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Comic for: June 18th, 2004
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EverQuest: "Outsourcing"
Posted: Friday June 18th, 2004 by

Today's comic is a response to an email I received two days ago concerning the termination of the UK support office for Star Wars: Glaxies, Everquest: Online Adventures, and Everquest and the subsequent outsourcing to India.

Now, there is one thing you should know up front. I do NOT have a problem with the idea outsourcing tech support to an Indian call center. But, I strictly adhere to the notion that this support should run secondary to in game GM contact. You see, as of yet the Indian tech support guys are not well versed in the games. They are very educated and can knowledgably answer the computer questions, but when it comes to ingame issues such as guild disputes, NPC problems, basically ANY game specific question, they are not 100% on the money.

Like the title says though, don't blame Vidyadhar. It's not his fault. He's a well educated man, doing his job. He is not responsible for the decision to outsource support to India. So, no negativity should be aimed at him; it should be aimed at the heart of the problem: the bottom line.

The bottom line is that magic number where gains are weighed against costs and the sum is your profit. If outsourcing to India could mean the bottom line will show a sharper profit increase, big business is going to jumpt at the opportunity. It make no difference that you the client have a little bit of a problem sifting through Vidyadhar's accent (again not HIS fault).

But, for us, the gamers, there is a completely different bottom line. Our bottom line is a representation of how much we're enjoying our game and receiving excellent customer service weighed against what we're paying for the game. And, when we feel that what we're paying outweighs our enjoyment and excellent CS, we start looking for someone else to give our money to.

Now, we've shown already that when our bottom line is affected, we can can affect their bottom line. But, I will tell you this, in all honesty, we can't change this issue. SOE has already burned bridges over there across the big pond.

But in order to save existing GM's in the states, SOE needs to have another look at how they credit customer service representatives. CSRs are given given certain credit for each service they perform. But, this can be misleading. A GM could be handling a trully difficult item reimbursement or compromised account and get the exact same amount of credit as an Indian Call Center Representative that handles a guild creation. The former takes 30 minutes up to 2 hours; the latter takes 5 minutes. You can probably see the disparity without much help.

Now, I have no doubt I'll be receiving emails about this from folks on both sides of the fence. But, the truth is, I'm worried about the CS in our game. And, even with the new CS system, you much realize that our GM's are NOT safe. With the new CS system, the Indian Call Center guys don't ever even have to log into the game to resolve issues. And, I ask you, can someone who doesn't play the game solve all your in game issues?

So yeah, let me reiterate, this is not the fault of the Indian Call Center guys... so lay off 'em huh? If you have anything negative to say, make sure the finger is pointed the right way.

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