About this Episode

Veronica Rose’s career in customer support, spanning from Bose to WB Games and Vecna Robotics, is a journey of passion and adaptability. At Bose, she began as a tech support agent, where she found joy in connecting with customers during challenging times, like in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This experience ignited her love for customer service, teaching her the impact of empathetic support.

Her transition to management at Turbine, a gaming company, marked a significant shift. With limited guidance and a small team, Veronica learned to navigate from direct customer interactions to leading and motivating her team. This was a lesson in growth and adaptability, showcasing the evolving nature of customer support roles.

At WB Games, Veronica observed the shift from phone to email support, adapting to the preferences of mobile gamers. This change highlights the importance of understanding and evolving with customer needs.

Moving to Vecna Robotics, Veronica applied her customer support expertise to a new field, illustrating the versatility and transferability of her skills. Her story reflects the dynamic nature of customer support, emphasizing empathy, adaptability, and a steadfast commitment to the customer experience.

AI Transcript

Greg Posner: 00:00: 00:24: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Player Engaged Podcast. Greg here. Today, we’re joined by Veronica Rose. Veronica has a rich background in customer support, working at companies such as Bose, WB Games, and Vecna Robotics. I’m excited to kind of hear about the growth, how that works, how you just look at customer support. Before I go any further, Veronica, thank you very much for joining us today. You want to do a little introduction of yourself?
Veronica Rose: 00:24: 00:38: Sure. Hi, I’m Veronica Rose. I have been all of those things. My focus though is just customer support and the growth path of everyone in that career path.

Greg Posner: 00:38: 00:41: I don’t know. Customer support. And there’s a lot going on.

Veronica Rose: 00:41: 00:43: Sorry. I can do that again.

Greg Posner: 00:43: 00:47: Don’t be sorry. This is the whole conversation thing. It’s camera rights here.

Veronica Rose: 00:47: 00:51: It’s going to take forever, Greg. I’m sorry.

Greg Posner: 00:51: 01:29: No, it’s not. And then we can just have the conversation. So it’s an interesting concept because I started my career in customer support, and it was a nightmare to me. I was on the phones getting, and we also kind of, with Bose, I’m interested in what you’re interested on kind of what the career was like at Bose. But from my career path, we were in the financial sector. And when services went down with someone trying to trade stocks in the stock market, it was a nightmare. They’d call and yell at you and be not nice, and it was sad for me. But for Bose, which is an awesome company, you can make headphones, you make all audio devices. Well, what’s customer support like at Bose?

Veronica Rose: 01:29: 02:49: Um, well, I can tell you what it was like, because I believe that since I left there in the interim years, they have outsourced all of their support. Um, which is unsurprising as they’re in the Massachusetts area, that’s where their support was. So it’s pretty expensive here. It was, it was an interesting, it was an interesting job. I started working there as. a customer support agent slash tech support agent because I worked overnights during the holidays. And it was, oh my goodness, it was them having their commercials on TV at like 3 a.m. and people would call and just be like, hey, tell me about this, this Bosie system, or like, I would like to learn more about your digital radios. So I, I learned a lot because I was not really that big of a, like a speaker head or, you know, people who were, who are big into those, but I met some really great people working there and being third shift. Like there’s like five of you and you get, you get to be really close and you learn how great customer support can be in that, in that small environment.

Greg Posner: 02:50: 02:57: At that point, was it purely phone support, email support, something else as well, or is it really those?

Veronica Rose: 02:57: 03:03: Thank you for thinking I’m that old.

Greg Posner: 03:03: 03:08: Rotary dial, you know, smoke signals.

Veronica Rose: 03:08: 04:21: We had to do everything in sign language because there were no talkies back then. No, it was mostly phone support, though, because they would run the ads. It was actually, it was 2007. So it was right around the time that Hurricane Katrina had happened in the South and all of these ads were running in the South. And like, as a human, I felt really bad because I’m like, these people have like literally lost everything. And here I am trying to sell them $1,000 stereo. And I, you know, it’s that it’s personal choice. I’m sure there are people who have money for $1,000 stereos, but it did feel really like not great sometimes where they were like, I think maybe if I put it on a credit card, I could do this. And I, you know, that that’s the part that, that I did not love. The part that I did love was, you know, when an older person would call and they would, they would be so excited that they had this, like, they had the money finally for this, like this elite brand of radio and they were going to show it to their kids at Christmas, that kind of thing.

Greg Posner: 04:21: 04:34: It’s the funniest thing. I remember growing up, everyone had the Bose, was it like the wave something or whatever it was like the radio. That was like the hottest item. And it just feels so antique now even thinking about it.

