Improving Gamemastery: Surveying Your Satisfaction

During the last Council of Stellar Management (CSM) visit to Iceland, the Council presented issues that players brought forth regarding Customer Support (CS). The most prominent were that the customer support system itself could be improved and that there was a feeling of distance between CS and the community. We seriously considered the suggestions we received, sat down and brainstormed, and then embarked on a series of changes. Some of these will be immediately visible to the players, others will be felt in the quality of our services.

To increase our visibility, we initiated a series of dev blogs (see for instance Senior GM Spiral‘s excellent entry here, and specifically the comment thread that followed) that are meant to both inform the playerbase as to how EVE CS operates and to shine a light on our continued and on-going efforts to provide the high quality of service our players both expect and richly deserve. Additionally, we‘re also in the process of revamping and improving many of our procedures and tools to ensure that we‘re squeezing as much juice out of them as possible.

One of the things we‘ve improved recently is the Customer Satisfaction rating system. This is the survey you receive after your petition has been closed and the resulting data that we gather from it. As we are the first contact that you usually have with CCP, it‘s extremely important to Customer Support that a functional mechanism exists that shows in transparent terms exactly where we can improve our services while also indicating trends that players are unhappy with in the overall gaming experience.

GMs file a large number of defects and a substantial percentage of wonky game functionality is discovered and pushed through the development pipelines by the Support department. We try to be constantly aware of our responsibility in this area. Although we usually know just from the petition text itself and subsequent dialogue with the player what‘s causing issues, the results of the survey often reinforce and further narrow down these trends. Used properly, this simple tool can be very powerful, allowing for a sharper focus on the relevant specifics.

Also, the CSM mentioned a degree of player disconnect with EVE Support. We were initially a bit surprised about this point, since our satisfaction rating from our customers was, and has always been, high. However, we value the representative voice of the CSM and trust their judgement and anechdotal evidence. The elegant redesign of the Satisfaction survey gives us a greater overview and a better way to shift our focus to these problem areas. Our intent is to continually improve...and we will.

Internally, this is a positive step as well. The old rating system allowed only a single score from a petition, meant to encompass the performance of the GM working on it, the resolution of the case at hand and the response times. This numbering system  often misrepresented the competancy of individual GMs, especially in more "high stakes" categories such as reimbursement or account dispute cases. In those, the ratings are typically more loaded towards satisfaction (or disatisfaction) with the "resolution" as opposed  to the behaviour and communication of the GM delivering the resolution when compared with, say, the Stuck category.  The new layout splits the overall score into four components, being reply time, resolution of the petition, courtesy and professionalism of the GM and finally the overall mean score that emerges.

We are now in a much better position to accurately gauge and evaluate the metrics, derive more specific feedback from the data pool and take more targeted action than we‘ve ever been able to before. We‘re going to try and take advantage of the opportunity. That‘s where you come in.

Currently, about a third of our users fill out the survey. While that‘s statistically significant enough for meaningful data to emerge, we‘d still like to hear from more of you. Therefore, we would like to ask you, the EVE community, to fill out the survey when next your petition closes, essentially helping us help you. We‘re aiming to make 2010 our banner year, and we hope that you‘ll be right there with us.

All the best,

Lead GMs Ender and Fate.