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Are creators doing themselves a favour by ignoring customers?


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I bought a couple of items from this particular store a few weeks ago, and two of them had defective HUDs (textures not set up properly in the script). I sent in no less than five IM's/notecards/support tickets (cause they even built a website to process these) within a span of 2 weeks, with all the details including screenshots. Most of the time their "store manager", if they can even be called that, was online. I never received a single response, not even an acknowledgement that "they're looking into it". This makes me wonder:

  • Why do you bother hiring these "customer service reps"/"store managers"?
  • Why do you bother creating a website for support tickets, if they go straight to the trash bin?
  • I spent money to buy your product, and the HUD is defective, essentially making 90% of the product useless. You don't feel that it's your responsibility to spend literally <5min to fix this? As a scripter myself I know how easy it is to fix UUID-based texture HUDs, so no it doesn't take "days and weeks"

I won't even dare to imagine what would happen if I sent in a question about the product, or some minor complaint, those probably aren't even worth their trash bin. So eventually I just gave up and accepted my losses, and marked the end of setting foot in that store, which I guess the store owner doesn't give a single crap about as they've got a thousand others buying their stuff. Unfortunately this has been my experience with MOST owners of "large" stores in SL. Usually it's the small-time stores that have the friendly creators, some I even managed to have pleasant chats with. The excuse is always "oh we're too busy to answer customer questions". That's why you had time to hire a store manager and build a website? I really don't know what kind of message they're trying to send across here. "We're spending all this effort and money to make it look like your concerns are heard, but really we couldn't give less of a *****"?

Honestly I don't get why my experience as a chronic shopper in SL is so bad and why most shop owners are always so hostile or indifferent toward customers who're funding their stores. I have better experiences on Amazon/Ebay/AliExpress for crying out loud, and those shop owners have 10x the amount of workload as these SL creators, yet 99% of the time I always leave with a satisfied purchase? It's ridiculous. Is it because people are depending on this as their main RL source of income and aren't earning enough? LL being overprotective of creators and has zero protection of customers (e.g. regularly deleting negative reviews on marketplace and offering zero protection against scams)? They're sick of idiotic people asking them dumb questions like "how to unpack the box"? Combination of all?

Edited by MelodicRain
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I feel your pain.

Theory here is that store manager account is actually the same person, they are just choosing when they are available for support during the day by switching account?

I tend to answer people whenever I can (thank god for IM to Email), even when I'm not online, but I don't think I have the sale volume the big stores have, so probably nowhere nearly as much customer support?

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Kyrah Abattoir said:

I feel your pain.

Theory here is that store manager account is actually the same person, they are just choosing when they are available for support during the day by switching account?

I tend to answer people whenever I can (thank god for IM to Email), even when I'm not online, but I don't think I have the sale volume the big stores have, so probably nowhere nearly as much customer support?

IMs may get lost but notecards won't, unless they simply block all notecards. If those don't work they still have that ticket system. If they ignore all 3 channels of communication then they're doing this on purpose and not because it was outside of their control, no other explanation. There are always ways to contact people in SL no matter how "busy" they are, it simply depends on if the person cares enough to want to listen.

Edited by MelodicRain
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Even when you do hear from them, it may not be the end of it:

Bought an item from a large and good looking store - part of the animation menu was missing (I know enough to be able to check this out). I sent a notecard to one of the two CSR's as requested by the shop owner in his profile. After not having received a response 24 hours later, sent a copy to the other CSR. Received an answer promising a refund from the shop owner "once he has looked into the problem" (I described the issue exactly - it wouldn't take 1 minute to confirm. This was 2 weeks ago, and a further 3 messages to the CSRs and a couple days ago, the shop owner as well - still crickets.

The item is still for sale, I got a redelivery to check and the animation data is still missing... so anyone buying the item still, will have the same issue...

Like others have said here, I would never treat my customers like this. I am grateful if they tell me about issues they have (even if it's their doing - then I can think of how to make that issue avoidable in future) and will contact them immediately, and rectify problems the very soonest I can. (And that's quick.)

But yeah I am a mere tadpole in the pond... and don't get many complaints... I would like to think that if I was a big shop owner, I'd be the same though or have a team to help me do that.

Emma :) 

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Update: Just received a full refund from the shop owner - with apologies for absence due to RL stuff.

