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Making Strides to Improve our Customer Support Services

by Linden on ‎10-07-2010 12:13 PM

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.

Comments
by Honored Resident Maurice Linden
on ‎10-07-2010 04:44 PM

While we won't have a tool for every issue out the gate, we're actively looking for areas to expand the Resident tool set, and inventory tools are definitely on our list of areas to explore.

I'm not certain what you mean about Premium Residents being "murdered," but Premium Residents do not have their inventory purged after several months of delinquency and non-payment.

by Honored Resident DD Ra
on ‎10-07-2010 04:47 PM

When I came in SL, it was plagued by more lag and technical problems thant today, SL was quite ugly compared to what it is today, but Linden Lab was still considering SL as "our world, our imagination".

It was a world of wonder, in the making.

Today, Linden Lab has done numerous technical improvments, SL is more beautiful, but  LL is trying to monetarize Second Life without any regard to the residents. It's their world, our financial contribution. We do not have any right, event as customers. To much sim owners and creators, and now educators, have been left alone by LL, and left SL because of that, for me to believe in any progress in a time where so much Linden have been laid off.

I have downsised my terrains and expenses in SL, and if I find more energy, it wil probably now be to move to OpenSim, because for me SL has lost it's soul.

Only friends and nostalgy now tie me to SL.

by Honored Resident Maurice Linden
on ‎10-07-2010 04:47 PM

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.

by Recognized Helper
on ‎10-07-2010 04:48 PM

I agree.  Concierge support used to be outstanding, particularly if I was fortunate enough to get Spike dealing with the issue.

But the last two or three or times, I've ended up with Ontynes, whose abilities seem to extend no further than telling you to file a ticket, or telling you to be patient when you call a week or so later to ask when someone's likely to get round to looking at it, let alone resolving it.

I get the very strong impression that LL's ended up with a support system that doesn't allow the front line people to escalate cases, even if they want to.  

Certainly I'd advise anyone who needs technical advice to use the appropriate Second Life Answers forums and those on independent sites like SLU rather waste time trying to get sense out of Live Help.

by Member Cybin Monde
on ‎10-07-2010 04:48 PM

Hi Maurice! *Waves*

While we won't have a tool for every issue out the gate, we're actively looking for areas to expand the Resident tool set, and inventory tools are definitely on our list of areas to explore.

I'm not certain what you mean about Premium Residents being "murdered," but Premium Residents do not have their inventory purged after several months of delinquency and non-payment.

I just wanted to highlight a couple things you said here, as i know information can quickly be lost in comments (maybe add that info to the OP?). For instance, the inventory purge issue was resolved over a year ago if i'm not mistaken.

And the "tool set". A lot of people seem to be thining that "tool set" is referring to a KB type of addition, while i'm expecting it's actual tools to help resolve issues. (" happening to you? Press this button to fix it!") A few things mentioned as common issues should probably expect a tool for them eventualy. Also, useful for any membership, instead of using Live Chat or a ticket.


As for the "Hey! What? Basics don't matter?!?" comments.. yes, Basics do matter. However, part of the value of a Premium/Concierge account is extended support. Basic accounts do not pay for support directly, regardless of much money they put into other areas of the system. Not to mention, the cost of a Premium account is negligible compared to what you get (practicaly pays for itself with the L$ stipend, after which the cost is under US$2/month, when paid yearly).

Also, Live Chat definitely needs help and is apparently understaffed at the moment. At least that's what i figure is the reason for cutting back the available hours. I'm hoping the new team that's forthcoming (still? yes? i hope!) will provide more comprehensive support than what we've been seeing for awhile with the current non-Linden team.

I'm looking forward to the new self-help tools, as well as the trickle down effect from new internal tools. It sounds like a decent re-focusing so far. Really, the main sticking point with support most people have (from what i've read online) is the value of Live Chat and the timing of tickets... which sounds like both should be getting improved. I hope.

Until after now...

by Member Ayesha Askham
on ‎10-07-2010 04:51 PM

I have to say that the way I read this, it seems to say:

Hey Premium Accounts: we are going to give you a bit more of what you paid for.

Basic Accounts: **** ***.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul don't impress me much.

I'm really getting Tee'd off by LL's penny-pinching attitude lately.  Yes, I know we're in a slump, but this isn't cutting your coat to suit your cloth, this is scuttling the ship.

Along with other posters here I have waited many many minutes to get a response (or not) from a Live Chat Operator - it don't impress me much either.

Taken along with other major posts, it really looks like LL and SL are going under - and fast.

by Honored Member Ciaran Laval
on ‎10-07-2010 04:56 PM

"Improving Support for Premium and Concierge Residents"

Ok, let me address this as a Concierge customer, at one stage, Concierge support was the best support i'd received from a company, ever, it was ridiculously superb and then you went and ruined it. Linden Lab, wake up, self help does not work, this is a pipe dream, whereas some customers will race through self help, many many others will not.

I don't know why you understimated the awesomeness of your support package, but telling me that cutting 24/7 brilliant support and replacing it with self help, will not cut the mustard.

