My 7 years of experience as a business consultant has allowed me the opportunity of designing several customer support teams over the years. Typically, when hired by a new client, I would shadow all of their key operational figures over the course of several weeks, mapping out exactly what they do, and how they do it. After developing a complete map of their operational work flow, I would work with their personnel to clean up areas of inefficiency, and implement new technologies to streamline their process flow. When required, I would oversee the development of program to program interfaces to pass client information along automatically, thus reducing the possibility of error and redundancy via data entry. As I am sure you can tell, I am enthusiastic advocate of the strategic implementation and the careful cultivation of meta-view oriented systems and agile development based work flow design, and I have passed along my knowledge in this area to dozens of clients.
Specifically for Customer Support, I have implemented several CRM applications for past clients for their support, sales, and marketing teams. I am a firm believer that an intelligently constructed CRM will allow a business to properly control customer expectations and staff responses. With over 5 years of experience in developing CRM applications, I am confident that I can develop the appropriate structure to manage your CS team. My experience includes work developing, implementing, and managing the following:
All of these programs have built in features for support tracking and problem escalation, and I prefer to use them over stand alone Help Desk systems for the higher level of company integration that a multi-department application encourages. I believe that a customer's life cycle with a company should be looked at as a complete picture, and programs that allow a staff member to quickly and easily gather the entire scope of a customer's interactions are vital to developing a 360 degree perspective of the customer's health. I have, however, implemented several stand alone systems for client's that did not wish to integrate their other departments, including osTicket, Support Services Manager, Support Logic Helpdesk, and PHP Support Tickets.
My 3 years of experience as the Director of Community Relations and Technology for RenAMI placed me in a direct position of responsibility for the state of our support services. I built several systems to ensure our response times, with escalation paths that made certain the right person was dealing with the right problems. I built and managed our call center and call trees to ensure that calls were processed in a timely manner, and developed secure internet management access to allow clients to see the exact status of any pending requests and resolutions/follow ups in live time.
My 2 years of experience as the Information Operations Coordinator for Netzero/Juno/United Online placed me as a direct liaison between the company personnel and our IT department, coordinating both their daily activities/priorities and overseeing progress. It was my job to make sure that our internal support staff addressed the appropriate needs on time and on budget. As the direct representative of our department to the company, I handled all top priority issues personally, and ensured that our department maintained pace with company objectives and mandates.
In addition to my experience in the business world, my time as an Event Moderator of Electronic Art's Ultima Online taught me the careful balance of dealing with players. The amount of personal investment gamers make into the virtual worlds they populate is overwhelming, and brings a parallel investure of paranoia when they feel they might lose something for which they feel entitled. A delicate hand in mediation is required to keep players satisfied that you are there to serve the community, not just police it.
As a meta-community leader with UOLS, I frequently had to mediate political disputes between influential players and guilds. I learned (the hard way) to be extremely cautious in what I posted in public forums, as off hand comments and remarks have a way of being blown up beyond recognition. If responding to a emotionally charged post or email, I developed a "cool off policy", where I would write my response, move on to another activity, then re-read it an hour after the fact to see if I had imparted an emotional level unintentionally. If I deemed the post was still appropriate, then I would send it off. If not, I would edit the post and then wait another hour, repeating the process as needed. This policy quickly taught me the wisdom of level-headed restraint, and I have never regretted it.
I have also acted as a Game Master/Customer Support Representative on several private servers for various games. My experiences here are very similar to those as an Event Moderator, although obviously with a far smaller player population that was generally much more focused then those of a public server.
If you would like to download this page, including all samples and associated materials, I have also provided them in a printed format.
Create a clear set of rules for players to follow, make certain that the players have an opportunity to read and understand them, and then enforce those rules absolutely. No favorites, no nepotism, no exceptions. Respond to player inquiries in a timely manner, and utilize ONE system flow for all requests, regardless of origin (in game, email, web, phone). In this manner, you can be certain that issues are being dealt with fairly, in a timely manner, and without prejudice.
With over a dozen years of Customer Service experience in multiple fields, I am positive that I can orchestrate a world class team to keep your players doing what they should be doing... playing the game.
Coming up, my forays into the DEVELOPMENT world.