I know my brother would eject people from his store if they spoke to employees the way people on these forums speak to the Blues. There is a line between providing customer service and taking verbal abuse.
Oh, and what Zarhym said about them not actually being Customer Service.
So a representative of a company that interacts with customers has nothing to do with customer service? Riiiight...
This is what I meant by saying I'd like to avoid the semantic argument. :)
Yes, on some fundamental level we're providing support for our customers, but we're also not a part of the CS department at Blizzard. PR & Community form the Blizzard Communications branch. There is some two-way crossover between CS and Communications. Each side performs some functions that relate to the other. For example, having CS reps on the forums, Twitter, and Facebook links them to the company's overall communications/engagement strategy (which is largely determined by PR/Community). On the flipside, CMs answering player questions and sharing information with the public is a function of providing customer support (while CS policies and strategies are determined by CS).
There are major differences though. CS has access to tools that allow them to verify in-game matters and other situations reported to them, and offer billing and technical support to players on an individual basis. We don't have that same access and aren't trained to do what they do.
Meanwhile, we share design insight and philosophies to discuss World of Warcraft gameplay with the community in a public setting. This isn't a function of CS, as PR/Community is responsible for talking regularly to the developers about design, upcoming content, and gameplay feedback.
As I said before, our discussions with players tend to be subjective in nature, whereas CS is often assisting players with X issue which has Y solution.
I feel it's important to reiterate how I distinguished one-on-one interaction from public interaction. I never appreciate when people use some analogy to a retail customer service situation to make a point about how we don't treat customers correctly:
Go ask any manager of any store what he/she thinks a customer service reps job is to do in the face of a "rude" customer.
Are there tens of thousands of other customers standing around, listening in, and given the opportunity to share their opinion of how the interaction between the store manager and the "rude" customer went? I don't find this relevant.
You'd be better off comparing what we do to a town hall debate, but I'm not running for anything. ;).