Linden Lab, please wake up.

by Member Niall Braveheart
on ‎10-07-2010 05:01 PM

Well you could start by actually replying to/actioning/updating cases for all account types (Basic in my case).

I have 2 cases open for ghosting which could be closed as i'm no longer ghosted. (They relete to seperate ghosting incidents, not 2 cases raised for the same occurance)

One was opened on 2nd August 2010 and is still showing as New !!!!!!!! although it was apparently updated on 23rd of Sept, but opening the case shows no information other than what was originally submitted or any evidence of an update on that date.

Now I have no idea if the problem was resolved by LL or just went away,  If the support tickets aren't being updated, how can you measure your performance accurately te determine if there has been any improvement.

by Member Prokofy Neva
on ‎10-07-2010 05:02 PM

Looking at my own heavy usage of the Customer Service systems as a Concierge customer, i.e. once a day or at least several times a week, I would say the overwhelming majority of use cases for  CS is reset of a mainland sim. We don't have the access to the tools on the mainland sims that we have on our private islands or homestead sims where we ourselves can reset our sims when there are malfunctions, i.e. teleports cease working, rezzing issues, inventory issues, low FPS and TD.

So I would suggest figuring out how to automate the support queue for the mainland reset requests. To be sure, this is a bit complicated in the fact that not all mainland sims have a single owner obviously, that some of us are sharing mainland with multiple owners (and sometimes no-show owners with zero autoreturn which leaves them vulnerable to griefing attacks).

If there were an automated CS option "reset my sim because of X or Y" then I'd put in a ticket rather than live accessing, if they were turned around in 8-12 hours.

You should examine how many requests come in for sim resets and how this could be automated, even if we are not given the option to access the tools ourselves on mainland.

by Recognized Resident Carrie Easterman
on ‎10-07-2010 05:08 PM

why do basic accounts expect support? lol

this is why support is so messed up for customers who actually pay the lindens to use their platform, cos our tickets from like 2 months ago are still in "new" status cos basic avatar X raised a ticket cos she had lag one day and avatar Y raised a ticket cos she couldn't use teh emeralds lol, and avatar Z raised a ticket cos avatar A called her a meanie

It is obviously time for tickets to be ignored unless they are raised by concierge, cos linden labs need to learn that the only people they need to spend money on supporting are the people who pay *them* to use their platform.

by Member Adam Spark
on ‎10-07-2010 05:11 PM

LL, you made the decision to allow free accounts. This is your service. A free service. I'm all for premium benefits like a pre-built house on a small parcel, a few weekly $L, ect. But please knock off treating basic account holders like a lesser class of resident.

Cutting the number of calls or support tickets you answer might make it faster to answer those you are willing to, but it does NOT improve customer service as a whole.

I'm all for dealing with premium account complaints FIRST, but absolutely refusing to deal with issues (even certain ones) raised by basic account holders is beyond comprehension.

If you can't handle adequately supporting all residents you invite to use the service, sell it to somebody who can.

And this is coming from a premium member (albeit one considering an account downgrade).

by Recognized Resident Carrie Easterman
on ‎10-07-2010 05:11 PM

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?

by Member Adam Spark
on ‎10-07-2010 05:16 PM

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?

Basic account holders buy/rent land all the time. It might be indirect payment with a middle man (estate owners), but basic account owners often do pay for the service. They also buy $L, which is direct payment to LL. They are business owners and contributers to the economy too.

by Honored Resident Ashira Vella
on ‎10-07-2010 05:16 PM

I am A Premium Customer as well as a land owner of an Estate and a Business owner here in SL. We have had an ongoing problem for 2 months and have no sucess in calling concierge as we were told they were "restructuring". Anyone who answered was from billing and had no idea how to fix our problem. All our TP's are being directed to another sim and our business is sufferring as a result. We are seriously thinking about giving up our estate it has been so frustrating.

  Concierge was one of the best things LL had for Estate owners. They were prompt and courteous and were able to fix any problem, now it is just a mess and I am told to put in a ticket and wait, because they are backlogged. I am still waiting. I dont see any improvement. All I see are more messes and empty promises. I have never been critical of LL before,after all, this is their experiment and we are all just the rats in the maze. We choose to "play" the game.It is just so frustrating to go from such excellent customer service to such awful customer care and get "promises" of more of the same!

by Honored Member Ciaran Laval
on ‎10-07-2010 05:24 PM

.It is just so frustrating to go from such excellent customer service to such awful customer care and get "promises" of more of the same!

Bingo, and it comes down to them undervaluing their own support team, I agree with you that they were once excellent, whomever decided that support of that superb level should be cut, should hang their head in shame.

by Recognized Resident Carrie Easterman
on ‎10-07-2010 05:27 PM

In some cases. Most NPIOFs are alts.  Very few are people who attract money to SL as a discrete avatar. Vanishingly few. I see a NPIOF i know what's up lol.Unless he's all noobsie then i know he's a real newbie and I will like him and try to help but know he will be dismayed and leave SL 10 mins later and i will feel like i have failed. I loves genuine noobs

Either way, i still think LL have no need to support basic accounts. It seems an easy call especially when paying customers have such a terrible service atm.

by Resident Pompeja Rossini
on ‎10-07-2010 05:51 PM

Words..promises.. honestly something has to change.I pay for a premium account,own 2 sims and got in the last weeks nothing that was close to any kind of support.Live chat has become a joke, calling and talking to a person that has nothing better to do then repeat my words and search the wiki 30 minutes while I have a urgent issue. Also only american premium members can call toll free..while I pay real money just to  talk to a competent person ( if I am lucky). Is this the Concierge support I get also in the future? Why I waited 5 weeks for my case to even be viewed? When I use Concierge support I want to talk to a person that knows what SL is about, that can assist and help me, I WANT TO TALK TO A LINDEN not somebody that gives me the feeling I disturbed his/her manicure ( I can imagine other things also..)

