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Thylbanus's Avatar

10.04.2012 , 11:38 AM | #1
As I was enjoying my morning coffee, a pop-up from my system, called "Problem Reports and Solutions", notified me that the SWTOR client "stopped working" 33 times. Out of my total of 39, 33 was SWTOR. From 8-19-12 to today I can clearly see a slow, steady march of increased instability. Now I have changed my habits a bit, I don't play as much (probably not a whole lot, but still less) as I used to since the 1.4 "update" due to stability issues. Here is the progression:

8-19-12 Stopped responding
8-29-12 Stopped responding
8-30-12 Stopped responding
9-5-12 Stopped responding (x2)
9-6-12 Stopped responding
9-7-12 Stopped responding (x2)
9-8-12 Stopped responding
9-10-12 Stopped responding (x2)
9-14-12 Stopped responding
9-21-12 Stopped responding
9-22-12 Stopped responding
9-26-12 Stopped responding (x3) <---- Update 1.4
9-27-12 Stopped responding (x2) and a new Stopped working (x2)
9-28-12 Stopped working (x5)
9-29-12 Stopped working
9-30-12 Stopped working (x2)
10-1-12 Stopped working
10-2-12 Stopped working <---- 1.4.0b
10-3-12 Stopped working
10-4-12 Stopped working

Now I was shocked at this. I never really had a hard figure to go on, just a feeling. But I was still surprised at the extent of the drops that I had put up with. Now mind you as well, my other games are noticably absent from this list. Up until 9-17 I was still playing EVE Online, I still play DDO, LotRO, DCUO, and STO. None of these online games experienced these issues. I will admit that my time is not distributed evenly, it would probably be 4 to 1 with all the other games combined to make the 1. Since the instability issue, I do spend more time on these other MUCH more stable games.

This is my entertainment. I hate television, I've given up on most sports (save Hockey). My entertainment lies within this nice little rig at my feet. It's insulting to be told that I have to change my settings or drivers or whatever to accomodate my entertainment. Shouldn't EA be the one changing? I know that it's a "temporary" fix to continue getting my entertainment value, but it strikes me that this issue was known prior to release and was still done anyway. At first this made me think of the axiom, "You don't have enough time to do it right the first time, but you have enough time to do it again."

This was distressing, but then I realized that this wasn't the case. This was a case of EA, following a long standing business philosophy that we can please a majority of customers, and only lose a few, so be it. So if I'm one of the 10%, it really doesn't make a huge difference if I go or not. Well it does, a study done for the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that in customers with service problems, 54% would maintain brand loyalty if their problems were satisfactorily resolved. Only 19% would continue or frequent again, if they were unhappy with the problem's resolution. So now we are down to 8%, not looking good for me. At this point I'm looking at being "acceptable collateral damage." But we fail to consider this, are we judging just the complainers or the whole of the community? Well it's commonly accepeted that companies only hear from around 5% of their dissatified customers. One study, stated that only 1 in 26 dissatisfied customers will actually complain. (Technical Assistance Research Programs Institute). So this makes my standing a little grey.

Add in that word of mouth is the most important desciding factor based on a Thomson Lightstone/Marketing Magazine/Omnitel poll when asked about what information sources they rely on to make up their mind about which product to buy or service to use. The top source was "talking to friends, family and work colleagues," chosen by 67%. Word of mouth is exactly what makes or breaks a F2P game. That is the whole premise of F2P actually. Get them in with the "free" and zing them with great content and addicitve gameplay so that once hooked they are willing to shell out money for all your microtransactions. So adding in that I'm one of 26 others who will leave without a word, multiply that by how many people I will tell. Typically sited statistics are that a dissatisfied customer will tell 8 to 10 people about their experience, but 1 in 5 will tell 20 or more. Given that we are in the age of the internet, I'm going to side with the later when it comes to our community.

So of the less than 8% of the half million subs will actually cancel their subs I'm still not going to be missed, but we need to look at the future cost. Taking in all the other information, we will tell 20 people. That puts the total amount of people we ward off at 536,000 (500,000 subs x .08 x 20 x .67 [the amount of people who will listen to us]) That is as much as the current player base! This is probably what British Airways found. Their data stated that for every 1 invested in customer-retention efforts, the company received 2. The return has three components. First, expanding the number of customers whose problems were resolved up-front reduced the amount that British Airways had to spend overall on retaining customers. Second, those people customer relations retained then gave British Airways more of their business. Finally, those customers brought additional business to the airline by actively promoting it to others.

So comming back to my belief that following the "pleasing the majority rule" isn't a viable business standard anymore, it makes sense that many companies have moved to the "pleaseing everyone rule." While, by no means popular, it has shown it's merit. Darden Restaraunts follows this standard and it's the leading restaraunt company in America, if no the world. The Big Three in Detroit follow the "pleasing the majority" standard and look how they have done. Ford is 'OK.' Chrystler really doesn't exist anymore, it was bought by Fiat. And GM is still struggling. (really it's only the Big Two, or the Gruesome Twosome as I call them) Now I know that 100% satisfaction will be pounced upon like the bouquet at a wedding, but consider the quote, possibly misattributed to Michelanglo, "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." It makes odd sence. Our logical brain doesn't want to accept it, but setting the bar anywhere less than 100% is shorting yourself.

So what started out as my usual morning rant, has turned into a bit of an education for me. I actually did research on this. Thank you i-Sight for much of my information, it was an eye-opener. Hopefully it will be an eye-opener for EA. Do I have much faith that it will? No. Very little as a matter of fact. But being a dreamer, I can dream. EA, if you want to contact me, you have my email address.

Just don't send me a form letter.

I really despise those.

(still dreaming)
It's amazing how loud a dollar can be.
"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Kristin Wilson