Linden Lab, the company that runs Second Life, is once again feeling a cold glass of water chucked in its face, over something easily prevented. Riding a high note off of SLCC 2011 and Mesh launch, Prim Perfect just reported the closing of two sims from a major content creator. Grendel’s makes fantastic content for the Second Life Grid that won’t break your wallet, but more importantly for Linden Lab, they are customers who pay $14,000 US annually (4 sims) (Side note: Second Life sticks 8 sims on a server that they themselves probably rent for $250/month US or less).
So why is Grendel’s shutting down two of their sims? No, it is not financial reasons, but the fact that they couldn’t get a call back from the Lab. Yes you heard that right, a $14,000 yearly customer could not reach them so they got fed up and decided to contract some of their monetary contribution to Linden Lab.
I mean, I hate to see anyone lose their job, but who on earth is responsible for all of this? There is a problem at the Lab, and this has gone on probably as long as Second Life has had a large user base. They can never seem to get it right, their interactions with the customers, and their priority on customer service. Rod Humble has been a bright spot. He seems to get that people are not going to shell out $295 US a month for virtual land for some God given right forever. He knows Linden Lab customer service needs work and it has gotten better, but stories like this and others, it seems like Rodvik is the only guy in the customer service department.
I think I read it in one of those employer review websites where fired or ex Lindens go to bitch about the company anonymously and sometimes you get a little glimpse of what office life is really like at the Lab. He/She said there is a major disconnect between what is really considered the core of the company, and the customer service department. They are kind of like the rejects at table 9, not the cool guys who get to make policy or look under the hood of this virtual world. We as virtual world evangelists often get immersed in the world and forget that the people who control it and are responsible for it are stuck in some real office somewhere “dealing” with each other.
Really though, I am just speculating I have no idea what is going on behind doors at the Lab, and I sure as hell am not going to offer my opinion on how to fix their internal atmosphere that they still cannot get straight. If they want me to come in and turn the ship around, for a price, I’ll listen but I digress.
The bottom line is this, a product that costs $3540 PER year (plus membership fee) is a substantial investment, let alone $14K. You know what most normal companies do when someone spends that kind of money? They assign a specific person who is your sales representative, or support representative that you can speak to on a personal level as your liaison. They don’t tell you to file a report and we’ll get back to you and lose the paper in the shuffle, and they don’t forward you to a call center in India with some teenage kid making 4 bucks an hour. They have one person who will practically wipe your ass if you need it, and why? Because when you take your $14K and walk they know who to blame!
Get your heads out of your ass Linden Lab, for pete sakes. In the words of Adam Sandler, “YOU BLEW IT!!!!!!!!!!!!”