Veronica Rose: 04:34: 05:23: Like, yeah, yeah. I see them every once in a while. And like, you know, if you go to like a, like a small shop where like the, it’s just like a little independently owned thing. There’s usually one in the, on the back wall that they’re listening to. Cause they, they do, they are excellent sound. And I think at the end of the holiday season, I got the acoustic wave, which is the taller wave radio. The, I don’t know, I don’t even know how much they are. Cause I was never in the market for one, but, and then we also got the, um, the quiet comfort headphones. The ones that are noise canceling. Those are amazing. They don’t make the on-ear ones that I had, have, because I still own them. Excellent if you want really good headphones.

Greg Posner: 05:23: 05:26: See, you still got the little salesman.

Veronica Rose: 05:26: 05:30: Just call this number. We’ll get you set up.

Greg Posner: 05:30: 05:34: So from there, you love customer support. You find Turbine.

Veronica Rose: 05:34: 06:49: Yeah. So I started looking because my kids at the time were around three and five. And I, yeah, I was, I was done living the overnight life while having kids who were starting to get into school because, um, it’s hard to get home at 7.00 AM, put them on the bus, sleep for a little bit, wake up. And, you know, so I started looking for something different. And my husband was at a poker game with his buddies. And one of those guys happened to work for turbine. And he said, Hey, you know, we’re hiring for customer support. You know, Veronica could do that. And I was like, I like, uh, I like Asheron’s call, one of my favorite video games. And, uh, I applied and I, it was like, it was like that to get the job. Like it was not hard at all. I was like, I don’t know what people complain about. Little did I know that it is actually very hard sometimes to get hired into video games. So yeah, that was. I mean, that was how I came to go to Turbine was that I wanted a customer support position and I liked their product. Yeah.

Greg Posner: 06:49: 07:02: And then at Turbine, you held a number of different roles, right? So you started off at customer support. I think it all probably falls under the customer support branch, right? Is this when you were first exposed to like the different parts of customer support as well?

Veronica Rose: 07:02: 08:09: Yeah. it was it was mostly so when I started it was in-game support so I was the person who if you were playing Lord of the Rings online and you accidentally deleted your pony that you were submitting a ticket in-game and and I would I would tell you like hey sorry well when I started hey sorry I can’t give you back your pony because you’ve already gotten one item reimbursed to you because at that time and I don’t It’s not the rule anymore. So I guess I can say it that you were allowed one item to be reimbursed over the lifetime of your account. So as long as you were a player, you can only have one, which personally I was like, this is ridiculous. Like one thing. Yes. I get that. Like when you delete your pony, you have to like drag it into the middle of the screen, let it go. accept the delete thing and then go, Oh no, I deleted my pony. But, but it happened apparently a lot.

Greg Posner: 08:09: 08:12: Never underestimate people.

Veronica Rose: 08:12: 08:44: So, so that was my first job was game master. And we all had our, we all had names that It was like pseudonyms, I guess. So I created the pseudonym. You can know it now, but you couldn’t when I worked there. I was plus dust. Because I wanted people to think I was insignificant. I don’t want you to hate me. Look, I’m just dust. Insignificant. Also, people were wondering if I was male or female forever. There were arguments on Brandywine of whether or not I was male or female.

Greg Posner: 08:44: 08:45: Gotta love gamers.

Veronica Rose: 08:46: 09:54: I know. Yes. I always tell them that there’s no such thing as girls on the internet. And then of course they would go like, I told you this dude and the other people would be like, no, she’s a woman. But yeah, so that was the first job. And then senior game master. So where I started teaching the new, the new game masters, the ropes. And then from there I became, uh, I think I went to fraud support where, um, If you said, hey, I didn’t mean to make this purchase, we could go look and see if you used all the stuff. We could do, if you did chargebacks to your account but you still wanted to play, it would come to us and we would work through that with you. And then from there I became a manager of in-game support. And then a senior manager where I was the head of all of the things. social media and in-game support and account support and tech support.

Greg Posner: 09:54: 09:55: Doodle.

Veronica Rose: 09:55: 09:58: Yeah. Yeah. Whatever. I can, I can do it.

Greg Posner: 09:58: 10:24: So it must be this kind of shell shock for lack of better words. You know, I, I remember again being a customer support agent and at the end of the day, I’d look at the board and say, all right, I closed 30 tickets today, 50 tickets today. I feel good. And then you become a manager and it’s not, the same type of number counting. It’s not always, it’s not always easy to feel like you’ve got things accomplished that day. How did you like that transition? Did it take you time to grow into it?

