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Games as letters

Using interactivity to challenge the assumption of writing letters to companies.

It takes no effort to write an email, hit send, then wait.  With so many systems designed for customer feedback and interaction it seems such a waste. Why do we try and impress our experiences in a non-interactive medium?  I'm not talking chatting with friends via email or im.  But those big letters we write, sometimes to praise a product or developer.  But usually to complain.

So with complaints in mind what can we do.  A strongly worded email generally works, but companies are more resistant to helping customers than before. The stubborn see no point responding to private emails. A focus on social media and keeping customers happy publicly seems to be the biggest area for "customer service".

When even these fail what can we do to highlight our problems and concerns?

We can make our problems interactive.  Instead of writing out the problems in an open letter we can turn them into small slices of our pain for others to experience.  We can use basic tools to craft with, make what happened happen again for others, and make them see first hand (with added humour) what has happened.

The problem is that this can take anything from a couple of hours to a few days.  It's not just sending a message but more a short story complaint with all the associated headaches of QA that comes with.

In my case I'd had public and private responses from a company but they all led to precisely nothing.  They would go weeks without replying, which is when I started on my first "Interactive Letter".  It was a bit rough, took longer than I intended (when doesn't it) and probably wouldn't have the desired effect.  But it was cathartic.

The lack of response being a central element, it wasn't sourced just from my problems but other peoples too.  Twine made it simple to put together, and I spent longer figuring out randomising links than writing the passages.  Even at a a couple of dozen separate pages the total time spent on this one project ran to a day.  But it was worth it. I called it Refund Quest, as it felt like an adventure.

Within 12 hours it had been viewed over 500 times, and climbed steadily from there.  The company was sent a link, and I placed one on their forum and twitter too.  Not only is it a public complaint, it has given hundreds of people an understanding of the lack of support.


As for a response... maybe they are still playing to try and figure out the support route needed to sort the issue out.

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