While our developers are working hard to prepare the Beta for The Fall of Oriath, we've found time to interview Rachel from our Customer Support department's management team.
Hi Rachel! Thanks for the interview! Could you please introduce yourself and tell us about your history in gaming?
Hey, sure thing! I'm Rachel and I'm part of the management team in the Customer Support department at Grinding Gear Games. My history of gaming is quite long, going back to Tetris on the original Gameboy, and Spyro on PS1 (really hoping for a remaster sometime soon)!
Nowadays I spend my free time on quite a few different games. Currently I'm playing World of Warcraft (ongoing), Legacy league, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and a few days ago I installed Overwatch so I'm really enjoying that at the moment! :D
There's a few other games I'm pretty excited about this year too; The Fall of Oriath (obv) looks phenomenal, plus Red Dead Redemption 2 later this year!
Could you please tell us about your current role at Grinding Gear Games and what an average work day is like for you?
Okay so, first thing I do when I arrive at work is go to the kitchen and get a coffee. After that the day kind of blurs together in a flurry of questions, emails, meetings, and screen glare. During the morning shift we have the blinds closed and the lights turned off in the Support office, effectively making our workspace a cave. It takes us a minimum of four hours to decide what to do for lunch every single day, usually because someone will ask and then everyone gets distracted by what they're doing until one of us remembers we're hungry.
In terms of work my day revolves around training new and existing staff, keeping our internal resources up-to-date, responding to player enquiries both from firstname.lastname@example.org as well as my own staff email. I also spend a significant amount of time working in close quarters with the rest of the management team, Chris, and other experienced team members to see not only where Support can improve, but also the best way to achieve that improvement.
What else do you do in Customer Support besides helping gamers with their issues?
One of our biggest tasks is dispatching the physical Atlas of Worlds maps! There's a lot of small, necessary steps in the dispatch process which I won't go into here, but I think what takes the most time is shepherding devs into the Support cave to sign thousands of maps! After that we do our best to get the maps dispatched ASAP, as well as getting the Atlas of Worlds t-shirts sent out from J!nx.
Aside from maps, we also moderate various forums and chat, including the Russian, Portuguese, and Thai forums, as well as the Steam forums and Path of Exile Facebook page.
Tell us more about Customer Support team in GGG. How many people work in there, how often do you hire new people?
We currently have 21 staff members in Support (myself included), spread across the day and night to ensure 24/7 support for the players. We've recently hired some new staff so we're not actively seeking more currently, however we always accept and review applications, as you never know when you're going to receive an email from someone who would be an excellent fit!
Returning to players' e-mails, how many of them does customer service get? When is the hardest time for support in terms of amount people's requests: at the beginning of the league/new big expansion or at the end?
Well, responding to player emails is just one facet of the Support team's job, and it's difficult to put an exact number on the amount of tickets we receive, however I can say that in the month of March we received just below 18,000 new tickets. This number does not include follow-up responses to those tickets, PMs through the website, or messages through Facebook, which are handled much the same as tickets, so this number would be significantly higher if those were to be included.
What are the most common issues that players have in Path of Exile?
One of the prevalent issues Path of Exile players face is misplacing their pets after a temporary/permanent league merge :-(
Most often, we find the critters tucked away in a pile of hideout decorations, napping and dutifully waiting for their Exile to return to them. For anyone out there who's lost a pet in the past, check your permanent league hideouts! Your furry or feathery little friends are waiting for you :D
Do you receive threats from players? What about thanks? Maybe you could remember some unusual or funny requests?
We've received threats and thanks in the past, however in saying that the threats are few and far between, and the thanks are often :)
As we've all spent a significant amount of time on the internet, we're mostly impervious to threatening behaviour. In saying that, we are still people and staff abuse is something we take very seriously. Thankfully (hah!), the thanks we receive from players are much more prevalent than the threats, and much more memorable! We like hearing back from happy people, and it may sound clichéd, but it really does brighten our day here in the cave.
Serious talk though: our Support team works incredibly hard to make the players happy as much as they possibly can; everyone on the team knows how frustrating it can be to have to contact support for their favourite game, as it's something we've all had to do in the past. In my opinion, it's this very grounded and personal experience that makes the GGG Support team work so hard to provide excellent service; because we've all been on the receiving end of insufficient or disappointing support for a game. In addition to that everyone in Support plays Path of Exile, and cares a great deal about being here helping the community however we can, which I think is rather unique for a game development company.
Could you tell us about moderation processes on forums and in game? How do you communicate with players who violated the Code of Conduct?
That depends on the moderation. We tend to lean towards lenience and giving the benefit of the doubt as much as we possibly can, as we do want players to enjoy all that Path of Exile has to offer.
Unfortunately, we're not able to allow free reign, which means that players do have their account moderated. We apply what we feel are reasonable consequences that are appropriate to how the player has breached the Code of Conduct, whether that entails a warning or action in-game, on the forums, or via email.
Anything you want to tell to all PoE players?
Me personally? I would only ask that players treat our team with a little bit of kindness, we do our best to provide excellent support for a game that we love. Also, feel free to include gifs in your email... we like gifs.
I asked some of the other Support members for their input as well, and here are some of their responses:
on Apr 13, 2017, 7:57:18 PM
Grinding Gear Games
on Apr 14, 2017, 12:39:07 AM
Grinding Gear Games