A lot of bad feeling could have been avoided if the CSRs had simply communicated that the shop owner had RL stuff going on, instead of not replying to my subsequent messages at all.

 

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I'm completely with you on this. I don't understand why creators would want to ignore their customers.

What confuses me more is when creators don't respond to questions about their product that are asked out of an interest in buying said product.

Re notecards, although they're not capped, they still don't always make it through. If you keep trying once a week or something, it's likely that eventually you'll get a response. That's worked for me but it's still really frustrating.

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37 minutes ago, Emma Krokus said:

 

A lot of bad feeling could have been avoided if the CSRs had simply communicated that the shop owner had RL stuff going on, instead of not replying to my subsequent messages at all.

 

Exactly! Just acknowledge our message so we know we can stop sending multiple ones without a clue if they've been received or not. The longest time I spent "hassling" a creator due to missing colors in a fatpack was two months. That creator was online and actively participating in sales over that period as well so it's not like they've just been offline. Even though the eventual response was genuinely apologetic and the issue was fixed, I've never bought from that store again, not due to ill feelings but purely because I didn't want to be put in that position again.

I thought earning trust from customers would have been something important for business owners but maybe not all of them take their businesses seriously.

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One of the reasons I don’t have a CSR is so customers know it’s only me they need to deal with.   Not all creators behave like this I promise.  It always sad for us to see this happening too as it paints a negative against us all.   Also it may be worth seeing if they have a Facebook page for the business as it may show how responsive they are and it also shows their stats on responding (they get penalized if they ignore you for too long).   A public message also can be surprising effective 😉
 

LL doesn’t remove negative reviews unless they fall afoul of the rules (trust me).  I had one review that called one of products “rude word in another language” and it still sits there proudly with it’s one star.i hope this one bad experience and your others doesn’t turn you off all SL creators.  There are some good ones out there who really do care about their customers.

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Thank you Charlotte - I do think many (?) of us here are loathe to maintain a social media presence and use that as a route to air inworld issues.

Most creators I've dealt with inworld have been overwhelmingly lovely and more than willing to help :), both from large and small businesses.

In 12 years here, I've rarely had bad experiences. Most often they occurred with larger shops - perhaps because owners are very busy - I don't feel however this negates their responsibility to enable issues to be dealt with speedily - using competent CSRs for example. Leaving things up for sale that you have been made aware are faulty (in this case at least 2 weeks) is a big turn off for me. The item I had the issue with was a couple dollars and that is a lot of money for some residents.

I'll cut the shop owner some slack in terms of having to deal with RL issues... this does not let his uncommunicative CSRs off the hook though!

Me stop getting new shinies? NO WAY!! My expectation is still great products and fabulous customer service!

Emma :) 

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15 hours ago, Emma Krokus said:

Thank you Charlotte - I do think many (?) of us here are loathe to maintain a social media presence and use that as a route to air inworld issues.

Most creators I've dealt with inworld have been overwhelmingly lovely and more than willing to help :), both from large and small businesses.

In 12 years here, I've rarely had bad experiences. Most often they occurred with larger shops - perhaps because owners are very busy - I don't feel however this negates their responsibility to enable issues to be dealt with speedily - using competent CSRs for example. Leaving things up for sale that you have been made aware are faulty (in this case at least 2 weeks) is a big turn off for me. The item I had the issue with was a couple dollars and that is a lot of money for some residents.

I'll cut the shop owner some slack in terms of having to deal with RL issues... this does not let his uncommunicative CSRs off the hook though!

Me stop getting new shinies? NO WAY!! My expectation is still great products and fabulous customer service!

Emma :) 

There are quite a lot of creators with Facebook pages and groups for their businesses so it seems still quite popular but not all of them are active I am sure.   But I can understand why some may not want to maintain a presence.

I have found mine to be a great way to engage with customers, from what we make next through to sharing their artwork of our products, or even things like getting early access to sales etc.    You can look at my page/group as an example.    I have ended up with over 6K followers on there plus 2K in our group so it outpaces our inworld group albeit I am small fry compared to those big brands who have 20K on their pages.    I also like doing a high percent of my customer support on messenger as it's easy to chat back and forth versus offline email when I am away from the computer.

It's probably just me who loves it as I love talking to people and getting ideas on what I can make for them :) It is an extra line of "work" for SL so I am sure it's not for everybody.

