Friday, June 20, 2008

Good Customer Service From Mayfair Games

Back on 27 May I received a new in-shrink copy of Mayfair Games' Tigris and Euphrates in a math trade. On opening the game I was disappointed to find all the die-cut tiles were printed off-centre - annoyingly off-centre. The last game I'd bought that was published by Mayfair Games was The Downfall of Pompeii - and that was missing a vital playing piece. Was I just unlucky or did they have poor quality control at Mayfair? To be fair, Mayfair did replace the missing playing piece with minimum fuss.

So on 29 May I sent an email to customer service at Mayfair Games letting them know of the problem.

On 3 June Kim McBrady from Mayfair customer support responded:

I am sorry you received defective tiles in your game. I will send you a new set of tiles for your game free of charge in the mail as soon as I can.

Customer Service
Mayfair Games, Inc.

On 19 June a sturdy cardboard envelope arrived from the USA with a new set of neatly-centred tiles for me.

Great customer service from Mayfair Games and a big thank you to Kim McBrady

I was very pleased with the customer service from Mayfair Games. They acknowledged the problem, they apologised, and they offered to replace the faulty components free of charge.

Coincidentally, just the other day, I was reading an article by Yehuda Berlinger from back in June 2006 at The Games Journal. In this article, entitled Ethics in Gaming 6.0, he discusses the moral responsibility of game designers and publishers to their customers. I thought his comments on customer service and various types of good and bad apologies was spot on.

I'll reproduce part of the article below from Ethics in Gaming 6.0 by Yehuda Berlinger. Click on the link for the full article, it's an interesting read.

Customer Service

Try to ensure quality control on your product, and respond quickly and generously to people who have bought the product with broken or missing components.

Answer all customer queries with politeness, even those that are impolite themselves. The losers of any argument are the rude ones.

A brief aside about apologies

There are many incorrect ways to formulate an apology, but only a few correct ones. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is best:

  • "You can always take your business elsewhere." (1): Thank you, I will, and so will all of my friends.
  • "It's not our fault." (2): This is a non-apology, where you are not seeking to redress the issue, nor evincing any sort of sympathy for the injured.
  • "We're sorry that you feel that way." (3): This is also a non-apology, which roughly translates into "It pisses us off that you feel that way. If you didn't feel that way, we would be happy." It also doesn't take any responsibility for the problem, and places all of it onto the injured party. Be careful of any apology that starts "I'm sorry that you..."
  • "We're sorry if we did something wrong." (6): This is getting there, but doesn't really accept responsibility either. You are not acknowledging that you did anything wrong; you're still hoping that you haven't. You are offering an apology for appearances sake.
  • "We're sorry that this occurred." (7): You are sorry, but as a matter of principle you're still trying to insist that it wasn't really your fault.
  • "We're sorry that we caused this problem." or "We're sorry that we have let this happen." (9): This is a full apology, and is what the customer needs to hear. Frankly, it doesn't matter that it was really the post office's fault, and not yours; the customer doesn't care. Most people hearing this cannot help but respond with some sort of graciousness, such as "Well, all right then, these things happen. What are you going to do to fix it?" This is the target level that you want to hit for your customer service. But for the record, there is still one level to go. The complete apology is:
  • "We're so sorry that we caused this problem; we are really distressed over this. Please know that we take this very seriously. This is a huge oversight on our part. I will immediately notify my supervisor, and we will review our procedures to ensure that this cannot happen again. In the meantime, that is no consolation to you for our lack of service! What can we do to regain your trust? We will be sending you a little surprise as a token of our appreciation of having you as a customer." (10)

In truth, this little speech goes on until the customer interrupts. And it is followed by a few more apologies as the conversation closes, as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mayfair's quality control seems to be extremely poor -- they make these games in house, by hand, and many Settlers of Catan are missing entire decks of cards, pieces, etc. It seems to be a VERY high percentage. Kim does seem to be resolving the issue(s) but it takes time and the percentage of problems, in my opinion, is just unacceptable.