Veronica Rose: 10:24: 12:08: Yeah, it took, it took me a long time because the, the support organization for WB was not huge. I mean, you think of, you think of WB as this like huge company they do movies and VHS and, and, and, and. But each of them, each of the parts of it are pretty well separated. And so there were maybe 20 people at the most ever within the support team. And so there weren’t a lot of mentors. I mean, I had my boss, but we were sort of growing up in tandem. And so the stuff that we learned was the stuff that we learned together. So when I had, when I had people become supervisors and managers under me, it was one of the first conversations that I had with them is that like, one, the people who are your peers now are now working for you. And you, you don’t keep the same relationship. You want to, because you want to still be the same. But it is very much for the first maybe six months you go, what do I even do here? Because I don’t have that, like, I don’t have the number at the end of the day to prove that I’ve done a good job. So you don’t have that ticket count or the, you know, that feel good, like, oh, I talked to a customer and it was awesome interaction. Usually if you have to talk to a customer at that point, it’s because it’s not an awesome interaction.

Greg Posner: 12:09: 12:21: So just to kind of fill in the blank, right? Turbine was, was it acquired by WB Games or it became just WB Boston? No, you’re good. I’m just, for people listening, just to kind of clear it up and how it went down.

Veronica Rose: 12:21: 13:35: It was acquired by WB Games, I believe it was 2012. And it was, it was around the time that WB had just come into gaming as, as had started buying up a bunch of studios. And so the, the, The only studio that really had like a really fleshed out support staff was what is now WB Games Boston. So that was Turbine. And they kept the Turbine name for a few years after WB bought them. And so a lot of the other studios, so like NetherRealm Studio that does Mortal Kombat would use Boston as their support team. So we would work with them when they came out with a new game, or there was a bug, or people needed to be delivered a new Raiden costume, or things like that. Montreal, Avalanche, Rocksteady, Playdemic, when it was part of it, we worked with Playdemic a little bit. They were more separated, but all of these things together would use our support in some ways.

Greg Posner: 13:36: 14:11: Very cool. So now you’re getting visibility across kind of the gaming world, right? It’s been a number of years you’re in there and, you know, you start managing these teams and building teams, right? When do you start formulating these strategies on what works and what doesn’t work in customer support? Because there’s also this kind of interesting transition over the time where things become more digital, right? Of course they were always digital, but there’s less phones, there’s more emails, chat starts kicking in, like different types of things, and then all these strategies that exist today probably started being thought about back then, like VIP type of stuff and things like that. So when do you kind of start thinking about all this stuff?

Veronica Rose: 14:11: 16:19: Yeah, so I think it was. Oh my goodness, I want to say it was right around the time that. Maybe. So when we sold off the MMOs, so we sold them to Daybreak, so we sold MMOs because there was, we were shifting from this sort of old style of gaming to mobile gaming. And that was when Game of Thrones Conquest was going to launch. And so we had, with the MMOs, Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online, we had phone support. So if you had an account question, you could call us. And then in-game support, you could email only or not email, it was in-game, in-game chat. So we had, we had different ways that you could contact us. And when we shifted to this sort of mobile game strategy, we kept the phones open because we were like, well, it’s a phone. So like, they’ll want to call us. Right. If they have a problem with their game. And I think we left the phone open for like three months and we got a voicemail like one, that was it. And that was how I learned that people like to play on their phones and not talk on their phones. So yeah, it was, that was a, it was a huge leap for us as just this tiny sort of support staff, because most of the games that we have are our email support. They have, it’s still a part of me. And so it’s mostly email support. There’s not even a, at least at the time that I exited, there was no sort of strategy for like, let’s move on to just like SMS or let’s move on to something like larger, a different kind of strategy because email support seems to work well for WBE.

Greg Posner: 16:20: 17:22: What Veronica may or may not remember is that in 2020, I was on an email thread with her as a sales engineer for Helpshift, trying to sell WB Helpshift, but they were very, very content with their Zendesk strategy, which is fair, I understand, but you’ve got to get with the times. Sorry, Greg. I can tell, sabotage. No, but you know, it’s fascinating, right? Because I mean, it’s funny, we’re almost going full circle. We have a number of customers that are reopening their phone lines because they’re looking at things like VIP support. How do you provide that better experience for your new gamers? And everything in my life I’m looking at right now, it seems like we’re going full circle. Like, hey, we did that. Oh, nope. We’re going back to what it was like. And it seems like it’s more personalized. Yes, I’d rather do chat. I think chat is easier. I don’t want to talk on the phone, but if I’m a very important player to someone and they open their phone lines for me, I’m going to feel special. I want to work with that company. And I think it’s interesting how these older, not older, right? Because it’s only a few years ago, but like how we’re coming back to technology that has existed a few years ago.

