Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Tale of Great Customer Service

About two weeks ago, I noticed something strange about my 5th Edition Player's Handbook.

The pages were coming out of the book.

That is, the glue that connected them to the spine of the book seemed to be losing its strength, and whole chunks of pages were coming loose. Naturally, this makes the book rather difficult to use.

Sort of makes me nostalgic for the 2E Monstrous Compendium, in a way...
So I went onto the official 5th Edition page on Facebook to see if anyone else had had this problem. Indeed, it seemed that it was a known issue for the first printing of the book, and I was advised to contact the customer support folks at WotC to request a replacement.

Mm-hmm. I'd gone down this road before with different game companies, and I wasn't sanguine about the chances. Nonetheless, I took a photo of the damage and opened a support ticket on July 20th, with low expectations.

Two days later (on a Saturday night!) I got a reply, asking for a photo of page 2, so they could confirm which printing it was. Fine, no problem. I dutifully sent it in.

And that's when it started.

I started getting some of the best, "in character" customer support messages I'd ever gotten. And a lot of them, to keep me fully up to speed on the progress of my ticket. I have no idea if they were writing these on the fly, or if they have a set script of them handy for this issue that apparently affected a lot of people, but I've got to say it was really neat to start getting them. Here are some samples:
I am sorry to hear that the hated Blackguards have sabotaged your Handbook with their black magicks! Does their cruelty and hatred for Players know no bounds?? Of course, we will be happy to assist you with a replacement, free of charge. We must have our noble allies fighting against the forces of darkness with all haste!
I have informed the benevolent clerics of Product Replacement of this issue; they will finalize the replacement order spells for your new book. Though we shall face many dangers in doing so, we shall arrange for your new Player's Handbook to arrive to you in the coming days. The agents of Bane shall not stop our efforts to serve you!
We offer thanks to Oghma for your patience! We've reviewed the runic markings in your images and determined that they align with a specific binding glyph that's been deemed too unstable for our purposes. It's safe to say you can expect continued unraveling as arcane powers rejoin the ambient mana in the atmosphere.
Not to worry - I've gone ahead and set up a replacement order from our stock of properly warded and rune-bound tomes. It should be shipping out soon, so be on the look out over the next few weeks!
As the wards have already begun to fail, I fear shipping might sever the corporeal bonds holding the bound magic entirely. While normally our Order's archivists would request the pages be returned for safe decommission, in this case, we'd simply ask that you get what use you can out of them before they dematerialize entirely. 
Every day or two there was something, and lo! and behold, just ten days later, my replacement book arrived today. Free.

Gotta say, pre-scripted or not, they managed to acknowledge the problem, explain the issue, and keep me informed of every step of the process continually, so I was never in limbo as to the status of my ticket. And they did so in a very entertaining manner, showing that the folks over there are willing to have some fun with what could be a tedious and potentially volatile customer service issue.

That's some first-class service, folks. Thanks to Kirsten M., Adam E., and Noah M. for making this as good a customer service experience as I could have hoped for, and far better than some I've gotten in the gaming world. Kudos!


7 comments:

James Mishler said...

That's awesome!

Especially since mine ALSO fell apart, and I've ended up punching mine with a three-hole punchy and putting it into a binder (you are not the only one with that odd nostalgia for the old Monstrous Compendiums)...

I bought mine at Gen Con when it first released.

I don't suppose you can put up a link to where I can put in for a replacement? I'd heard about this, too, but much like yourself, didn't think it was worth the bother...

Asaraludu said...

Similar story here... When I received my PHB copy, some of the pages had blue smears across them, making the text nearly unreadable. I reported it, sent pictures, and they shipped me a new PHB within the week. Definitely great customer service!

Granger44 said...

Friend of mine also had the same issue with his first printing and got the same customer service. Seems like Wizard has upped their game.

Joseph Bloch said...

James, I just went through the wizards.com website and submitted a ticket. You need to log in to the site to do it. I can't get the exact URL at the moment, but there's a "Contact Customer Support" link at the bottom of the page.

Brooklyn Red Leg said...

Okay, that's totally awesome! My respect for WotC went up a bit (I don't hate them with the nerdrage of some other grognards).

Hamel™ said...

I confirm.. they did a great service even down here in Italy.
A guy had the same problem and his broken copy got replaced.

Great work.

Timothy Brannan said...

Same thing happened to my son's PHB. I had heard the WotC was replacing them for free and being ultra cool about it.

We opted instead to put the pages in a three ring binder with all the extra material from Unearthed Arcana and some of the free stuff they were doing for 5e.
http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2017/01/making-table-copy.html.

I have been extremely pleased with the service I have gotten from WotC over the years. I have never understood the nerd-rage people have against them.