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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Reaching Out to SOE

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Well, I have long heard that SOE is not responsive to its customer base. So, I decided to try a little experiment.

I know that the customer services numbers of many companies are notoriously hard to locate. Amazon, Ebay and Paypal - I'm looking at you! Try this link if you need one of those numbers.

I decided to see if SOE was similarly hard to get in touch with by telephone.

I popped over to the EQII website:

Clicked Support on the top row of links (5 sec.)

Surveyed the links and clicked on Customer Service FAQ as the most likely candidate (10 sec.)

Scanned through the faq and woot there it is - a number for Technical Service and one for Billing! (Hint: It's the same number - (858)537-0898) (20 sec.)

Not bad, SOE, that was pretty easy to find. Now on to Part II of the experiment in which I see how long it takes a live person to actually answer.

Note: This experiment was conducted around 2:00 P.M. EST on a weekday. Not very scientific I know.

Wait a minute, 858. That's not 888 is it? Let me check, yep, that's the area code for San Diego, California, location of glorious SOE headquarters. Not toll free - unbelievable. Good thing I'm calling from work...

Okay, a pleasant recorded voice answers. Press 2 for Everquest II. How fitting.

Okay, another menu - I'm going with technical issues.

On musical hold. Fairly inspiring classical tune - almost worth the money someone is paying for this call.

Okay, still holding.

"Thank you for calling Sony Online. May I please have your current e-mail address-

"Ribbit, Ribbit, where am I?"

"Sir, Sir...I can't hear you?"

Total time to the moment Sony picked up: 10 minutes, 40 seconds. That's a precise time. Pretty weak, I think, but not awful.

Okay, my work is not done. I'm going In-Game Issues this time, which I am predicting means a much longer wait.

Okay, calling back. Pressing 2 for EQII. Pressing 3 for In-Game Issues.

Doh! I've been foiled! I get a recorded message saying In-Game Issues are handled In-Game only! The recorded voice sounds so sad, I almost feel bad for her.

As a side note, the in-game knowledge base (while it could be better) does answer some of the more simple questions I see in OOC.

Well, thank you for playing Reaching Out to SOE. An easy to find (toll) number, a mediocre response time, and no in-game help via phone. I'll go with a solid C+ overall.

I thought of testing them on a fake technical problem but I didn't feel right about wasting customer service rep time with other people are on hold.

I would love for anyone who has used the phone service for an actual technical problem to report on how knowledgeable the phone reps are.

Edit: I got back from vacation to get a lot of reports (through comments and e-mails) of positive service with regards to SOE's technical support which I am very glad to hear. Thus, I am editing this post to give them credit where credit is due and I'm happy to do so.


Blogger Neil said...

Why exclude in-game support? I'd be willing to bet that SOE spends more resources there than on out-of-game support.

Also, there is toll-free tech support on the forums, but I don't know what the response time is like.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Hirebrand said...

Chat support is very quick, helpful, and free. That's what I use mostly. :-)

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize everyone's experiences are different, but mine was pretty positive with eq2.

I began with the downloaded trial, rather enjoyed it and went ahead to purchase the game a couple of days later from an online retailer. Arrived next day (bless shipping), but after installed, I was unable to get off the isle; it still thought I was on the trial. A quick petition(5 minutes), and a forward the support phone (answered in under 5 minutes) and my problem was solved. Not only that, but the in game GM waited around to see if the phone call resolved the issue. Even after a restart to trigger the new account changes.

Again, I know it varies, but thus far they get my appreciation.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

Thanks for the comments - I've updated my post to reflect all the positive things I've heard about SOE's technical support. My unscientific fun (written right before I went on vacation to be fair) - didn't give the whole picture and I appreciate you helping to fill in the blanks.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Juniette said...

Contacting the billing department works really fast. Who wouldn't want to be paid? ;)
I use that for alot of #s, to get through. They transfer you to the real department that you need, but it seems to jump you ahead in line, than a machine putting you on hold.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous matt said...

I filed a CSR ticket for the first time in-game last night, and was surprised to get a response back from a Real Live Person within an hour.

Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do and it was a known issue that is being worked on (fair enough).

All was going swimmingly until I said 'thanks for your help and prompt response' and got a tell back saying 'we would appreciate it if you cooperated with us' (or something along those lines).

Did they think I was being rude or sarcastic (I wasn't!)? Or is this a standard sign-off... I guess I'm just paranoid!

All-in-all, though, I was impressed.

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

phone number lookup

2:39 AM  

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