Veronica Rose: 17:22: 19:36: Yeah. Well, what everything old is new again. So I said that that’s exactly what’s happening with like clothes and stuff. It’s really sad. But that cycle also seems to be speeding up the of of like, what what’s trendy and things like that. So as far as the phone support thing, I I would love to see more of the VIP type things. They’re hard to They’re hard to build. So when Game of Thrones Conquest first launched, it was unclear how successful it was going to be. So it sort of grassroots became this huge success. And then marketing went like, oh, we can build on that. And so from the support point of view, we were caught off guard with people spending what we thought were exorbitant amounts in video games. This is ridiculous. When they yell at us and say that we pay your salary, they legit do. So that was where we were like, okay, well, we have to do something. And so we started looking at ways to create a VIP program for the Game of Thrones customers. And, and we had a couple of little forays into it of like, well, maybe we, maybe we cue them differently or, or maybe we gift them differently. But then there was issues with like, okay, well, if they’re international, I, I can’t just send them X. I can’t send them a gift because there’s laws and rules, and this is going to take forever to get here, but this is going to get here tomorrow, and then they’re going to think that they didn’t get one because theirs is going to take forever and that. Yeah, so it’s a huge undertaking. Kudos to anybody who’s made it work.

Greg Posner: 19:38: 20:08: Yeah, it’s fascinating. I’ve seen some of these companies, how they scale, how they build out these systems. It is a giant customer journey, customer map of understanding who goes where. And the beauty of this is all of this can be manipulated fairly quickly. So if you want to do A-B testing, right, you can see what’s working and what’s not working. So you built out your strategy at WB, you kind of expanded it. And then you met our friend, Peter. works at Keywords, Peter Gerson.

Veronica Rose: 20:08: 20:14: Who I told he should do this podcast, and he’s like, I’m too busy. You’re not too busy, Peter.

Greg Posner: 20:14: 20:19: He’s going to be on here next week. I don’t know when it’s actually going to launch compared to this one, but we were going to be talking to him.

Veronica Rose: 20:19: 20:20: He’s really going to do it?

Greg Posner: 20:20: 20:22: Yeah.

Veronica Rose: 20:22: 20:27: I’m so excited. I’m going to skip this episode and go to the one with Peter.

Greg Posner: 20:27: 20:51: Peter is kind of a generalist in the industry who knows a little bit about everything enough to be dangerous about everything, right? And you met him, I guess, at this point, you’re at WP, and you’re looking to outsource some of those work. First of all, I mean, if we can go into it, or you remember, right, because it may just be a no detail to use, like, how do you realize at this point, it’s time to start thinking about bringing on additional help from external sources.

Veronica Rose: 20:51: 23:21: So, so part of it was, so we did have support, we did have some outsource support. But we were using them I don’t think we were using them appropriately. We were using outsourced support as a supplement to what we were doing in-house. So it became a, oh, if we had extra tickets because this item was broken, we can have these people do that quick reply to them because they needed to be personalized in some way instead of just a bulk reply. At the point where Game of Thrones started to take off, at that point, I think we were getting something like 10,000 tickets a month. It started getting insane. And it was, it was, these were tickets that required investigation, not just like, hey, this is a cool game, or hey, can I have free stuff? That kind of like, you know, basic like, oh, we can turn these out. Because the game was new, it still had bugs and things, so we had to look at every ticket. At the same time, the players who are big into these Forex strategy games, a lot of the most vocal players, I’m not putting everybody in here, would be very upset that their help request was answered with a template or someone who did not seem to be English as a first language. So that was when I started looking for, hey, can we get inexpensive support that is Americanized or that looks, their sentence structure looks like it’s American. not to dupe people, but to take out one step of how do I train these people to get them to respond as though they were sitting in my studio. So that was where I met Peter, because I had gone through a bunch of different, looked at a bunch of different BPO options or outsource options, and 5CA, sorry, I don’t, is that, am I allowed to say 5?

Greg Posner: 23:21: 23:22: We’ll bleep it, no, yeah.

Veronica Rose: 23:24: 24:04: Beep that part out. That’s where he was at the time. And they were where I landed because they had onshore offerings. And at the very beginning, I was like, onshore or die. You cannot have anything but onshore for this. And once I started working with him, I very quickly was like, oh, OK. Manila is absolutely an option as someone who is sort of that American style, like they understand the culture of the U.S.

Greg Posner: 24:05: 24:42: I think that’s an awesome point to bring up because I think most of the time people think outsource support and they think probably the cheapest version of it that’s not great. They’re getting poor English, broken English, right? And that’s not the case anymore. This isn’t a plug for any BPO, but it is a plug because I work here. Right. The language barrier is really not that much of a thing anymore across the world because people have tools that can either help them or people know multiple languages, right? It’s not the same thing anymore as back in the day when you have people trying to kind of skirt by, skate by with like choppy English.

Veronica Rose: 24:42: 24:47: And like books that tell you what the answers are. Exactly. Yeah.

Greg Posner: 24:47: 25:07: The playbook. I’m going to take a quick timeout. This is a little thing we do in the episode where we like a rapid fire questions. I’m going to throw five random questions at you and don’t put a lot into them, just answering. They’re super simple questions, hopefully. And we’ll go. So ready? Sure. All right. If you’re going to go to a bar, what’s the drink you’re ordering?

