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Paul Hexem

Merchants and third party support sites

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I've seen this a couple times in world, and just yesterday or so I saw a merchant reply to a 4 year old thread saying "the reason you didn't get customer support is because you didn't use our external website".

I see a host of issues with this policy... Like any information you put there, like a TOU, would be completely unenforceable and irrelevant.

I'm curious- any other merchants here on the forums actually have a separate website that you want customers to use instead of in world communication? If so, why?

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I do not, but I suspect it is to cut down on messages like this:

hi

are u there

can you help me

message me when you get this

 

And also to eliminate notecards, which cannot be read offline 

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Personally I ignore those anyway. And I suspect people that can't get to the point in IM won't get to the point on a website, either.

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A LOT of people use external websites for support. I see it mostly in rental businesses, personally, and I'm not keen on it in 99% of the times I see it used. I have had both good and bad experiences with merchants and land owners while using an external website for support. Though I have had more bad than good, imo, they have been primarily with rental businesses, to the point that I refuse to use them now if I have an issue. I will absolutely directly contact someone, if they have a preference of IM or NC, I will abide, but if they insist I never contact them inworld about an issue an instead use their website...adios..you lost my business(and odds are if it's support related, I've probably lost money, but that's on me). The very rare cases where I will use an external website for support involve only those I KNOW will actually answer those "tickets"(or whatever they call them) either through my own experience or others' proven positive experience(s). For example, a very popular business I have taken part in since it's inception uses a ticket system..and I like it, it makes loads of things simpler. But, and like mine, it's big..they have PROVEN customer service track record, the vast majority of their business is rather transparent and support issues as well as everything surrounding them is/are very transparent. They will also talk with you inworld too, they don't ONLY limit it to tickets. 

It just leaves too much room for "oh, we didn't get your ticket", "I can't find where to submit a ticket", "your website/server is down", "our CSRs are not available at this time" or some other communication issue/error, of which there are a multitude of possibilities. That's why we HAVE multiple ways to contact people in sl, and shouldn't *need* an external support service for inworld items/purchases/experiences/whatever. Too much room for things to go awry for both the business and the customer, and too much hassle. Personally I think the use of external sites puts more responsibility on the shoulders of the end customer and that, imo, isn't the best way to handle support(but I'm weird, so...)

I wouldn't use an external service, personally, though I don't mind assisting a customer through email. In fact I just got back from a month long vacation and had to assist someone via email while I was away since I could not get in world but could access email. I can't imagine forcing my customers to use yet another communication method when those that exist work just fine. 

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