Criticism and communication

First of all, I would like to emphasize that I also sometimes have system-related problems in IF, but I don’t create a topic here because of every little thing.

Unfortunately, at some point I can no longer just read along, I have to give free rein to my opinion.

But what really worries me is the way support treats us CUSTOMERS. This is not personal but unfortunately runs through most of the reply mail from the STAFF team.

I mostly only read support posts in the IFC, also for professional reasons.

But the first thing that happens in most of the posts is that you say that’s just the way it is or that you always try to blame the CUSTOMERS first. Of course, many problems are homemade and can be fixed with a few clicks or so (handle errors).

But my dear ladies and gentlemen of the support team, how about a little different wording?

It would be quite simple to say, “Hey, we’re sorry you’re having this problem, but maybe we can solve it with a few tricks.” If that still doesn’t work, you can say sorry, but we’ll make a note of it and TRY to get to the bottom of it.

And no, that has nothing to do with the customer is king mentality, it’s simply polite and puts CUSTOMERS and staff on an equal footing.

Nobody asks the staff team (to crawl behind the customers!)

It’s simply about how we deal with us CUSTOMERS! Even if the support may only be voluntary, you still represent the company to us CUSTOMERS. It’s clear that the mood here will change at some point.

Unfortunately, I can understand totaly everybody who is thinking about to cancel the sub here, I have also been paying my annual subscription in advance for years. It is also clear to us that small 12-year-old kids tend to keep their mouths shut or are more excited when such small updates come.

But we’re not all children and that’s why I would really ask you to rethink IF’s communication with CUSTOMERS.

THANKS

@Black_Bird @CrazyBee @Nefarious @Luu @Marcel_NG002 @CFG_Hawk

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Do you have any specific examples where you feel that our team has been blaming customers for issues, or has not been polite?

We work hard to ensure all users have a good experience, both from a technical standpoint but also in our communications; there may be the occasional slip up, so I would say it would be more productive to address specifics rather than generalise

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Hi, thx for bringing up this topic. Let me try to explain my point of view: the vast majority of the people playing IF are very loyal and have a high identification with the product, the services around it and the community. (I assume the NPS is pretty high, which is good)
But at the moment players are facing bugs, more than they usually experienced before. (this is also my honest opinion, but you can also read it in different channels)
Most of us are understanding that everyone is working hard on things on Staff side.
But it’s hard to see the end of the line. It just feels it’s lasting forever. So smaller issues maybe grow to bigger topics because the overall experience is suffering.

So in conclusion: no one wants to blame anyone. Staff is taking things serious. So does the community. Both sides love to see a perfect product. So feedback ist not always intended to be offense.

Thanks.

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Much agreed. Reminds me of this post I put up over a year ago (link is tagged) which ultimately got closed, but yes, communication is key and it needs to be respectful. Some staff on here are great, but others, particularly the controllers, seem to lack general tactical communication. I spoke to @Airman_Jayy about this once and he completely agreed that criticism and hostile environment in this community needs to be adjusted. A lot of staff take their titles much too seriously and talk to the rest of us like we’re children. Whenever we voice our opinions, it’s viewed as stepping out of line and then we, the consumers, get reprimanded.

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Just on this note;
From the top of my head, I can’t recall any time where someone in the team have been offended. So I don’t think it’s something you need to worry about. As long as feedback are expressed in constructive manner, we’re more than happy to receive it.

And when it comes to the Support category in general, it’s important to have this in mind:

And if you do see a reply from someone who you don’t think is appropriate, do flag it.
I generally do my rounds numerous times a day and delete replies that are rude, off-topic and all that jazz but sometimes miss things for sure.

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I would have to argue the “more than they usually experienced” bit with our metrics. Crash rate has been a key metric we’ve worked on for this release, and we fixed hundreds of crashes and odd issues that users have been experiencing, and the results are promising.

New updates do bring in some uncaught bugs unfortunately (as in your other support topic, it’s affecting few people and hard to reproduce), but we’re working diligently to correct that. There is a big hotfix coming within the next few days to address the major issues we’ve detected so far.

