EA Support Reaches All-time Low

I had an awful experience tonight with EA’s customer service, and the whole ordeal got me thinking about how much value I place on the entire customer service experience.  Customer Service is NEVER something you should outsource.  I don’t care how expensive it is to your company.  I don’t care if it’s your core competence or not.  Support your products or leave the space.   When a customer like me experiences poor customer service I tell people.  I tell a LOT of people.  I take what could have been an easy, cheap fix on your part and turn it into the most costly and unforgiving experience possible.  Let’s begin.

Problem: The Origin client and website seem to think I am in Europe.  This problem is new as of today.  Graev and I are both having the issue on different accounts and difference computers.  Clearly it’s an ISP/IP issue.  I went to the new support forum thing that’s in beta and their community manager promptly responded telling me to flush my DNS.  Fine. I did that.  Didn’t work.  Community manager told me to use the contact page and speak with an ‘advisor’.

Is this acceptable customer support, EA?  The first ‘advisor’ wanted me to disable UAC and to try buying something in Euros anyway just to test it.  The second guy … screw it.  Have a look for yourself.

EA Customer Service

Halfway through the conversation he just abandons me.  I waited for 15 minutes for another ‘advisor’ to show up.

Here’s the next agent.  This just keeps getting better and better.

EA Customer Service

So now, before I go wait in the phone tree, I’ve come to let you all know that you should avoid buying any product from EA if customer service matters to you.  I will likely cancel the two products I have pre-ordered through Origin and seek another vendor or game entirely.  What an absolute shame.

I have case numbers available upon request.

Customer Service Done Right

I have so much respect for good customer service agents.  They are the most under-appreciated and often most important role at a company. When I receive good customer service I go out of my way to let their supervisors know.  I’ve tweeted and even called some companies to commend their CSRs by name.  I take those annoying followup surveys.  I reply to emails.

There’s a donut shop near my work that will often give me a donut for free when I come in for a Diet Coke; she’ll often just give me my entire order for free.  The cost to them is negligible, but the lady who runs the place does so with a smile on her face and tries her darndest to let me know she somehow cares about my business.  DISH Network and Time Warner Cable have also been amazing to me.  Both of those companies have reps in their customer retention center who not only took the time to solve my problem but got me a better deal on my service.  I’ll stay at DISH because of the woman on the phone, not because of the service.

I want to feel like you care about me giving you my money.  I may pay you $60 for a game, or $15 a month.    That seems so insignificant compared to the big picture, but if you treat one person poorly, like EA treated me, you can bet it’s not just an isolated incident.  It’s indicative of a larger problem — one that will ultimately cost your company way more than had you just implemented what it took to put your customers first.

  • At least they have the decency to call it EA Customer Experience as opposed to EA Customer Service. 😛

    It sounds like you did have quite an experience…

  • As I said before in another EA post of yours…”EA sucks, it’s in the game.”

    Now it’s in their customer service.

  • Origin – and EA in general – has atrocious customer service. Spent a half hour on the phone with them one time trying to make sure I wouldn’t be charged for a random 30 day sub to SWTOR that showed up on my account. After 30 minutes of talking to someone who couldn’t understand what I was asking or talking about I got really annoyed. Ended up being some random christmas gift to old players, except none of the tech support guys knew about it so they couldn’t explain why I had 30 days on my account without being charged for it.

    Also with Origin support you can just open a ticket, wait for a rep, then ask for a 15% off coupon to the Origin if you fill out their customer support experience survey and they’ll give it to you. People do it all the time.

  • @Gankatron: Hah, that made me laugh. THanks for that. 😛 Their ‘experience’ / beta whatever it is actually isn’t bad. I think the user experience is good and can get you to the support you need quickly. Once you find it, however, you’ll wish you hadn’t.

    @Damage: Unfortunately, I have to agree. 🙁

    @FireBomberSeven: It didn’t use to be this bad, I swear. I had a problem with SWTOR and my Origin account. Had it fixed promptly. They must have outsourced something.

    @Zubon: Origin exclusives. Thought I’d be foolish enough to play one on a Friday night. It’s an all-time low for me. I’ve had bad experiences (and good) with them in the past, but this takes the cake.

  • They get away with it because gamers are suckers and will buy the games anyway, even if the service would be considered intolerable in most other industries. There aren’t really any consumer advocacy groups for gamers that I’m aware of. Vote with your wallet and quit buying their games.

  • Origin is the one and only reason I still don’t have Mass Effect 3 on my PC.

    You know who has great customer service? Nintendo. The very few times I’ve had to call them, the issue I have is fixed by a real person in less than 5 minutes. No exaggeration.

  • From your two screenshots, I’m trying to decide if they outsourced their support to amateurs in India and Japan, or if they just created some chat bots with those names and language skills to spam answers to frequently asked questions at you based on keywords in your chat text…

    ELIZA seems to be just as helpful:

    > Hello. My name is Eliza. How may I help you?
    * I am having an issue with the Origin client.
    > Do you believe it is normal to be having an issue with the Origin client?
    * It is displaying prices in Euros, although I am located in the United States.
    > How long have you been located in the United States?
    * The problem occurred as of today after updating my Origin client.
    > I’m not sure I understand you fully.

