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How to get Support, the right way!

There comes a time in which one absolutely needs to contact support for something they can’t resolve themselves.  Contacting support can be an easy experience for everyone involved. Read on to find out how to contact support and what they can and can’t do!Imagine you are questing around the Broken Isles.  You’re having a great time, when suddenly you get disconnected.  Oh no!  You try to reconnect, which works, but now your latency is in the thousands.  You can’t move, you can’t use any abilities, and you’re effectively stuck.  What do you do?

Well, the first thing that comes to mind would be to see if you can go to places like YouTube or the WoW Forums.  You see that you can.  “Fantastic!  It’s not my internet.  I’ll post on the forums then and get Blizzard to fix their problem!”

You go to the Tech Support forum and post a long, drawn out post about how you were questing around the Broken Isles and how you can watch YouTube and Netflix and all that fun stuff.  It might actually go something like this:

“I was questing around the Broken Isles today when I suddenly got disconnected.  I know my internet is fine because I can come to the forums and watch videos on YouTube.  When I reconnected, my latency was 1500.  Again, I know it isn’t my internet because I’m browsing the web and watching a YouTube video as I type this up.  It doesn’t make any sense that I was disconnected suddenly and now my latency is high and I can’t do anything at all.  Fix it!”

There are a few things wrong with that post:

  1. There are no troubleshooting steps.  Although checking the web and stuff is all fine and dandy, where are the ping tests?  What about an MTR?  Trace route?  None of that was done.  One can’t determine connection stability from the ability to watch a YouTube video or browse the web.  They are much different from an online, real-time game.
  2. It doesn’t describe the issue.  Saying they were disconnected while questing around the Broken Isles doesn’t describe the actual issue.  Where were they when they were disconnected?  Did they experience anything odd right before being disconnected?  All of these questions would need to be asked in order to get a feel of what’s actually going on.
  3. Finally, it turned into a blame game.  In all my time playing World of Warcraft, I have never been disconnected as a result of something on Blizzard’s end.  Have I just been lucky this whole time?  Possibly.  However, one cannot say it isn’t their internet connection simply by browsing the web and watching YouTube videos.

You might be asking yourself at this point: “Why is this an article about how to contact support when your example is a connectivity issue?  Shouldn’t this be an article about why I’m stupid for blaming Blizzard for something that’s obviously their fault?”  Connectivity issues are the most common type of posts I see on the forums on a daily basis.  It’s also the type of issue people get the most defensive about.

As someone who works in the Customer Support industry, it pains me to see interactions that start with “It doesn’t work!” or the customer will have a huge “detailed” account of what is going on, but doesn’t describe the actual issue at all.  When Customer Support agents try to help players with issues they are happening, they are trained to follow a specific set of troubleshooting steps to help narrow down where the issue might lie and get the customer on the path to resolution.  I have seen many interactions where the customer actually argued and called my agents names because they were so defensive about their issue, one can almost say they were delusional.  As my father in law once said, “We live in a blameless society.  No one wants to take responsibility for something that actually is their fault.”

I once saw a car accident where someone hit a parked car.  Before you ask, the car was parked legally.  Instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, the person who hit the parked car actually blamed the owner of the parked car for being there.

When contacting support, answer the following questions while filling out the ticket:

  • Where was I exactly when the issue happened? – Was I in Suramar or Highmountain?  Was I in an instance?
  • Did I notice anything odd about the game before this happened? – Did other players appear to be frozen in place?  Was chat still working?
  • Is the website working? – Can I look at the support forums to see if anyone else is having this issue?
  • For that matter, is anyone else having this issue?
  • What does the WinMTR test reveal?  What about a Looking Glass report?
  • Who is your Internet Provider?  Are you using a wired connection or wireless?

Answering those questions while submitting your support ticket will make the lives of the Support Agents much easier.  Your post now looks something like this:

“While I was completing some questions around Suramar, I noticed the other players appeared to be frozen in place.  Chat was still working though.  I checked the support forums to see if anyone else was having the issue and I found one other post where someone else with Comcast was having the same issue.  Attached is my WinMTR report and Looking Glass report.  Would you be able to help me figure out this issue?  Thanks!”

That simple post tells the agent all they need to know to help diagnose the issue.  In this case, the issue would be with the customer’s internet connection.  Maybe not noticeable in the first steps of the connection, but it could happen somewhere along the provider’s network.  I have seen so many posts where a player is experiencing packet loss and high latency within the provider’s network, but not at the modem or in the customer’s home town.  It could be a routing issue that’s causing the packet loss and high latency.  So while the customer’s internet connection is indeed “fine” as far as the initial steps of the connection, the internet provider is having an issue.  That means the customer will have to report the issue to their own internet providers for a resolution.

A good example of that would be all the posts that happened when a routing configuration issue caused wide spread internet outages.  People were extremely quick to blame Blizzard for something that wasn’t their fault, and demanding Blizzard “fix” the issue.  There wasn’t anything Blizzard could do.

This article is getting quite long winded, so I’ll start to wrap it up.  When contacting support, be as detailed as possible without the fluff.  Leave out the blame game, as it isn’t productive at all.  We will be posting an article tomorrow that talks about connection issues and what you can do to help diagnose those issue.

Until next time, save travels!

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