When it comes to business, customer service is a key to success, no matter what you’re doing in the business. Customer loyalty develops as customers feel more connected with the company, and customer support adds value to the goods and services that the customers get. Basically, a good customer support service will: satisfy the customers, make them happier, loyal to your business, create a good public image and, ultimately, increase sales. But, sometimes, a good customer service can make much more than that. That’s what happened in a mobile game, High School Story, created by Pixelberry Studios – the team behind the customer service prevented a girl from suicide.
High School Story is a mobile game where the player is in the role of a high-school student, going through a normal-day life of a teenager. That includes attending school, throwing parties, hanging out with friends, and several other aspects of a teenage life. So, that’s not a surprise that several teenagers play this game, sometimes to escape their normal life and have a more pleasant life experience (even if it’s virtual). That’s what seems to have happened.
According to Oliver Miao, one of the Pixelberry Studios founders, High School Story has a sort of in-game chat, which is intended for players to ask their questions about the game or explain the problems they face while playing (e.g. bugs). However, one day, a girl said she was thinking about killing herself. (Working on customer support, I can only imagine what I would do next if I were in that situation.)
The team at Pixelberry Studios, recognising they didn’t know the appropriate way to help her, contacted a suicide prevention service to ask for advice on how to deal with the situation and were advised to lead her to a specialist on the matter. However, the team didn’t want the girl to feel like they were simply trying to get rid of her – which could make things much worse -, so they kept in contact with her for a week. During that week, the team behind the game always tried to convince the girl to find a specialist, but they were always available to listen and help her. After a week in dialogue with the team, she finally decided to get the help from a specialist.
Coincidence or not, the truth is that at the same time there was an ongoing mission where the players were supposed to help a girl named “Hope” which was a victim of cyber-bullying.
To me, what’s really important in this story is the way that the team dealt with the situation. They could have simply told her to contact a specialist and forget about the matter – since it wasn’t their responsibility to deal with it. However, they had the behaviour that a human being should have (when working in customer support, sometimes we forget that we’re humans talking to other humans) and helped the girl, saving her life. If the team had simply told her to contact a specialist and then forget about her, chances are she would feel rejected and probably the situation wouldn’t have the happy ending it had.
After this situation, Pixelberry Studios and Cybersmile established a partnership and, ever since the mission to help Hope was launched, there were around 100 players looking for bullying-related help every week.
I’d like to congratulate the folks at Pixelberry Studios for dealing with this situation the best way possible and helping this girl. A good customer support service like the one provided by Pixelberry Studios can really be a boost for their business (and I’m sure it was), but, more important than that, a good customer support service can truly help people, and that’s what customer support is all about – maybe we should change the name from “customer support” (way too impersonal) to “people support“, so no one forgets that behind a computer screen there’s always a human being asking for help.