Veronica Rose: 25:09: 25:17: Well, they call them different things. It’s like a whiskey mule or an Irish mule, a Moscow mule, basically. But instead of vodka, I want whiskey in it.

Greg Posner: 25:17: 25:20: Love it. Great choice. What did you have for breakfast today?

Veronica Rose: 25:20: 25:25: I had oatmeal, plain steel cut oatmeal with an apple.

Greg Posner: 25:25: 25:36: I hear oatmeal a lot from people in gaming. It’s on my mind like fast food. What is your dream vacation?

Veronica Rose: 25:36: 25:44: My dream vacation is just I well, I did it when I turned 40. I went to London for like two weeks. That’s my vacation.

Greg Posner: 25:44: 25:49: There you go. What is your what’s the last book you read?

Veronica Rose: 25:49: 25:54: The last book I read was The Nine Princes of Amber by Roger Zelazny.

Greg Posner: 25:54: 25:58: The last question is, what would be your last meal?

Veronica Rose: 25:58: 25:59: Oh, my goodness.

Greg Posner: 25:59: 26:01: I’m a big food person.

Veronica Rose: 26:01: 26:03: Steel cut oatmeal with apples.

Greg Posner: 26:05: 26:07: You gotta be worried every time you eat breakfast now.

Veronica Rose: 26:07: 26:16: I would also ask for like six or seven lobsters on the side so that they had to make those for me, but I would not eat them.

Greg Posner: 26:16: 26:55: Okay, you’re in Massachusetts, so you got good lobsters. Send some down to Jersey. We need some lobster help here. Cool, so back to our regularly scheduled program here. So you’ve learned to outsource, you’ve kind of understood in the beginning that maybe your original strategy there wasn’t the best strategy, right? But it works, right? And you go on from there. Maybe we’ll skip some time ahead right now. Then you in 2022, you start at Vecna, which is not a gaming company. It is a robotics company. And that’s a wild change. Can you kind of give a like a elevator pitch? What is Vecna? So people who are listening understand what they do.

Veronica Rose: 26:55: 27:35: Okay, so Vecna Robotics is a warehouse robotics company. So they have automated forklifts that will pick up an object in one spot, and then move through a warehouse, whether it’s five miles or around a maze like Pac-Man, and then drop that thing off in another spot. So it automates a job that would be super tedious or something that would be expensive for the location to fill in, and then just makes it less expensive.

Greg Posner: 27:36: 27:58: That sounds awesome. I think that all the Amazon promo videos you’ve probably seen with little robots running around doing the same thing is how does that role? How do you find that role? And is there something about robotics in Massachusetts? Because isn’t the what’s the other robotics company I’m thinking of that has been dynamics? Yeah, right. They’re also based out of Massachusetts. Is that right?

Veronica Rose: 27:58: 28:26: Yes. Yeah, that’s where they are. Have you seen that video? Like they’re really big into their marketing, which is really great. I’ve seen spot. I went to the Indy 500 last year and they had some spot dogs, some robotics dogs there that are like bomb dogs basically that they’ll go up. They’re not really crazy. They look that they’re on four legs. You know, you can Yeah, it’s awesome.

Greg Posner: 28:26: 28:30: I love their videos. But yeah, sorry. Yeah. All right. How do you find it?

Veronica Rose: 28:30: 28:38: And it got really popular after the Stranger Things episode about Vecna. Not the same Vecna.

Greg Posner: 28:38: 28:40: Wrong Google search.

Veronica Rose: 28:40: 32:30: Yeah. So, but the way, the way that it happened was I, I was looking for, I was looking for something different. I, you know, I wanted to, I wanted to change up what I’d been doing. I’ve been doing games for so long and I found this role, um, to lead a support team at Vecna. And one of the things, one of the, one of the, not, not requirements, but it was like good to, nice to have was video game experience. And I thought, well, I have to, I have to see what this is. And I quickly learned why video game experience was going to be like key to any success for the support team at Vecna. Yeah. So, so the support staff for, cause you’re like, how do you support robots? Of course you have. So there were different levels of customers. So I would call one paying customer. So this is your, like, Give me a company like target will say target You have your VP people who are gonna be like we want to automate warehouse infrastructure. How do we do that? Oh, let’s get a robotics company and they they would be the paying customer. So they’re like, please put your robots in our warehouse and then Then there’s the user customer. So those are the guys who are in the warehouse, who are actually physically going to be with the robot and on the team with the robot. So the support staff would talk to the user customer. So they would call or email. Sometimes they would text for like, can you help this robot? This robot is not working. Can you tell me why it’s not working? the team then assists with, have you tried turning it off and on again? Because ultimately it’s a forklift with the brain attached to it. And for, you know, any, any number of things that they would call to ask about, how do I get it to turn on? How do I get it to do this? Why is it sitting over here? Because the light stack would have codes on it. So it’s, it’s software. Ultimately, everything that we’re talking about is software, video games, robotics, software. And then the more interesting part of what my team worked with is something that looked a lot like a really 80s video game of a layout of a warehouse. And you can go to Vecna’s website. I think you can see this on the website. If a robot is stuck in a particular location, say that a box has dropped off of a warehouse scaffolding or something, and it gets in the way of the robot, the robot will attempt to go around it. But if there’s not enough space, because it has little sensors around it, if there’s not enough space, the robot will then submit its own ticket, basically, and say, Hey, I need help. I can’t get around this box. And then one of my team members will go like, I’m going to help this robot get around this box. And you look through the camera and go like, OK, we can make it as a human. I can see we can make it. And then you sort of ender’s game, move the robot around the obstacle and then say, OK, you’re clear. And the little robot goes on its way.

