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merchant = tough customer?


Paula001 Goldschein
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are merchants harder to please as customers?

when being on the customer side of a sale in sl and things go wrong, i expect the same standard of customer service that i provide myself as a merchant.

i quit stores easily, a simple non-reply can do it, a lack of goodwill as well.  they could launch the neatest of things, i would not buy from them again.

when it comes to rl, i am a tough customer too, close employed people around me do not understand my nitpicking attitude, the self-employed crowd, which is mostly family though does.

how about you? sl, rl .. i would love to hear more opinions

 

edited: don't want it to sound all bad - the other part of being a tough customer is that i get extremely hooked on certain merchants/creators once i feel being in good hands

 

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I realize not everyone thinks of their business as a serious occupation, so I figure I will get "hobbyist" rather than professional customer support from some, no big deal.  I rarely shop except for building supplies, and very rarely have any problem with those creators. Once I did, the creator left the main item out of a kit, took days for him to respond, said he would send it, never did. But his stuff is good quality so I still buy from him.

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I wouldn't say I'm a 'tough' customer.  I can be more than reasonable when things are out of the control of the merchant in RL or SL. I also know we are all human and mistakes can be made and remedied.  Everyone is not online all the time and I am willing to wait patiently for a reasonable amount of time for a reply.  However, I feel if you have a business here, you should log in every few days at least to check messages, unless they have posted they are on vacation or having RL issues, or otherwise have IM's go to email so you can check them there.  

I don't buy a lot in SL other than personal things for my avi and a few building supplies,  as I can make anything I need  (Just not into making personal stuff except occasionally).  But if I do have a problem and just get blown off then I'm not likely to let it go if I know I'm right. If nothing else, I vote with my feet and tell friends not to shop there and why.  In RL I'll report it to whatever authority has jurisdiction or the BBB if none do.

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Paula001 Goldschein wrote:

are merchants harder to please as customers?

when being on the customer side of a sale in sl and things go wrong, i expect the same standard of customer service that i provide myself as a merchant.

i quit stores easily, a simple non-reply can do it, a lack of goodwill as well.  they could launch the neatest of things, i would not buy from them again.

when it comes to rl, i am a tough customer too, close employed people around me do not understand my nitpicking attitude, the self-employed crowd, which is mostly family though does.

 

Nailed it for me!

There is also a probable link between the service given by merchants who have developed a self accountable, RL customer facing set of skills vs those who have not and for which SL is a playtoy.

Accountability is important here, there's a clear distinction between the service delivered (or not) by someone who has nothing at stake versus those who do such as your example of being "self employed" where you're income is entirely dependent on every job, task, success or failure.

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It depends,

  • I know the issues of working with SL am not going to pester another merchant with an issue that is not resolvable
  • Understand that RL and SL are sometimes hard to balance and that we all mess up sometimes
  • I am always polite and straightforward as that is how I want to be treated
  • BUT, am waay less tolerant of things like attitude and failure to respond.  With my business, I shop everyday and we drive sales for other merchants; if I think a store will not give my customers good service or they just act cranky, I take them off my list of places to go.  SL is a big world, we can find what weneed with a nice and helpful merchant someplace else.
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The vast majority of my customers are merchants and I love it. They're knowledgable, interesting, creative, and just generally cool people to deal with.

Some could be considered demanding, in that they ask for extra product features or changes, but that's really useful feedback that only helps make my products better (and I've kind of reached the point where I have a pretty good idea of the sort of extras my customers are going to ask for anyway, and can include those in the initial release.)

They can sometimes be time consuming, especially when trying to work out which combination of products they need for their business, but I also enjoy that - it's fun learning about what people create and how they run their business, and even if i end up answering questions, or talking about scripting or marketing or whatever for an hour, which isn't unusual, I learn just as much in the process as they do, getting to know my customers' needs better which then helps my own business.

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I'm not sure.

I rarely IM the creators of things that I purchase.  the couple of times that I did, they responded quickly and professionally.

I am picky, I know that.  I don’t make clothes myself and, if I buy a clothing item that is not well made, I just never shop there again.  But I don't IM the creator or give a bad review.  

My pet peeves with clothing are prim skirts that attach to the av in a way that doesn't account for differences in body types (like having hips and a backside,) or old style clothing that relies on those horrible (non prim) skirts, which make you alter your av or put on a "Wide Load" sign.

Merchants or creators that spam me with multiple group invites or notecards or any sort of unrequested materials annoy me too.  If I want to know about your products, I'll join your group or go to your store (MP or in world.)  In this regard, I'm probably a very tough customer.  I build, too, and unwanted textures notecards, objects are distracting and annoying.

