.  That is one of the areas we are looking to improve by undertaking these support changes.  While it will take us a while to complete the changes we have underway, and even longer to complete the ones we have planned, I am confident that we will come out of the process as a far more responsive support organization.

As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I will understand all of you withholding judgement until you have a chance to experience the results of our changes.  In the meantime, we are working hard to get there as rapidly as we can.

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It's nice to see something truly and usefully differentiating those who pay a premium vs. those who have only basic accounts. Thank you, LL.

@Adam Spark

Premium members are, AGAIN, NOT the only ones making financial commitment to SL.

I'm all for premium members being at the TOP of the list. But cutting basic members off of the list is a mistake in my view.

I think they just implemented something called an "incentive." It's about time. I see the marketing director may well be worth her weight in salt.

 

Taking something away from basic account holders is not a good way to provide "incentive" for premium. And besides, incentives for premium should be feature-based (similar to what they have had, only better). Things like security and support should not be restricted to premium.

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Good idea!

I am a landowner and have a premium account yet I have been waiting for any kind of reply on my tickets and AR's for NEARLY 4 MONTHS!

And Livechat just keeps telling me to file more tickets...

 

My tickets would not be helped by any new 'self service' tools you may provide so my problem would still need a QUICK reply from someone usefull (with other words, someone else then the ones at live chat support at the moment).

 

The real sollution would be to hire more people to help with support or to get a lot of experienced SL residents to createa a sub-support department.

When people need support they are first connected to some of these residents, I am sure that in most cases these can be of more help then the ones working at Live Chat now.

If they help someone they get a tiers discount, make some linden dollars, or some other kind of reward.

If they can't help they are transferred to live chat support that has some new people working on the issue... better ones then that are there now.

And if they can't help, then and only then they will be told to post a ticket, a ticket that SHOULD be answered within 24 hours.

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This just happened to me ... I made a mistake: instead of leaving in my paypal account  22.50 to pay my premium account, I left 22 so LL  could not charge me. As soon as I read the mail from LL telling me you could not charge me, I tried to collect on Xstreet the remaining money to solve the problem. until that day, I had only cash out through Xstreet.  When i was about to cash out to pay you, it said I should wait 2 days to get my money so I waited. When two days passed I sent a ticket telling them the situation. As usual, they ignored me. My concern was not to cash a few dollars and run forever,  what I wanted was enough money to pay Linden Labs. I finally realized that if I tried to change dollars in Lindex you be charged with that dollars, so I could pay the fee.

If from the first moment that I had sent the ticket you tell me it was a way to pay (from Lindex), I had not wasted my time waiting for a response that was 7 days later and said they now make "random Holds" to Prevent frauds.  At no time tried to tell me (7 days later) how to solve my problem, they settled for sending an explanation of why the cash out was taking so long.

If I had awaited the outcome of the ticket, not only i would not able to solve my problem but I would be a delincuent for not paying my fee of premium account because it took so long to answer. Sometimes you make it difficult for us to do things right. It's ridiculous.

 

Edit to ask a question for support team.

Being a premium member, If I have a problem with a parcel in the search, where should I direct?

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This is how I see it -  LL are now pushing for 'paid members' and are reducing the services that basic accounts can avail of. It's probably a cost cutting exercise as well - as support services are expensive.

Genuinely I can find little fault with this. I know, I know - a lot of basic members spend a lot of money on SL through renting estate etc etc etc. Many own large business and invest in SL in 'indirect' ways. Given all of that it does strike me that for a long time there has been little reason to become a prem member unless you wanted to actually 'buy' land - or live in a linden home. I have argued for quite a while now that the tier allowance for prems should be increased from 512 to 1024 - making it a reasonable size for building anything on. Some people have argued that the stipend should be bigger - it all depends on how you see things. Right now I'm beginning to think that maybe either tier allowance or/and stipend may become a thing of the past - and what prem members will actually be paying for is the ability to buy land straight from LL - and get decent support.

To a point - yes it is a step backwards - there was a time when prem members got stipends, free tier AND great support. In these economically tight times I have a feeling that many things are going to change in SL. I guess if LL brought tier down in price - or at least rethink how it is charged for (going up in small chunks as opposed to the 'doubling up' that happens now) it may be worth it. I do feel that 'free membership' is not going to bring much else with it apart from the ability to wander about SL and buy things (including estate land). Prems will get support and possible some other 'perks', and that will be it.

To be honest - apart from emotional arguments - it's a development that it's difficult to be too critical of, it's kind of in line with what happens most places both in virtual and real life. I just wonder what LL have planned (and I DO think you have a plan). A while back I thought it might be about sanitizing the Grid and making it primarily an education/art place where students and artists would feel most at home. The recent announcement re the dropping of the discounts to education and non-profit organisations seem to evidence that this is not the case. Actually now I'm just confused as to where LL are taking the grid and what the plans for the future actually are.

Interesting times!

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We  have been having challenges with our livechat service today and have  been working to resolve them as quickly as we can.  You can keep track  of the live chat status on the Status Blog (http://status.secondlifegrid.net/),  which is linked from the right-hand side of the Support Portal.

