Player Support Blog - Upgrading Systems
In our message to the community on March 19th, we promised to release a series of Player Support blogs to give you an understanding of what the current problems are and how we intend to fix them.
The current state of Jagex’s customer service is an important issue for many of you. We said previously that we intended to be more transparent about our current systems and plans for the future, and this blog is the first step.
We’re all aware that our current systems are not up to the level we require, or that you deserve. We know that you’re tired of hearing that. And we know it's time for us to step up our efforts.
Today we’re looking at ‘Upgrading Our Systems’. Expect three further blogs to follow - ‘Account Security, Recovery and Lost Items’, ’Myths About Player Support’ and ‘In-Game Toxicity’.
We know that elements of the community hold strong views regarding account security and recovery, including concerns involving ‘authenticator delay’. Please be assured we are not ignoring this – these issues will be discussed in the next blog.
We will also, as promised, be surveying players about Player Support in the near future.
The Current Situation
For context – most of the systems we use for Player Support were made back in the early 2000s. Back then, the Nokia 3210 was a flagship mobile phone and Microsoft had just launched Windows XP. Both were ground-breaking at the time, but unsurprisingly compare poorly to the tech available to us today. The same is sadly true of our back-end support systems.
To give you some idea, this is the current process our support JMods go through:
A JMod receives a query on one system. They navigate to a different system using the information provided to manually search the account database. If further changes are needed, a third system is accessed to make the required changes. JMods then have to document everything on the relevant account for the benefit of future JMods. And finally the actual response to the player is sent. Also note that there’s no guarantee that the message will even be read by the player – nearly a quarter (23%) of the message replies we send are not read.
Adding to the complications, our systems are custom made, meaning they rarely play nicely with third party software.
Ultimately, this all means that the challenge of updating our systems is absolutely massive, and a lot of ground work is needed in preparation. This means the actions we’re taking will not result in many quick or obvious improvements to the process for players. However, have no doubt – change is most definitely happening behind the scenes right now.
Here’s a look at what we’re doing:
There have been big improvements to how we handle ‘Forgotten Log In’ requests. This process is now handled through a single system taking less than half the time it did before, meaning players can more quickly be reunited with their lost accounts. Satisfaction rates for these enquiries have jumped from 80% to 98%, thanks both to an awful lot of dev work and improved integration with the customer management system.
Improved Web Forms
Until recently our contact forms were standardised across departments, regardless of the differing needs of each contact type. This was complex and frustrating for you, and made it harder for JMods who would have to actively dig out the information they actually needed.However, 17 brand new dynamic web forms are being rolled out that offer a far more streamlined experience, dynamically adjusting according to your input. This saves time for both you and us, and dramatically reduces potential confusion.
We completely understand that many of you expect an email response to your enquiries. Currently we are only able to reply to some messages via email and others via the message centre, which can sometimes lead to our messages going unread. This will be changing so all responses will indeed be emailed out.
This is actually a lot more technically complicated than it might sound, requiring further ZenDesk integration, and will likely take our dev team a further five months or so to complete.
Logged In Tickets
We are altering and expanding upon the ban appeal system introduced two years ago. Ensuring that players are logged in before submitting a ban appeal will end uncertainty for players with multiple accounts, speed up our response and reduce timewasting (currently half of ban appeals are duplicates from players spamming us).
Our previous stated response time was up to a maximum of 28 days, although it was usually significantly less. This has now been halved to 14 days, and we’re often able to respond within four days. This will continue to improve.
We are exploring a potential new system that would be available during the ticket creation process and may be able to answer some common questions. If implemented, this should solve issues for some players without the need to wait for a response. Don’t worry, however – tickets would still be created as normal, so human assistance will remain available whenever you need it.
Improved Contact Routes
Many of you have called for a single contact email address, but sadly this is problematic for a number of reasons. Not only would it occupy a big chunk of JMod time due to the need to redirect enquiries, but it would also risk the ire of GDPR compliance. It would in truth create a lot more work for only marginal reward. We therefore believe that the Support Centre is still our best option. Speaking of which…
The Support Center
There are plans to trial Live Chat, but it’s essential that we improve the Support Centre itself before these steps are taken. For instance, a lot of work has already gone into improving support articles – 80% have been revamped and work on the remaining 20% will be completed by the summer.
We find that the majority of complaints and concerns raised on places such as Reddit could be addressed either through existing support articles or by contacting our team. The problem this does highlight, however, is that some of you find it too difficult to access the information and support you need.
We want to ensure that you are quickly and easily finding the right resources, and that your journey through the Support Centre is as smooth and seamless as possible. Monitoring this journey provides us with a comprehensive understanding of what actions players take and what the issues are. This data can then be used to improve the service.
Since this project began last year, we have increased the success of Support Centre navigation from 50% of the time to 78%, and we continue to fine tune this.
We’re also making use of machine learning to analyse where questions are going unanswered due to gaps in our content. Thanks to our ongoing updates we now have resource to address 99% of the reasons players need assistance.
We’re currently working on making the support guides as user friendly and intuitive as possible, bringing an end to the lamented maze of FAQs. This means fewer walls of text and more easily accessible information.
Support Centre Search
We want to ensure that you aren’t being met with a ‘dead end’ when searching for solutions, and have seen improvements over the last year.
As for why there are still failures – it’s worth noting that 50% of unsuccessful searches are due to user error. For example, some players misspell search terms or enter unsuitable terms (such as their specific character name). A further 20% of searches yielded no results as they were looking for support regarding in game content, such as quests – in these cases, the officially supported Wikis (RuneScape and Old School) should always be the first point of call.
Nonetheless, this does pose the question of whether there’s an overwhelming desire for content related support. We’re eager to work with the community to provide the content you want, so this is the kind of question that we’ll be including in our upcoming surveys.
More to Come
We hope that gives you a clearer picture of where we’re at and where we will be going. We’re sure you appreciate the scale of the challenge, but we also hope you understand that we hear your concerns, recognise that change is needed and are actively working on bringing it about.
We want to be as transparent as we can, because we know an open and honest dialogue is vital if we are to earn your trust. We’ll continue that theme and over the next few days and will do our absolute best to answer any subsequent questions that may be asked.
In the next installment of the blog we’ll go into more detail about the account security improvements – we know that this is at the top of your lists for needed improvements.
Thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to read this blog, and for all your feedback over the years – we genuinely appreciate your views and we look forward to delivering the quality of Player Support that you rightfully expect from us.
The Player Support Team