    Every now and then, I get the urge to revisit Dragon Age or think that maybe I should put up with EA Origin to finish Mass Effect 3… Thanks for reminding me why those games should remain dead to me.

  • I had the ultimate nightmare scenario a few years ago when I bought Spore on Steam and the key wouldn’t register. In the end, after being bounced back and forth for two weeks while Steam and EA just played the blame game, I have no idea who I would say was worse. I do place all the blame for the actual issue on EA, since I haven’t had a problem with any of my other 500~ games on Steam – and that’s a great thing, because their support is so awful.

  • Customer Service is important but it can only got so far. I used ATT for DSL service for more than ten years and the Customer Service was always great, even when it was outsourced to India. Ultimately though they just couldn’t give me consistent service and the fact that their representatives were always helpful and knowledgeable. When I switched providers our bill got cheaper and connectivity became rock solid instead of dropping every five minutes and we get 10 times the bandwidth.

  • @Whorhay: Agreed, but when someone needs support and you can’t give it to them then, in my opinion, you have failed.

  • Like Jeromai, I’ve always suspected those Origin chats to be populated by bots, considering their inability to parse even very simple statements. My ex once tried to talk to one of them about them sending us a SWTOR authenticator with a dead battery. He eventually gave up on it after the umpteenth time they insisted we should contact in-game customer support to fix it (what).

  • Some companies just do not give a @#& about their customers the moment they received your money.
    Others just have incompetent people on their support team. (pay peanuts get monkeys?)

    See I am used to shitty customer service here in Europe.
    What a relief it was, when I contacted the customer service of an Asian company.
    I was like.. wait they actually seem sincere and trying their best to help me and give me extras as a way of compensation to show me they value me as a customer.

    Such treatment used to be normal in my country from what I heard my parents tell me. (I have never experienced it before)

    Makes one wonder what happened. When did we turn from valued customers to annoying people that cost the company time and money?

    I guess the people themselves are to blaim.
    Take your business elsewhere and report rude unhelpful staff to their supervisors.

    p.s. i have a bad experience with Nintendo. incompetent tech staff made it so I had to start my pokemon y adventure for the 3rth time with pauses of a week in between (for no valid reason). The result? I could not be bothered anymore and sold it eventually. They took away that experience of a new fresh magical world for me.
    And that pokemon game was the whole reason I bought a 2ds to begin with.

  • @Keen What I have heard that works wonders these days is if you put a post on facebook or reddit with your dissatisfaction and your problem.
    And often within minutes you get contacted with a personal message and a phone number and all of a sudden they are very helpful.

    Its a public relations nightmare if bad things appear on a public place with their name on it.

  • The quality of support plays a substantial role in my choice of whether I will buy a game at launch, if at all.

    EA has burnt too many bridges as a customer on many levels (destroying BioWare’s sterling reputation was the final insult for me) that I am loathe to make a purchase from them. I would rather stubbornly miss out of a potential positive gaming experience than give them my money at this point. There are just too many games in my library already that I have yet to install and new STEAM sales every day to bother with their shoddy products and services at a premium price.

    Contrary to this I had a focused troubleshooting experience with a single representative over a non-launchable Stardock game that spanned over 2 months. Now of course it would have been preferable to resolve the issue in a more timely fashion, but every couple of days their representative would offer a new potential solution and keep trouble checking my computer. In the end it had something to do with a C++ issue on my end and I now have Fallen Enchantress up and running. At one point he offered to contact STEAM and make sure they refunded my money if I became too frustrated with the process.

    One person focused on your specific issue until the problem is resolved regardless of the amount of time they need to invest is quality customer service.

  • Bad customer service is so very frustrating. I don’t think it’s just an issue of outsourcing though — I’ve had some clearly outsourced customer service experiences that were excellent and plenty of non outsourced experiences that were awful. Recently UPS lost a package that was to be delivered to me and I had to contact the seller to get a reshipment. The customer service from the seller was great, but then UPS screwed up the reshipment as well. They claimed to have made a delivery attempt (I was home at the time) but no attempt was made and no package slip was left. Without the package slip, I couldn’t actually get the package. I called up the main UPS support number and was dealt with very professionally before being transferred to my local center. The local person, after hearing my description of the problem literally said to me, “OK, well what do you want me to do about it?” (defensive tone).

    While I hate doing this, in situations like these I find that it’s often effective to get the Better Business Bureau involved. It’s a pain in the ass but it often gets results. After I filed a BBB complaint UPS followed up with me twice by phone to apologize and confirm that my package had been delivered successfully.

    Currently EA has an A+ rating from the BBB. Why? Because they apparently successfully handle complaints made against them. If you have a support issue with EA that isn’t getting resolved effectively, I’d strongly suggest filing a BBB report.

  • I’m there. I was totally willing to throw EA a bone and stand up for them. Origin as a service alone was never enough to piss me off, but not supporting their service absolutely pushes me over the edge. I still can’t buy from them because the prices are all in Euros.