On top of that, the last few months have brought key bug fixes including:

  • Multiplayer connection issues. For IFATC, the experience used to be painful before, so we’ve spent many months getting to the bottom of instability. We’ve made great strides here and are seeing good stats on our end.
  • Long haul flight crashes
  • Improvements to app loading times + instability when downloading content
  • Optimizations of key systems to improve performance

By the way, I would recommend creating a separate topic for this if you wish to continue discussing (happy to chat more!); mostly because this topic is about communication and I would try and avoid this becoming a big “rant” topic

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i think that this is one of my biggest problems with the team. as much as I appreciate the work thats done, i see little being done in putting in the effort to actually do what u guys say u would do. i may not know all that goes into it, but the features topic for example seems useless as whats asked for us rarely added until years after our until years after and people have to beg. i really do appreciate the work yall do, but we hear little communication sometimes which makes it so we can never understand whats going on and vise versa. so ig the key thing is that the team is lacking communication at times when all it takes is a “we understand, we’re working on something else” for us to understand ur actually doing something and theres a real reason for not actively working on solving community requests and issues

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Thanks for sharing. I would like to think that as a team, we’ve been pretty consistent with our communications since last year when you shared your topic, though we’d be happy to take a look at specific examples if you feel differently.

I think it’s important to remember that ATC controllers are not staff members, they are fellow community members. While they have no obligation as customers to be friendly (despite it being encouraged in our forum guidelines), we try and foster an inclusive and respectful community where productive discussions can be had.

If this happens again going forward, please let either the moderators or staff know and we can take a look at the topic. Thank you :)

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Do you have any examples of this?

Because that’s one thing with Features - some requests are simply not possible to adhere to at this time. And this is something we have been very communicative about.

Same goes for certain issues. Before your time for example, we had something called the floating point bug. It was basically a thing from 2011 until 2017. Before that, it simply wasn’t technically possible to fix.

I would almost dare to say that the things you feel we haven’t communicated about, is something that we in fact have communicated about but something you might have missed? I wouldn’t blame you for it, since it’s not super obvious at times but I’m fairly sure it is there.

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i feel that may be true, and I wished there was a better way of communicating for a larger audience to hear and understand you guys. thanks for replying

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On the larger scale, I would say we do via the Blog and such.
But on a smaller scale where it sometimes pops up a rather targeted question, it will always be a challenge.

For example someone asked Tyler the other day about why some livery still hadn’t been added despite it being confirmed for a longer time than one that was added just now and he replied. I would personally not say that’s something worthy of an entire blog post covering that specific issue. Because there are already other blog posts about why we add X before Y etc.

Hi Cameron!

Thanks for the reply. We had a personal example this morning, but this was then discussed in a PM.

It’s more about the overall impression you get when you have a problem. We can now start searching but the first words are definitely mostly due to the WIFI or the device!

That should all be correct, because of course I also know that at least 50% of the problems are home-made. But as we say in Austria: “The sound makes the music!”

As a GM with more than 30 years of professional experience, I dare to say that one or two adjustment screws should be turned in terms of external communicative impact.

What I personally don’t like is simply keeping various reviews secret and hiding them. There is criticism like this one that doesn’t belong behind the barrier of a PM.

This should be seen as food for thought to perhaps discuss it internally.

As @Blackbird1 said, most of the players, including myself, are very loyal and I think we would like to stay that way.

Thanks

Hey, thanks for the response!

I saw that topic - and if I’m honest, I don’t see any instance where we were blaming the user. Most of the time, topics in support are issues that are fixable on the user’s end and we will first suggest that a user tries a fix on their end. That is not blaming, but just trying to ensure we try and find a solution as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to investigate every single support request thoroughly immediately; we receive a lot of requests, both on the forum and through our email support channels, and having users try to adjust some settings on their end is the first step in our triage process.

If we find the issue is still happening despite this troubleshooting, Sebastian escalates it and we then determine if/when we can dedicate engineering time for this. We will certainly apologise if the issue is our fault and it is causing significant detriment to your experience.

Can I ask… was there something specific that you think we could have done better in this morning’s topic?