Greg Posner: 32:30: 32:31: Fascinating.

Veronica Rose: 32:31: 32:36: Crazy. 100 times a day.

Greg Posner: 32:36: 32:45: So your team was responsible, I guess, was that the primary use case to take control the robot drive around?

Veronica Rose: 32:45: 33:17: Yeah, help the robots when they got stuck, because part of where the robots are autonomous, but they’re, but they’re not they don’t think for themselves. So this is where everybody’s like, the robots are going to take over. I promise you, they’re not. Just put a little piece of plastic on the floor or like a small bit of two by four in the way and you’re scot-free. You can go, that robot will be there. Wondering how it’s going to get around.

Greg Posner: 33:18: 33:28: So, you know, this is where Peter is going to reenter the story at some point. But I’m curious, at what point do you realize, hey, we need help here?

Veronica Rose: 33:28: 37:33: Yeah, because so my team was nine people at the time that Peter comes into the into the story. And with each new customer, there is at least six new robots. that come online. And part of the service is 24-7 pivotal command center, that was the name of my service team, 24-7 support. And once you get eyeballs looking at X amount of robots, you are like, because The robot will sit and idle for a second and be like, I’m not sure if I can get around this. Let me think about it for a minute. However, the team’s so good, they can see the robot stop. They can see the outline that the LiDAR is creating, like, oh, I can see that there’s an object in the way. So they are sometimes faster than the robot at sending that information back to us. Humans, again, you know. And so at some point I was like, okay, we need, we need more people because it’s going to become untenable for anybody to look at a hundred robots all over different warehouses. And so I start thinking of how do I outsource this job? Because again, we’re in Boston, we’re in Waltham, it might as well be Boston and it’s expensive for support. I’m also looking at because it’s 24 seven, I’m looking at, okay, well, where, where can I have people who would be working that overnight shift overnight to Boston, but maybe where they live, it’s not overnight. So sort of a follow the sun type model. And then I start thinking, well, who is going to be able to do this job? Because it is. It’s so weird. How do I even explain it to someone who’s never read Ender’s Game? So I, my immediate thought was standard call center. Like think about standard call center. And then I was like, no, like they, they, yes, they will have the customer support skills. So when someone calls and says, Hey, can I, can I do this or can you fix this? They would be like, yep, we can, we can turn it off and on again for you. But I was like, there’s no way that, that I can train them how to basically play a video game that might end up in you, like running into a bunch of boxes or something like that. And then I, then I thought, okay, well, if we do tech support outsourced, like a it solution almost. And then I was like, no, that’s more expensive than just having in house customer support. Like once you get to scale, like if I’m, if I’m hiring eventually 18 people or something like that, that’s, it’s going to be really expensive. I finally was like, well, it is like a video game. And so I called Peter and I was like, Hey dude, I got this, I got this idea. Call me crazy. And, And I said, also, like, I only need like three people to start because I need to know if it works first. And like nobody, none of these companies would have ever entertained like three people for a solution for someone. Like they don’t even want to do the paperwork. But Peter was like, well, that’s interesting. Sure. Let’s try it. Which I love about Peter because he’s just like, why not?

Greg Posner: 37:33: 37:34: Yeah, try it.

Veronica Rose: 37:34: 37:58: I could throw some people at that just to see if it see if it sticks. And it like from the word go, it was fantastic because. Vecna, as a startup, had very little in the way of training that was not just verbal pass from one human to another.

Greg Posner: 37:58: 38:01: It’s the best form, huh?

Veronica Rose: 38:01: 38:02: Yeah.

Greg Posner: 38:02: 38:02: Yeah.

Veronica Rose: 38:05: 38:36: And, and so it was, it was very much like a fly by the seat of my pants undertaking at the very beginning. And like, it’s going to sound like the shill now. Keywords is like, they’ve always been amazing to me to partner with, to team up with. There was absolutely every human that I’ve ever come in contact with has just been like the best person.