I have also been lucky with having minimal bad experiences albeit these days I am not a consumer really.  I hope the OP gets better results with other creators ❤️
 

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I can pitch in , having a store that does have CSRs, my reasoning for it is because we have literally 1000s of products so it's really hard for just one person to keep track anymore.

as far as DRD goes, our csrs are pretty awesome and usually respond fairly quick, if they can answer they will, We also get a lot of the same questions , and the csrs on our team know theyre way around the products very well :)
if they can't answer someone they will poke me quickly on discord and I am there within a few minutes, unless I am gone IRL ofcourse... But we always try our best for customers, I can't relate to those stores because my motto allways had been, if there arent any customers..  you got nothing really, they should be priority nr1 and not be treated like a number.
if there is a critical error, it might take some time to fix if i'm in the middle of some event deadlines... there will always be instances where something goes wrong or we can't really fully help out but I always try my best atleast or refund if needed.
recently i have setup a command system in the inworld group , where people can type a !command , like !help or !gachas and they will get info , links, and csr contacts sent their way incase no one is around to answer, people also need some time off :D
The only thing i have seen myself ignore at times are some event invites >.>


But theres ways stores can make things better , like proper csr training/hiring , logging in daily - having "office" hours to take care of all customer related issues , I also don't really get why they would not do this.
I hope maybe a creator will take some advice from this ...

 

On 8/12/2020 at 5:05 AM, Charlotte Bartlett said:

One of the reasons I don’t have a CSR is so customers know it’s only me they need to deal with.   Not all creators behave like this I promise

I'm really happy theres still stores around that do this,I did it all myself aswell the first 7/8 years.i loved being super close connected to customers, I can totally relate to this. I sometimes wish i could still do it all myself but unfortunatly i think i'd be dragged into an asylum pretty soon after xD , I try to answer as much as i can myself though .

WIshing  OP the best and i also hope you get better experiences in the future :)
 

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57 minutes ago, Jaimy Hancroft said:

I can pitch in , having a store that does have CSRs, my reasoning for it is because we have literally 1000s of products so it's really hard for just one person to keep track anymore.

as far as DRD goes, our csrs are pretty awesome and usually respond fairly quick, if they can answer they will, We also get a lot of the same questions , and the csrs on our team know theyre way around the products very well :)
if they can't answer someone they will poke me quickly on discord and I am there within a few minutes, unless I am gone IRL ofcourse... But we always try our best for customers, I can't relate to those stores because my motto allways had been, if there arent any customers..  you got nothing really, they should be priority nr1 and not be treated like a number.
if there is a critical error, it might take some time to fix if i'm in the middle of some event deadlines... there will always be instances where something goes wrong or we can't really fully help out but I always try my best atleast or refund if needed.
recently i have setup a command system in the inworld group , where people can type a !command , like !help or !gachas and they will get info , links, and csr contacts sent their way incase no one is around to answer, people also need some time off :D
The only thing i have seen myself ignore at times are some event invites >.>


But theres ways stores can make things better , like proper csr training/hiring , logging in daily - having "office" hours to take care of all customer related issues , I also don't really get why they would not do this.
I hope maybe a creator will take some advice from this ...

 

I'm really happy theres still stores around that do this,I did it all myself aswell the first 7/8 years.i loved being super close connected to customers, I can totally relate to this. I sometimes wish i could still do it all myself but unfortunatly i think i'd be dragged into an asylum pretty soon after xD , I try to answer as much as i can myself though .

WIshing  OP the best and i also hope you get better experiences in the future :)
 

I guess it depends on customer service levels.   A normal day for me is no more than 10 customer service enquiries and task and 50% of those are via the Facebook or Instagram channels, and 50% in SL.   

I am a hobbyist so we only release 2 things a month on average.  Somebody doing it for "work" I can imagine will have a ton more customer service enquiries to do.

I found the auto help responses on Facebook Chat, answers a lot up front for us.  It sounds quite similar to the command stuff you mention.  It has a ton of questions right up front as they start typing (e.g. redeliveries, exchanging Gacha items for Mod/Copy which we do, how to find the latest release etc) and it gives them an auto solution, it makes a huge difference to then secondary questions which become minimal.

You sound like you have awesome CSRs.  I love doing mine - Scarlet Creative is 14 years in a few weeks and I am still making new friends via customers who get in touch :D
 

Edited by Charlotte Bartlett
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  • 3 weeks later...

