Yo Yo != Service

It seem as though despite Yo Yo Game’s claims to be on top of everything, there are still many visible problems with the service they are providing. From the perspective of a business analyst I would have to say their communication (in terms of customer support) is terrible, far worse than most small and medium sized businesses and is the leading cause for the negativity towards the new company merger.

Yo Yo Games has failed to take into consideration that their customer base is made up of mostly North Americans. In North America, there is a much higher expectation for customer service levels than in other parts of the world and consumers expect free support with response times of less than 24 hours with multiple methods available for contacting the business (such as email, support tickets, live chat, phone). To put it simply, Yo Yo Games has to understand that when they don’t provide the customer service that users (especially of North American origin) expect, they are bound to lose many potential customers now and in the future and that it also places them on the path of forming many “enemies” that lead to developing negativity within the community.

One clear example of the lack of service Yo Yo Games provides involves a school teacher in the United States. This teacher has being using Game Maker as the primary programming tool in three of the school’s courses which have enrolled some odd 2,000 students over the past few years. A site license has been purchased for the 20 computer workstations in the school’s computer lab to allow all students to use the Pro Version of Game Maker. Unfortunately due to the introduction of the new DRM copy-protection system implemented in Version 7 of the program (since Yo Yo Games), the teacher was restricted to only licensing his site-license key on three computers.

The teacher tried contacting Yo Yo Games and Softwrap more than four times over the past two weeks and never received a response from either regarding the urgent situation. Spring term has now already started and the school is left without Pro Versions / Registered copies of Game Maker 7 for students to use despite requesting for a site license key well in advance. Still, to this day, the teacher has not received any communication from Yo Yo Games to even acknowledge they are working on the problem and obtaining a solution, not even an automated response.

Considering this:
1) Over 20% of the students taking the course tend to upgrade to the registered/pro version within the first few days of classes
2) By the 2nd and 3rd level course all students have a key
..
This school has accounted for several hundred keys that have been purchased.

A customer such as this who has likely been the sole reason behind these hundreds of key purchases and thousands of dollars spent, should be a highly valued customer. Especially when dealing with an educational institution, Yo Yo Games should make an extra effort to ensure their problems are solved as quickly as possible.

In order for Yo Yo Games to effectively turn around and minimize the negativity put towards them due to the lack of service and communication, they will need to:

1) Develop an entirely new communication and support system. An on-line support ticket system would probably be the best solution (allowing users to create new support tickets, see the real-time status of their ticket, and any responses support staff have given). As part of this new customer service program, all questions should be answered within 24 hours on weekdays, any longer is much too long for a business operation and someone (or multiple staff members) should be appointed specifically with the task of responding to support requests if timing is becoming a problem.

2) Participate on the forum. Currently none of the Yo Yo staff that I know of are making many appearances on the GMC (and the glog posts at http://www.playsnack.com are infrequent). If Yo Yo Games wants to keep the community at ease while it is setup, the company will need to be more active in the community. This allows users to get a feel for the new staff and determine their ultimate intentions and have a better understanding of what’s planned for the future. As far as a lot of people are concerned, they woke up one morning to find that a company nobody had ever heard of had taken over everything they have been working with for years; and this newly formed company had failed to respond to contact/support requests; and had over time, released a new version of Game Maker with an unreliable DRM protection leaving many users stranded with activation/upgrade problems for days and weeks.

Yo Yo Games needs to develop some key strategies on how they plan to achieve a better support service in the future. As it stands now, it is starting to affect many members, education institutions and the entire community as a whole. While Yo Yo Games obviously is not intentionally trying to cause problems amongst the community and its users, by not addressing these issues, and taking the position of a bystander they are letting these problems occur. It is time to prevent these problems and negativity towards Yo Yo Games, and hopefully through the introduction of the new Yo Yo Games website and a little more time and effort, this can be achieved.

Please contribute your 2 cents.

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21 Responses

  1. word…

    all went to hell since yoyo came.. bad customer service, problems with getting new keys etc etc..! when will this be over!

  2. YoYo Games had really enough time to prepare their start, at least a few months. And they even cycled the release in order to get the support system working.
    But nevertheless, they act like being thrown into cold water without any previous warning. No replies to mails, offline reg system is not active either. Seems like they are overcharged. And sooner or later they get the bill for this sustaining inability, because the more users are frustrated, the less attractive is Game Maker Pro for new potential users.

  3. I now have undeniable proof that this merger was a complete failure. Could this be the end of GM as we know it!?

  4. sandyd wrote me at 17.03.2007. They are working on an
    offline registration system and making tests, so be patient,
    it will coming soon and it will be better.