Greg Posner: 38:36: 38:53: I appreciate that. No, it’s a cool company, right? I mean, like, like, like you said to Peter, like, this is a technology problem. We’re a technology company. Let’s figure out a way to make this work. Yeah, it’s not our usual bread and butter. But why not take a look at the new problem and figure out a solution because if it helps you, it might help others as well.

Veronica Rose: 38:53: 39:33: Yeah. And so we started, um, some folks in Manila and in Mexico, because at that time we had just started working with a company whose warehouse workers were in Mexico. And I was like, we don’t have any Spanish speaking. And at some point, somebody is going to call us and they’re not going to speak English because they’re just, they’re just a warehouse worker. They never thought they would have to work with a robot and speak English to get it to work again. So. So it was, it was kind of a good start to build on a like global sort of robot takeover.

Greg Posner: 39:33: 40:15: I think it’s a cool problem and solution, right? It’s something you think of, and you keep saying Ender’s Game, and we talked about this before, like, I love that analogy. It makes perfect sense, right? Like, yeah, it’s a little booth and just maneuver that maneuver the vehicle. And You know, it’s, you say it’s not necessarily easy to trust someone. I didn’t really think about like, if you bump into a box, like you might be really causing some major damage, not just to the unit itself, but to the company that it’s working for. Right. Like, so it’s interesting. And as a, as a leader of, of customer support. Right. Do you have different metrics you monitor for a company like that? Or KPIs that you monitor for a company like that compared to a video game company?

Veronica Rose: 40:17: 41:05: No, no, not really. Because the life of the agent is pretty much the same. There’s the tickets per hour and the quality of your responses and then customer satisfaction. I think the big difference is that with a video game, the player basis can be millions of people and you might hear from somebody one time. Maybe if they’re really big into your game, you’ll hear from them a few times. There was a lady when I was at WB who she loved Lord of the Rings Online and she would sometimes send us beef jerky, homemade beef jerky in the mail.

Greg Posner: 41:05: 41:07: Awesome.

Veronica Rose: 41:07: 41:17: She was this sweet old lady. So it’s very rare to have someone who is a repeat, I almost said repeat offender.

Greg Posner: 41:18: 41:20: Yeah, yeah. Repeat submitter.

Veronica Rose: 41:20: 41:52: Repeat customer. Whereas someone who works in a warehouse, they, oh, this is Jack’s shift. He always calls us when there’s an issue and you get to build the rapport with that customer. And that’s, that’s something that’s a little bit different than the world of video games where, you know, you have, you, you know, when that guy’s on shift, oh, he’s going to call and he’s, you know, he’s going to have this problem with the robot because it always gets stuck here. Let’s just see if we can bypass that and move it for him.

Greg Posner: 41:52: 42:16: This is kind of a wide open question. I don’t know if it’s going to be answerable, but you know, from Bose, which is electronics to WB, which is gaming to Vecna, which is electronics. Is there kind of one big takeaway that you’ve learned about customer support that, that is important across the board, I guess, for lack of better words, like what what’s, if you’re going to mentor someone, is there any tips that you would give them as a, as a manager?

Veronica Rose: 42:17: 43:10: Yeah. It actually, it actually, the biggest, the biggest one comes from my son. So when he was, when he was little, he asked me what I did for work. Cause you know, he’s a little kid, he doesn’t know. And I said, I work in video games and I, and I helped the player, you know, be able to play their game. And he’s like, Oh, so you’re like Tron, you fight for the user. And I was like, Yeah, I guess I’m like Tron. So it is literally something that I have thought about since he said it to me, and it is something that I have always done. That’s not to say that the customer is always right or that the customer deserves everything that they want, but I do very much always fight for the user.

Greg Posner: 43:10: 44:05: I love it and I don’t often like to talk about myself but this is how I became into pre-sales is that I was a customer support agent and I’d always hear about the problems and the things that people were sold and the fact that like, yeah, we can’t do that. Like I’m sorry, like I don’t know, like we can’t do that and they’d get all pissed off at you and stuff. When I learned about pre-sales, I was like, I’m going to fight for my customer support team. I want to make sure that my sales rep is being honest. I want to make sure the customer knows that they’re being honest. At the end of the day, if you piss off your customer, you’re going to have someone speaking badly about you online, and that’s not a good thing. I love that reference with Tron, because yeah, you fight for the user, and yeah, you’re going to get into battles with your product team, or you’re going to get into battles with your engineering team, and they’re going to fight back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. It’s important. Even if you’re not going to win, it’s important to fight for your customer, I think. And I think that’s the greatest lesson you can teach anyone that’s in this type of role.

Veronica Rose: 44:05: 44:06: Yeah.

Greg Posner: 44:06: 44:17: Yeah, I love it. In your years of support, is there any story that that keeps you up at night?