I dont want meshes or shadows, I want my content that I create for this platform protected and I want the support that I pay for.

by Member Lynda Klossovsky
on ‎10-07-2010 06:07 PM

This is good to hear, I have to admit that the few times i asked for support in the past were quickly answered, but from the cutbacks lately, from what i have heard only ( no actual first hand knowledge ) customer support is now a joke and practicallly non existant. if this is correct anything is an improvement.

but what i do appreciate is making the grid accessable even for the members of the general public, and not just universities with their mega dollar budget.

by Honored Resident Victor1st Mornington
on ‎10-07-2010 06:24 PM

Ohhhhh look, someone else who thinks the ENTIRE second life economy revolves around LESS than 10% of the grid members.

The vast buik of the inflow of cash comes from the basic members like myself who co-own sims rented from other members.  Look at the majority of the big clothing manufacturers and builders...again, basic accounts.

Tell ya what, we'll just all leave, cause according to you, LL would survive just fine on premium members only...LMAO!

by Recognized Resident Kit Jefes
on ‎10-07-2010 06:25 PM

I hope this means faster ticket responses too.

Like SueZanne I'm a business and landowner but not a Premium account.

For the last week I have been having technical Issues with my avatar not loading right.

I cannot change my shape or clothing and on my screen I look like a naked brown skinned hairless noob.

I have filed a ticket 3 days before and I have been checking my ticket progress everyday and as of today

it is still labeled "new" and no progress has happened at all.

Needless to say, I cannot do a lot of my business and sim responsibilities because I cannot run it half dressed!

I tried calling a number a friend who has a premium account gave me but all I got was a dismissive, "We will get to it if you just wait for the ticket."

My question is till when? And for how long?  A week? A month? I cannot afford to wait that long!

by Honored Resident Spencer Ordinary
on ‎10-07-2010 06:43 PM

Based on calulations referenced from http://secondlife.com/statistics/economy-data.php for October 7 2010 (file LD_sources_and_sinks):

L$108,331,300 was paid to Premium Residents (PRs) for September stipends (108331300 / 300 per week stipend = 361,104 / 4 weeks = 90,276 PRs for September.

L$27,067,250 was paid (so far) for October (27067250 / 300 per week stipend = 90,224 PRs MTD October...hmm 52 PR's haven't renewed.

So based on an average of 90,250 PRs * US$72 per year for premium status = US$6,498,000 (approx.) generated from PRs subscriptions (not including land use fees), which although unvalidated, is less than the total inworld economy?

I agree with Adam Sparks comment: LL, you made the decision to allow free accounts. This is your service. A free service. I'm all for premium benefits like a pre-built house on a small parcel, a few weekly $L, ect. But please knock off treating basic account holders like a lesser class of resident.

Perhaps the orange 'Join Now >> It's fast, free and easy!' button should include '! denotes for Premium and Concierge Residents only'.

by Resident Babe Hellershanks
on ‎10-07-2010 06:44 PM

I have been on this site for over two years now. I am still having issues logging on and staying on, then I bought myself into a nudist park and when I went home the system wouldn't let me get undressed fast enough and I was tossed out and not allowed back. What a waste of funds that was. so I stayed away for months and heard they made improvments thought I would come back and again I can not get on. What a joke.

by Member Argus Collingwood
on ‎10-07-2010 06:45 PM

Please give Mainland Sim owners a big red Reset Button or let us have Estate Tools and it will reduce my live chat requests to Zero. And I'm betting that over 50% of Live Chats are about resetting a sim on Mainland.

by Member ninjafoo Ng
on ‎10-07-2010 06:58 PM

I really hope what this blog post is saying is "We're going to improve support" rather then "We're hacking support back to a website and some guy named Ontyne who only seems to be able to say 'knowledge base' and 'file a ticket'". The knowledge base is a circular mess and tickets can go ignored for weeks.

Support used to be really good.

Support is now really bad.

by Member Adam Spark
on ‎10-07-2010 07:01 PM

In some cases. Most NPIOFs are alts.  Very few are people who attract money to SL as a discrete avatar. Vanishingly few. I see a NPIOF i know what's up lol.Unless he's all noobsie then i know he's a real newbie and I will like him and try to help but know he will be dismayed and leave SL 10 mins later and i will feel like i have failed. I loves genuine noobs

What does NPIOF have to do with anything? You can have payment info on file without being premium. There's also another group of residents - payment info used. Not all basic accounts are NPIOF.