  5. I’m sure they are working on an offline reg system, *but* the alarming thing is, as this article states, the utter lack of communication.

    The official YoYo website, for example, has virtually no information. A visitor stopping by would have no idea that YoYo was still smoothing out some issues and would be mighty surprised upon purchasing a key.
    Examples:
    ~Solutions for most of the errors that users encounter while installing (and there are a few) have been posted and pinned on the GMC, but there is no link to that site, and no indication of its existance for new users. There is simply no indication of how to solve the problems on the homepage.

    ~Since the YoYo site isn’t really up yet, all of the news regarding the updated reg system, contact procedures/info for problem resolution, etc is being posted on Sandy Duncan’s blog (playsnack.com). It’s fine if Sandy wants his blog to be the official news site for now, but the link to playsnack has been removed from the homepage. How will new visitors see all of this info?

    ~As this article says, email is a mess. Since YoYo is not posting any news on their site, everyone is trying to email them. And the site provides only 1 address–admin–as the place to go for all issues. Heck, you have to know about the “Glog” or GMC in order to know to contact Softwrap. And despite the fact that admin gets all the emails, they are rather slow to respond.

    So, while I agree that YoYo is working to improve everything for us, I think we really have to be pretty upset with how they’ve chosen to keep us informed. Hey, what are the odds that they read this news bulletin 🙂

  6. LOL I really like this site, but sometimes there are stupid thing… Do you realy think that in North America, there is a much higher expectation for customer service levels than in other parts of the world ? The answer is no… You are not alone and US isn’t the only develop country. European people are like you : we all expect the same thing. We also have internet, we hope all the same things. Did you expect a faster answer because you live in US ???
    However, i agree with your point of view with Yoyo games, like a lot of European people…

  7. @CyberTwister when I single out North America specifically, it is from my own personal expeience. Where I live (Australia) which does follow the basic life style of the English life, good service is not expected.

    In North America, expected tip for dinner is around 15-18%, and this is because there is a very high expectation for service, and customers are going to expect an enjoyable experience, in a comfortable atmosphere with a very friendly and nice wait-staff who are very attentive and responsive to any requests and such. In Australia however, this is far from the case. A standard tip for dinner is between 0-5% (10% if excellent), and its simply because there is very poor customer service.

    Now I’m not just talking about the restaurant industry, everything is like that. With most busineses in North America if its computer related like a major ISP, you can probably expect a 24/7 1800 toll free number, here even a major internet service provider will only have customer service hours for a short time during the day and a lot of the time only during the week. It is also common that you are usually charged (at least a bit) for the phone-call.

    From what I find here, it’s common for people to not reply to your contact requests in a timely manner, and even if you call in and leave a message you may not receive an answer for a week, that is just accepted here. Every foreigner I’ve talked to who lives here, agrees with me in that Australia and some other parts of the world have very low standards in Service, so customers aren’t really expecting much.

    Now, of course I do believe there are parts of Europe that probably have similar customer service levels and expectations as say a country like Canada, but from what I can see (this includes personal experience when travelling), this is not usually the case. Businesses in North America just know that their support service is just as important as the product they are selling, they need to put almost as much effort into it to make sure the customer is completely satasified.

  8. Ok : I probably didn’t understand all by this way. You are probably right on some points 😉
    (But it’s probably a personnality thing more than a geographic one… But this isn’t the question and the topic to speak about that ).

    See you

  9. Dear god…when will al the whining about Yo-Yo games stop?

    I can only repeat myself over and over again:

    “YES, Yo-Yo games dont have great service right now”

    but…

    WHAT SERVICE DID YOU GET BEOFRE????
    Same or LESS is my answer.

    ….you all still pay 15€ (20$) for GameMaker….
    why do you think you deserve more support now?

    Browse the GMC…Mark is allready trying to help wherever he can.

    Yo-Yo Games are either STUPID or they dont WANT to support…..

    but whining about “is this the end of GM as it was before?”
    is just stupid….

    Its up to you what you make out of GM…

  10. YoYo Games is still in it’s beta stages… Why would they be providing great customer service yet? Technically Game Maker 7 was not supposed to be released yet.

    I suggest that only the people able to “do it all themselves” buy right now and wait for the full site’s release if they need help.

  11. “Technically Game Maker 7 was not supposed to be released yet.”

    What do you mean, ‘technically’? Technically GM7 was supposed to have been released in *January*. 🙂

    “WHAT SERVICE DID YOU GET BEOFRE???? Same or LESS is my answer.”

    From what I understand, and based on posts made to the GMC over the years, that’s just not true – most purchases were sorted out within a few days. It IS true that codes were not received immediately, but I don’t think anyone ever had to wait a full month for their code either.

