Microsoft heeds fans; rolls out the red carpet for customer service

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

microsoft customer service
If anything could be learned from the previous console wars, it would be that customer service and the publicity associated with a strong or poor showing of it, is the difference between making a profit and tanking a product.

The console wars ensue

Years after the last generation platforms were released comes the untold promise of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation® 4.

After providing snapshots of the two consoles (the PS4 Dualshock® 4 was a success, according to several rave reviews), comparison after comparison of the two consoles flooded the market. Of course, gamers all over the world couldn’t wait to see a glimpse of these new platforms, and the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) did not disappoint them.

The two giants were separated by a tiny sliver of carpet between their booths. While devotees of the gaming industry eagerly list their names on the PS4 pre-order listing, the fans across the carpet felt cheated when Microsoft unveiled its latest brainchild. What happened next is a backslash of epic proportions for the Xbox maker.

A customer support nightmare

Fans complained and aired out their frustrations on forums and blog posts. Soon, the whole Internet was abuzz. Imagine how the Xbox support community must’ve felt. What happened?

Microsoft introduced features that were unfavorable for most gamers. For instance, the new Xbox required a stable Internet connection to play games, therefore making the console unpopular among military personnel and those who work across the seas. Yet one of the things that probably tipped the scale in favor of Sony was the Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video which basically highlighted the shortcomings of Microsoft, as Microsoft did not support used games and had complicated policies about game sharing.

The situation became even more pronounced when Amazon had to stop its PS4 vs Xbox One poll several days ahead of schedule because the PS4 was winning by insane margins. At this point, the future became clear: Microsoft has extensive damage to control, and the console maker must execute it immediately.

Pleasing the market through customer service

In an effort to rectify the problem, Microsoft released a statement with the header Your Feedback Matters. It was under the byline of Interactive Entertainment Business President Don Mattrick. The statement tackled each of the consumer’s issues and aimed to resolve them. First and foremost, the Xbox One will no longer require consistent Internet connection. For another, the console maker relaxed its stance on used games and made its game sharing policies as lax as those of Sony’s. The list goes on.

By compromising its ideals with those of the fans, Microsoft’s message was heard loud and clear in the gaming community: Microsoft listens to fans. Yet will this move be enough to calm the gamers who already ordered their consoles? Only time can tell.

Customer service is a vital part of every business. If you need assistance in customer service, visit Open Access BPO.

Photo credit: Robert Scoble on Flickr.