 

It's not just today that live chat has had these problems... it has been going on for past couple months at least.

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I hope you really Improve it, It takes months (Literally) for you to answer a ticket, and your old Ontyne Support was totally useless, I had better experience on bigger and free services, and here many of us spend thousands of dollars a year

You should rather give prioritized support by how much money a user makes or spends than give everyone who pays you 10$ a month, but that won't mean that you can dump the rest of the users on dates that are more than months

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Will we see redelivery option for customers of the new Marketplace?

That would help all sides alot and increase sales if there is a resonable safe way to receive and redeliver purchases in self-service quickly. At least for copyable items...

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I think they just implemented something called an "incentive." It's about time. I see the marketing director may well be worth her weight in salt.

For new folks maybe, for existing users it's a disincentive.

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I would be interested in going premium again if I could make 100m prims.  After LL learns to stop screwing up the grid every six months, that is.  But I don't pay for bad customer service, spotty reliability, and terms of service that say they can take millions of dollars of property anytime they wish for no reason whatsoever.  No, no I'm not the least bit inclined to pay good money for bad product like modern day SL.

But if they wake up and make a seperate continent for G, M and A instead of just mixing them up on the mainland, recognize that nobody spends 4+ figures without ownership, and let me make mega prims, I'd be willing to restart my premium once again.  As you may guess, I'm not exactly holding my breath.  But I am holding my wallet, and have been ever since the Voidsim debacle.  LL has done nothing since then to make me want to buy land again -- and in fact they've made it so buying land in SL is a sucker play.

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I would be interested in going premium again if I could make 100m prims.  After LL learns to stop screwing up the grid every six months, that is.  But I don't pay for bad customer service, spotty reliability, and terms of service that say they can take millions of dollars of property anytime they wish for no reason whatsoever.  No, no I'm not the least bit inclined to pay good money for bad product like modern day SL.

But if they wake up and make a seperate continent for G, M and A instead of just mixing them up on the mainland, recognize that nobody spends 4+ figures without ownership, and let me make mega prims, I'd be willing to restart my premium once again.  As you may guess, I'm not exactly holding my breath.  But I am holding my wallet, and have been ever since the Voidsim debacle.  LL has done nothing since then to make me want to buy land again -- and in fact they've made it so buying land in SL is a sucker play.

 

These are the kinds of things that need to be considered for premium membership incentives. Extra prim sizes is a great one! Maybe more group space?

But oh well. We're making too much sense now aren't we?

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I guess if LL brought tier down in price - or at least rethink how it is charged for (going up in small chunks as opposed to the 'doubling up' that happens now) it may be worth it.

This.

If tier would be cheaper and indeed would not double up when you buy more land a lot more people would buy land or at least more land, I would. I mean lets face it, there is not much you can do on a 4096 parcel, because of prim limit and it just to small to create a decent atmosphere with sort some feeling of depth and horizon. I would need at least 1/2 a sim for the things I really want to create (pc gamelike environment), but I am not doing it because it is just to expensive. It is not just the tier, but on top of that I have to pay 20% VAT on that. On other grids I can buy 4 sims for a fraction of the cost and no high setup fees either. Not that I am interested in doing that, SL grid is much better, advanced and crowded, just saying that it could be cheaper for my taste. LL probably wont lose anything over it if they lower tier, they will get more members buying land in return. That should even things out.

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Just had a flash of enlightement...I need to share

If LL segments support, Premium and Concierge have so much invested, we aint gonna leave soon (the proof is on the map). Basic with an age below thee months, they are walking on the sideline.
If there is a segment that needs premium support, give it to Basic below three months.

Gosh, we oldies have (grown) a thick skin by now. If there is something we need, it's fresh blood, new residents, future land owners.

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Maurice Linden  says in response to Chariclo Dezno:

 

Chariclo, I'm sorry to hear about the delay in responding to your tickets.  Those sorts of issues are exactly what we are looking to address with the series of changes we are kicking off.

We have been having challenges with our livechat service today and have been working to resolve them as quickly as we can.  You can keep track of the live chat status on the Status Blog (http://status.secondlifegrid.net/), which is linked from the right-hand side of the Support Portal.

The examples and frequency of New support tickets are few to many to count.  It is currently more common than the exception that new tickets are not even assigned for weeks or even months.  So, sorry for being skeptical Maurice but your team has a lot of HORRID REPUTATION to reverse regarding LL's customer support.  It basically doesnt exist at this time.

What really bothers me about your future plan is that as bad as the current support is, you are making it known that for a huge population of BASIC account holders (like me), its only going to get worse.

I would like to hear a few examples of SELF SERVICE tools you can provide us that would avoid us making support calls.  I dont submit tickets to LL support because I am too lazy to do it myself or generally dont know the answer.  In fact, filing a support ticket with LL is a DREADED LAST DESPERATE step I need to take to get a problem solved that ONLY LL cant solve by taking actions they have authority to take outside of normal available resident available tools.