Veronica Rose: 44:17: 44:21: That keeps me up at night in a good way or like a bad way?

Greg Posner: 44:21: 44:21: Either way.

Veronica Rose: 44:21: 44:23: Either way.

Greg Posner: 44:23: 44:26: Bad is more exciting, but good would be interesting to hear.

Veronica Rose: 44:26: 47:17: Bad is bad is more exciting. I guess I have one story that that I do think of very often. I think the guy is now like my friend on Facebook or something. When I when I was when I first started. Sort of going out of my way to break rules at Turbine, because I did not like the fact that it was a like you get one item returned for the life of your account, that kind of thing. there was a player who was constantly getting reported for just being a horrible human being. In Lord of the Rings Online, you could appear in front of the players. You did have the ability to be a character in game. Everybody had a character. And this, I don’t know if I could say his name. I don’t think he plays anymore. He might. His name was Chaos Wolf. which is perfect name for him because the kid was chaos incarnate. He was constantly getting reported. And I finally, like one day I saw him online and I went into game and I appeared in front of him and I was like, dude, what’s your problem? Like, why do you, why do you keep saying horrible things to people? And he was like, he was caught off guard that someone like He knew I was an admin because I had a plus in front of my name. I started to form a friendship with this guy. Just like small, every once in a while when I was working, I would see he was on and I would go say hi. Slowly, those reports got less and less and less. Eventually, it was like he would tell me a little bit about his home life and I would you know, be a weird therapist in a video game, I guess. And he started PlusDust Fan Club. He said he always said he was the president of the PlusDust Fan Club. And eventually when I was when I when we got rid of the MMOs, I I found his name and I found him on Facebook and I friended him on Facebook. So that if he ever wanted to talk to me in real life, he could come and talk to me in real life. And we’ve had like a couple chats since then, but like, I think that was the biggest, like that helped, that made me feel better because there was this guy who was on his way to getting banned for life from his favorite video game. And, and he just didn’t know how to stop himself. And so I was there and I could help him.

Greg Posner: 47:18: 48:19: I love it. I don’t know anything about the book Tuesdays with Maury, but it almost seems like, Hey, you know, you’re just going to sit down with this guy every few weeks, you know, get to know him. And you know, we often talk about this a lot while we’re working at help shift. Right. And not everyone’s really doing it yet, but like proactive support, right. Reach out to someone before they come to you. Right. And you were proactively reaching out to this character. Right. And. Got to know them. Right. you talk them off a ledge for lack of better words, right? Like imagine putting hours and hours and hours and hours. And when we say that with video games, like it’s no joke, it’s lots of hours into this video game and your life. And then all of a sudden, like, because you’re in a hole one day, you’re just banned for life. And there’s nothing you can do. I love that you proactively like, let’s get with this guy and start like seeing what’s up and figuring it out. And I think it’s a fantastic message. I mean, it’s an awesome story, I think. And thank you for sharing. And I think it’s an important thing even to today again, right? Like, proactively reach out to people. It’s important to understand what these issues are and try and get in front of them.

Veronica Rose: 48:19: 48:32: Yeah, even even like the smallest check in with somebody makes you human. And then then the respect level increases because you’re that because then you’re not just a

Greg Posner: 48:34: 49:27: Entity that that bans them Yeah, that’s a great way to put it especially online You know a lot of people are anonymous online and they’re gonna be jerks because they could be a jerk online and not have to deal with the consequences, but but there are consequences and Luckily, you’re able to do that. Yeah So Veronica, I appreciate this conversation I think it’s some of the things that you spoke about seemed like they were almost before their time right like Things from understanding about segmentation when it came to Game of Thrones, to outsourcing, even when you, A, at WB, also when you go into Vecna, making these realizations like, hey, there’s a lot of things that align here to your story that you shared about kind of proactively reaching out. I think everything you’re doing is awesome and really cool. So I appreciate you coming on. Is there anything you want to share or anything else you want to say before we wrap today’s episode up?

Veronica Rose: 49:27: 49:38: Just thank you. It’s been great to talk about sort of the the kind of fun stuff, the walk down amnesia lane. Things I haven’t thought about in a long time.

Greg Posner: 49:38: 49:51: Yeah, no, thank you. Again, these stories are always fun to hear and share and talk about. We will have all of Veronica’s information on our player engaged website. We’ll talk about it if you’re looking for any information and you want to tell the people where they could find you or

Veronica Rose: 49:52: 49:54: You can find me on LinkedIn.

Greg Posner: 49:54: 50:04: There you go. Easy enough. Well, Veronica, thank you so much again for this. I’m hoping we can connect again in the future. And yeah, thank you again for joining us today. Thank you.

Greg Posner

Avid gamer with a passion for storytelling. My goal is to unpack the narratives of customers, partners and others to better understand how industry-leaders tackle today's challenges.

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