    Now, don’t take it from this that I hate YYG, because I don’t. I simply want to be sure everyone has an accurate picture. The problems with softwrap (which includes offline registration) seem to have taken them by surprise and it’s not that strange that it’s taking them some time to sort that out. Phone calls are obviously an awkward and time-consuming system to resolve it with, and hiring a large temporary staff just to deal with FREE upgrades that are not bringing the company any more money doesn’t make the most sense either.

    There is a slight feeling of lack-of-direction – of difficulty with prioritising and of keeping information consistent, public, and updated. Perhaps they’re still trying to hire the PR/Spokesperson. 🙂

    We can all speculate on ways it could have been done differently – a limited release to only certain users to test the registration system, a GM6.2 adding *only* Vista support so that there wouldn’t be a rush to get 7 out until the whole YYG operation was ready – but that’s not really very helpful now. Really, you need to think about what you want to achieve, and try to make THAT happen. Flailing randomly is more likely to result in them all giving up and going home and taking GM with them. 🙂

  12. What you don’t hear mentioned is the amount of people that YoYo Games has helped.

  13. Yes, but if they are gunna be a “big fancy” game company and have a bunch of restrictions, they better start acting like it. Before, we had no support but we didn’t need it on account of the lack of security that went into Gamemaker. It used to be a thing Mark made for some extra cash and his University but now it is a thing that a huge company is controlling and is providing the same type of service.

  14. Chronic, you never hear anything about the people that have been helped. And did we hear anything at all in the past few years when Overmars did about everything alone? No, we didn’t, because everybody was helped.

    You can’t deny that YoYo has a problem communicating to it’s clients. I know they’re busy, but they could at least arrange one hour a week to post updates on their progress. That way the community wouldn’t feel like being left in the dark.

    By the way, why didn’t the teacher just stick to GM 6.1 for the time being? …. oh wait, that’s the USA. They obviously dumped Vista on all their computers already…

  15. While I agree, the merger has been slow with many errors, I must say you are being a little harsh. This is a brand new company, very understaffed, and with limited resources. Also, every time I have emailed YOYO I have gotten at the very most 48 hour support. I’ll hold off before saying anything against the merger yet.

  16. I agree. I think Yo Yo Games sucks, and in many ways the new restrictions that they forced in Game Maker 7 do to. I’m boycotting version 7 indefinitely. It has no features I need, and tons of issues I really don’t need.

  17. I can’t believe that YoYo Games is taking so long to launch the new website along with the ‘offline’ registration system.

    I think they had plenty of time to get it working. I am a web-designer I take about less than a week to create a full dynamic website, all by myself (considering graphics / flash too). They ought to hire a better web developer.

    In the meantime more and more users are getting frustrated about the new registration system. Version 7 crack is out, many users resort to it (also users that had the will to pay for it) and also I admit I have to use it too because my 2 legal keys worked until I formatted my hard drive and plus I got no support from YoYo Games nor SoftWrap about this issue regardless the numerous emails I sent.

    I don’t mind saying a big thank you or even donate for the development of Game Maker, but I don’t think YoYo Games deserves any “Thank You” at the moment…

  18. I don’t know why you deleted my post, but it was not nice.
    (just please don’t tell me, it was for the crack reference…)

  19. Sorry, I don’t know why, but my browser is acting up, (Some posts do not show up sometimes!?)
    ignore and delete the previous post of mine.

    In order not to make this post triple in a row and look like spam, I ‘ll add something up:
    The Game Maker protection did no good so far, only bad. It made many users dump the program, game projects targeted for Vista or other features got suspended, users willing to pay either payed and received nothing or resorted to piracy. Users with a valid key lost it in registration errors and much more…

    This is not how I imagined the launch of GM7. I am hoping this mess will be fixed soon.

    @ BlaXun
    Then am I supposed to spend more in order to get better support? For some people $20 is vital. You probably have no idea what you can buy in a super market with $20.

  20. I have reinstalled my Windows and now my key doesn’t work anymore. The second time I have this problem. Have mailed YoYo 3days ago, but didn’t receive a mail yet. Service are other things but not YoYo Games.

  21. I’m willing to give YoYo Games a chance, and I was very optimistic in the beginning, but I’m now beginning to doubt them. It took 3 days for my GM7 key to arrive, however, I didn’t mind, since I have Windows XP, and I just kept using GM6.1 until my key arrived.

    When I read about the massive problems that other users are encountering, it just makes me doubt YoYo Games. I’m still willing to give YoYo Games a chance, but they seriously need to clean up their act a bit.

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