My two cents (L$5)

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I am a tough customer, I think.

I don't buy much, partly because I'm unimpressed by listings, and partly because I expect to be even less impressed with what arrives, if anything arrives.

OTOH, if what I get is more-or-less what was indicated, I'm not tough at all.

In fact, I'm delighted.

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I am probably harder on myself as a merchant than I am on others. But then again, I rarely even have a need to talk to many merchants as a customer. I'm like a guy in a mall, get in, get what I need and get out. The rare occassion I have needed to talk to someone due to maybe a failed delivery on the marketplace or something and that has always gone really smoothly as well. But as a merchant I know how it feels to overwhelmed in real life and not able to get on SL as often as you would like, I also know how rude some people can be so I try to be reasonable and understanding as I possibly can be.

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I'm easy! Oh sure,  I understand how to create, so I know when a creator doesn't quite understand what they are doing, but I don't usually end up being annoyed by a bad purchase. I chalk it mostly up as a bad decision by me. Usually, I'm only really shopping when I finish an AO, or another product, and I'm looking for an outfit to suit a character. For almost anything else, I'd just make whatever I want, myself.  For all those things that I don't want to make, I already know what I want and who to buy it from. Heck, I just got Arton's Station Wagon the other day.

Plus, because I'm a merchant, I generally have an abundance of lindens. Considering how cheap and under rated most sell their items for, throwing away a few hundred lindens is not going to annoy me much. When you throw in that I pretty much know all the ins and outs of SL, I'd say I'm a pretty good customer.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

 

Plus, because I'm a merchant, I generally have an abundance of lindens. Considering how cheap and under rated most sell their items for, throwing away a few hundred lindens is not going to annoy me much. When you throw in that I pretty much know all the ins and outs of SL, I'd say I'm a pretty good customer.

Really, the way some people talk, you would think Lindens were equal to dollars, because they will come to the forums and go ON and ON hysterically because they were "cheated" out of 200L, or 30L -- except most of the time they were not cheated, they just didn't understand some basic functionality of SL, or didn't read the directions, or whatever.  (Like the one in this forum recently that thought because her AO said No Mod in her inventory, it was No Mod inworld; she had not even talked to the creator before running to the forum to publish the business' name.)

In any case, I am like you:  losing a dollar or even THREE dollars now and then is not going to perturb me much.

 

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Zanara Zenovka wrote:

The vast majority of my customers are merchants and I love it. They're knowledgable, interesting, creative, and just generally cool people to deal with.


Though I do have some customers that build just for their own fun, most of them are merchants. And I have the same experience, interesting, creative people. They know how SL works, so they don't come up with a lot of drama when a delivery fails or when they discover for example a permission fault in one of the products. So when it comes to customer support they are the nicest people you can have.

But it might not always be easy to get a merchant as a customer, or to keep him coming back. In general you can say they have a very good nose for quality and they are prepared to pay a bit for more to get the quality they want. They are always busy and don't want to spend much time on shopping. Though some people do shop for fun, most of them mainly shop when they need things to complete a project they are working on. So in most cases they are looking for this specific 'this or that' to realise their idea. You can jump low or high for them, but when you don't have the desired object available, you won't get them as a costumer, at least not at that moment.

When I talk to customers it happens now and then that they spontanously start to tell me in what other sculpty shops they buy, and also why won't buy anymore at others. The reason I hear most why people keep being a customer somewhere is quality.

 

When people decide to leave a shop as a customer, there are two important reasons: quality and the relation with the merchant. By time they discover shops with better quality then where they used to buy. For example people have bought several things already from a merchant and though the items look good on the product pics they are each time a bit disappointed about how the sculpt can be textured. When they discover alternatives that offer much better texture possibilites the first merchant is loosing his customer.

The second but surely not unimportant reason has to do with the relationship with the merchant. I have often heared "He/she really makes good quality stuff, but I don't buy there anymore, because..." and after this because can come something like: she has such a bad customerservive | you have to wait for more then two weeks to get a repair for a product | he has such an attitude | they just won't help you when you have an issue with their products... and so on.

And in those cases I also often hear: "It is with pain in the heart I decided so, because I really love his sculpts."

So you can also conclude that most merchants are sensible to how they are treated by fellow merchants, they want to be treated with respect, like they do with their own customers. Once you loose a merchants customer for not treating him with respect or for lack of supporting your products, you have lost him forever. Because they have their principles.

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