I understand your frustration, and honestly, before starting my store,I thought about how much time I would have to respond to customers with issues, and made myself a promise that I would do my best to live up to my own customer service standards. 

We need to consider many factors in this, including 1. language differences 2. cultural differences 3. business acumen ... three that come to mind. I might even add education level and basic communication skills. To start a business with a store front in the "real world" you need  have a basic level of understanding of business practices, often creating Profit & Loss (P&L) reports, projections, and applying for loans from banks or investors. 

In contrast, to start an SL Store, be it in-world or in the marketplace, you need a product to sell, but not much else. There is little investment, pennies to the dollar really, and many people go into it with out the basic communication skills to really be able to run a business. 

I have been lucky that I haven't had many customer service related issues, and the ones I have had I can fix almost immediately. My store is relatively small, so my inventory is not large nor do I have a manager etc because I can still handle all of it on my own. Anytime a customer reaches out, I look for the lesson in the issue. For example, someone pointed out that when they purchased an eye set from an event I was in (I make eye appliers/bom) they didn't get mesh eyes in the pack (no where in the ad did it say there were mesh eyes) and they made the assumption that my eye "sets" included a pair of mesh eyes. Was this just quibbling with words? maybe, but honestly, it was not an issue to me to change how I label my ads. I now write that they contain appliers and BOM only to prevent confusion. By the way they wrote, I realized that English was not their first language, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I did explain to them that my ads do not state that they come with mesh eyes, but thanked them for pointing that out as a potential point of confusion for customers. 

I actually refunded the customer, not because they asked, but because I felt that was the right thing to do. They were happy, I was happy. 

In my RL life work, I've been lucky that I have  received training on management, accounting, and customer service. I apply those to my little SL store as best as I can. Not everyone has, and in fact, SL can really equalize things by allowing people without these skills the chance to make a few L by selling things. 

As a customer, if I don't receive good service, I simply do not shop there again. As a business owner, I try as hard as possible to make sure my customers have a good experience. 

In the end, good communication is the basis for all good business practices.  

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm actually *mostly* happy with customer service on SL.

Relatively so, I''m fine with being ignored on feature requests. Even if it's a basic feature that I think every product should have (enable script removal if your clothes are no mod, for the love of god!) since I can simply choose not to shop wherever it is.

What I can''t tolerate is when I report outright broken items - for example, buttons not working on a hud from one of the presumably biggest businesses on SL - and just being flat out ignored forever. Were this real life, I'd have returned the product, and then taken them to court if they tried to refuse. A big part of the frustration bad customer service causes in SL is probably because you have no recourse - merchants are allowed to sell products however broken they want. If I could force a refund and have the item deleted from my inventory it'd be a lot less frustrating.

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  • 1 month later...

The answer must be "yes," because some high-end creators do this all the time, and it is exasperating.

And the reason they do it is because they can.

And when you don't get an answer, you sometimes respond in Swedish hostage syndrome fashion and go back and buy a different version of the item that was flawed, or sometimes even the same item! Insane.

Eventually you stop doing this. Then you find yourself going back. It's really a game all unto itself. Some creators make highly secretive legends about themselves and then cloak them further in mystery. Not answering and not having any CSRs adds to that mystique and ups their prices.

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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I thought to pitch in this discussion although I am not sure if it will be of any help, however, here's my two cents.

Before a creator, I am consumer. I am no stranger to having no responses from creators. It is a bad experience indeed and well, word of mouth is a powerful thing. I personally do not purchase from that creator ever again, unfortunately. So, I do not think they are doing themselves any favors. I do believe, however, that most these creators are usually and truly busy, and time is just not on their sides. And unfortunately, not all managers or CSR's are the best. A lot of them are, but some are simply not. And well, the best ones are taken and overloaded. I concur with DRD in the sense that deadlines and so many other things get in the way of being able to fix something right away. It just doesn't happen, unless you happen to be free in the moment. But overall, I think many creators are doing a fantastic job because they know it will keep customers coming back. The fast track of loosing customer is not taking care of them as you expect to be taken care of. I do not have csr's or manager. Up to this point, I do it all myself. Sometimes, it does take me time to respond, unfortunately, however, not over a day. I do respond to all msg's that are sent by notecard, and cannot be sure about offline if I get capped. I try to be fair and try to solve anything and everything possible as fast as, taking all considerations above, I am able to. Building a business is hard work no matter if it is on SL or RL. In the end, I think we do best we can, unless your personal ethics are simply not up -to-par with what you want. And that is how businesses die. Keep customers happy and they become loyal to the brand. Happy shopping!