So, please elaborate exactly what tools you are going to give us to do such things as:

-  review and modify my Lindex credit rating

-  deal with lost transactions / money

-  file an AR for another resident's abuse of TOS

-  Not being able to log into an account

-  Lost or corrupted inventory issues

-  SLM merchant issues

For almost all of these, I need LL to take an "exception" special action to resolve which LL cannot feasibly assign authority to us residents to resolve ourselves.

Finally.... STOP OUTSOURCING YOUR SUPPORT.  These generic on-shore or offshore 3rd party service desk companies cannot match the unique support incidents LL need to address for their customers.

I do not see Customer Support and Ticket Handling getting better from what you are saying.... specially for us BASIC ACCOUNTS.

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I am sorrry can you clarify this basic account thing, because I came off  a Premium Membership  but i do buy linden often and more than that  stipend you all give so can't I be qualified for some type of service? I  dont need a LL home or a 1000l bonus, I just want good service you still  get my money, I am just not held hostage for it ....just saying if I promise to  get 1200L a month can i get some service puh-lease?

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The tittle of this thread is funny :

"

Making Strides to Improve our Customer Support Services"

 

BUT the problem, we can't talk about a customers service, because Linden Lab, don't have any customers service.

They aren't able to answer to the tickets !

If you talk with them on the Live Chat "only if you're lucky", most of the time they will say "NO NO, we don't have any bugs on second life !!!, it's a problem of performance with your computer, But when you're like me, with a Mac Pro Quad Core, 8 GB of memory, and 1 GB of memory on my video card, I laugh....."

YOUR customers aren't stupids.

It's a shame, when you earn some millions of $, and when you have customers service like that.

And the truth, most of the persons to work on the customers service, are students... That mean, they know nothing about second life.

So you can wait, to get an help with a band of newbies.

Acutally, I have 3 tickets, send 3 weeks ago, and they don't answer. Normal, I don't HAVE 50 SIMS lol

So, don't try to modify, your customers service, TRY TO CREATE A REAL CUSTOMERS SERVICE.

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Before anyone else gets excited about signing up for a Premium Account, let me say that paying USD72 a year and USD195 a month will NOT get you better customer service; sadly, I found out too late.

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why would they look at your case? you are basic. Seriously. On what basis do you expect companies to bust a gut on your behalf when you make it clear to them you will not pay them a single cent?

 

Because basic residents also can be looked at as future premium residents.  But if they aren't getting the support they need (such as a ghosted avatar taking 3 days for a restart, so the resident couldn't log in during that time) they'll never become premium accounts.  They're also less likely to buy or spend their L$, so content creators are also getting shafted.

They're going to assume they're going to get terrible service no matter what.

What's sad is that they'd be right in that assumption.  So why should they spend money or even stick around?

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I'll add my two cents worth, there is no customer service at Linden Labs. Don't bother to get a premium account thinking you'll get what doesn't exist.

To a recent ticket citing a problem with viewer 2, after waiting 4 months for a reply the reply received was "have you tried viewer 2". To a problem with destination guide listings not working, I was asked "are you using viewer 2." Eventually, after confirming I use viewer 2, I was told put in another ticket. To my comment about waiting 3-4 months for the last ticket to be answered, I was told if they don't answer your ticket in 4-5 days put in another ticket. And now, for three days I can not even access my ticket history to determine if tickets are being addressed.

And yes, I am a conceirge level member... so it doesn't matter what you pay for. There is no customer service with LL anymore. As I read this posting from LL, all I come away with is that they have hired someone to use big words which say after months of problems we're giving you words to say we're looking to do something, we know not what or how, or when, but maybe a lot of words will hide that we have no clue how to provide customer service.

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How about making strides to listen to your customers.. I.E. minors on SL, no educational discounts any more..etc.. It should read Making strides to improve our customer relationship.


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To a recent ticket citing a problem with viewer 2, after waiting 4 months for a reply the reply received was "have you tried viewer 2". To a problem with destination guide listings not working, I was asked "are you using viewer 2." Eventually, after confirming I use viewer 2, I was told put in another ticket. To my comment about waiting 3-4 months for the last ticket to be answered, I was told if they don't answer your ticket in 4-5 days put in another ticket. And now, for three days I can not even access my ticket history to determine if tickets are being addressed.


Eh...I think they just skim the support tickets.  The last ticket I submitted a almost a year ago I asked about wether or not its permissible to have a topless sculpted statue on mature mainland since the rules for mainland seem a bit fuzzy...support closed my ticket after a month saying if I felt there was an issue inworld I should file an abuse report.  I was told to abuse report myself and I hadn't even bought the statue yet.   In the end I was so shocked and frustrated with the reply I just let it go...it just wasn't worth the brain damage to re-opening the case.

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Premium account is the way to go, you pay $72.00 annually, with weekly stiphen you get back $ 57.58, pluse $3.71 ( 1000L ) bonus first year. You also get to by a 512m parcel of main land that is tier free, I use it for a satellite store. If you do business is SL you need to spend the $ 15.00 annualy that it really cost, and even that doesnt count the tier you dont pay for 512m parcel. I resisted being a Premium member to, but its well worth it.

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