For full context, Sebastian sent you a direct message to continue the discussion; the intention was not to keep it a secret, but to allow you to continue discussing with us as your post was unrelated to the support topic. We’re very happy to have these discussions in public, as we are doing now :)

We certainly appreciate this! At the same time, we put a lot of time and effort into everything we do, so it is disheartening when we are told we aren’t treating our customers as well as we should.

Thanks for the chat!

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That’s what I tried to express. You guys don’t need or have to argue what and why you are doing things (in first and second place) you’re the company. But we as the customers are seeking for more transparency…
So it’s easier for us to understand why some things in releases are still missing. Why crash may occur despite the fact that it has been worked on. And why a badly needed livery is still missing.

This I can understand being tricky to comprehend.
But a crash isn’t just a crash. It can be for very different reasons.

For example in the hotfix we’re currently working on, there’s fixes for let’s say 7 different crashes.
If you’ve experienced any of them, they might just be the same from your point of view. But there are 7 different reasons for them…

I think I covered that a bit further up. It can be slightly targeted and those questions are usually answered by someone from within the team when it’s brought up. As i used as an example, Tyler answered one of those yesterday or if it was the day before that when someone made a query regarding a livery :)

It seems there’s a topic like this at least once a year… I can’t name another app/game that is as transparent as infinite flight in regards to releases, updates etc. I’m not sure if you’ve experienced other games (for example console/pc games, other mobile games etc) but the level of communication between infinite flight staff and us users is a lot more than what is afforded elsewhere

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We’re happy to hear you feel this way.

I personally agree. But obviously some don’t :)

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I’m starting to no longer know how to simply tell you that there are no errors, whether software, hardware or human-made. It has nothing to do with the type of error! I certainly haven’t denounced the response time or anything like that in any way.

I’m not concerned with the MISTAKES at all!

I’M ABOUT THE TYPE OF COMMUNICATION!

I’m starting to no longer know how to simply tell you that there are no errors, whether software, hardware or human-made. It has nothing to do with the type of error!

I’m not concerned with the MISTAKES at all!

I’M ABOUT THE TYPE OF COMMUNICATION!

The user is explaning a Problem and the following words are the First response!

I’ll start by addressing the elephant in the post here.

Yes & no.
For starters, I would dare to say all software have flaws, bugs, glitches… call it what you want.

Here it starts first with a justification!

This is exactly what you definitely don’t want to read first when you get an answer to your query.

Is it really that difficult to be on eye level with the customer in the first few words?

“We are sorry that you encountered this error, but perhaps we can solve the problem with a little help.”

Or something comparable.
For me, communication is about the feeling the customer has after the answer. In most cases the customer looks like a complete idiot, of course in most cases it was his fault, but you don’t have to tell the customer that in this way.

With a small change in the choice of words, the world looks different again.

I hope my Point is now clear!

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I mean there’s not really anything to agree with, it’s objectively the truth. I think through open communication we come to expect too much at times - and yes, as paying customers you expect a certain level of support, but I invite those who are unhappy to try and achieve the same level of transparency with any other app/game; it’s just not going to happen.

@Robert_NG001, your concerns are less to do with transparency and more to do with the quality of interaction - I agree with you that at times it can be lacking, but overall it’s really not that bad. Especially compared with elsewhere. I’d rather a straight-to-the-point answer than a generic live chat response. Surely you see this?

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I’m unsure if this is perhaps a cultural barrier, but I don’t believe Sebastian’s response was making it seem like the user’s fault or intending to make the user feel like they are stupid. We would apologise to the user if they felt this way.

It appeared that the tone of that conversation was respectful and the user had a thoughtful conversation with Sebastian about this. Thank you for your feedback on this though.

(for full reference, the conversation is here: Sound cuts off in flight - #2 by schyllberg)

I agree - I will always be the one asking to treat people with respect. In this case though, unless @Black_Bird thinks otherwise (if so please let me know), I feel like the problem was addressed courteously and we are looking into a solution.

As a side note, we’re human too… there is no need for this sort of tone when we’re having a civil conversation. Thank you.

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