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Well everyone here has made some really good and valid points. I can totally understand where the OP is coming from on this. It's been my experience as well too. You can usually tell though if the response is late simply because they are busy. I personally take RL in to account because there is after all life out side of SL. That being said there are a lot of shady people in business on here. Some don't always start out that way either. For one example I used to endorse and promote an item called the Blackbox which was a media box filled with movies on here. The creator was very professional and always responded to any issues at hand. Well one day out the blue the box stopped working. I contacted dude and he fed me some end of life BS and tried to sell me his new so called upgraded TV version. Needless to say I was mad. That's putting it politely.

Now keep in mind I had a high respect for this guy so when he invited me over to look at it I went. I indulged him. Long story short based off his past reputation and my personal dealings with him I took a leap of faith and bought his TV. This where I took a bite in the behind. I should have demoed it closer. Only 10% of the media worked and for the price he charged it was way entirely over priced. So I went to contact him as usual and was like dude I think you got some issues with your TV here brother. lol Dead silence. That's what I was met with. After about my 3rd. attempt I took it as a lesson learned and got over it. Weeks later I ran across his same product on market most if not all were negative reviews with almost the same exact experience. I added my own in a reply to one of them.

I concluded one of two things. Either something got seriously broke in my so called business friend or someone else was behind the wheel of that avatar now days because of the complete night and day change in the way they conducted business and the sad lack of quality of their product. That's just one example in terms of lack of communication.

Then we have those who are just out right nasty from jump in their communication. I have an example for that as well too. Now if you ever rented from Baxton Estates I believe it's called if they are even still around you may seen their Media TV's that come with their rentals. Well at one point years ago they used to sell those on market both in the form of a no-copy TV and a TV Hud which were scripted very poorly in fact. What I mean by that is the product for example the hud ceased to work and then it just disappeared. lol (Later down the road so did the TV itself. Lmao!!!! :D )So long story short I had been trying to contact them for a few days regarding the issue. The lady I will never forget because never in all my years on SL past or present had I ever had someone talk to me straight out of the blue as nasty as she did for trying to get customer service help. It literally took everything I had not to curse her one side up the other. Any rentals I had set up with them ceased to exist after that point in time.

The guy who actually created the TV for the company contacted me some days later and he was completely opposite like night and day. We had a very pleasant conversation. So it was more then obvious who the public relations person was in that team. lol So my hud issue was taken care of by him, but I never used it again after that because I didn't want it to glitch out again and while dude was nice he refused to give me a a no transfer and copyable version claiming it had to be no copy based on the scripting or something. I knew that was BS considering I can script so I didn't even argue it. At that point I was pretty much done with it all.

Later down the road though because I did have the TV out I noticed it ceased to work. From what I manage to find out regarding as to why this was, was this. The TV Media sold on market was pulled and the TV's re-scripted to where only the ones on their rentals lands worked. Anyone who paid them money for media sold on market was refused an update and/or a refund. Bad business to say the least.

I don't do bad reviews often, but these two examples made the grade and at the time that they happened I did put out bad reviews on my SL FB page to spread the word out to the community. So word of mouth does travel a lot on the internet. Especially on SL and especially if you were a sports entertainer on SL at the time back in those days. lol I personally find it funny because people never know who they are popping off to or how large a circle they run in or how large the people's other circles are who are in that circle. lol :D

One trend I will add besides shady customer service I noticed in SL that kills business with me on the spot is the end of life BS some content creators used as an excuse not to support their products anymore. Ya'll remember when TMP did that big sale on their bodies and clothing. Well ever since their newest releases hit they ceased supporting those products. You can't even buy cloths there anymore. At least you wouldn't when I last went there. You had to spend an outrageous amount on one of the newer released bodies. Even the discounted amount for owning the previous body IMO was off the chain. You don't offer an upgrade for a product people already paid for and expect people to pay twice for it. That's just bad business people.

So honestly while it doesn't apply obviously to every content creator I do think the actions of a large number of content creators out here conducting these type of foul business practices does make it harder to do business for the rest. It certainly limited my purchases because I only deal with content creators I've gotten a good recommendation on. That's my opinion on it mates. Stay safe and stay blessed all. :)

Edited by Velk Kerang
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