Wednesday, September 2, 2009

10 more things just cuz...

well, after yesterday's post i got a lot of feedback and a few asked me to share about another issue in SL... customers!!!! this is mostly for those who have businesses but it can be applied to a lot of other areas in life.

there are a lot of varying views on the importance of customers and how to treat them, what to let them get "away" with, etc. my view is pretty strong and i've followed it since day one.

"a customer is a person who of ALL the choices they have in SL, have chosen to spend their often LIMITED lindens in YOUR store." got it?

they do NOT have to buy your things.
you are NOT their only resource.
they have MANY choices.
they can LIVE without your item. (even if they think they can't)
there are many who do what you do better.
they have MANY choices.
they do NOT owe you anything, not even respect.
YOU are providing THEM something.
you don't have to like them and they don't have to like you.
they have MANY choices!
you can act how you want even if they don't like it.
NO ONE can make YOU do anything.

ok so now that i've listed what i believe are a few absolutes... let's get down to how i see customer service.

from when i first joined SL i realized there were many choices, i even put a coupon in EACH item saying 'thank you for your purchase, i know you have many choices' i was thankful someone would part with 499L on a dress i made. like thrilled.

so ok, people don't get things, people don't like things, people want to return things, people write to ask you what hair is on your ad, and some people even want you to pick their hair and skin to go with their item the got from you. it can be overwhelming at times.

ok for the most part i don't have nightmare customers. i never have. maybe one or two who were very angry about something, and i "think" in every case (unless they changed their minds) their issues were resolved to their satifaction, and then some.

i've had people yell, demand, insult, etc. and i do NOT get upset. i don't mute, ban or eject. i don't feel slighted. i don't get in a huff. i don't complain about them to everyone and do the "woe is me" designer thing.


well a few reasons.

1. if someone is upset, they are going to act upset. it has nothing to do with me. they are upset and most likely venting. so let them vent, get it out of their system, let them type away w/o defending or demanding they "speak to you with respect"... i mean really, they are upset so just let them cool off.

2. they may feel totally justified in their rant, and actually they may have every right to be upset... so why get all upset yourself?

3. it's NOT that big of a deal. what is a big deal is how YOU handle it.

4. if you realize their value as a person and customer, how YOU choose to respond will be the key.

5. ACT do NOT react to an angry customer. (the difference is "action" is what you do independent of their behavior. "reaction" is what you do cuz "they made you do it!)

ok so... what am i trying to say.

realize that when someone is upset, they WANT to let you know. so let them know you know and you are comitted to doing everything you can to make it right. let them know early on 'i care about this issue and want you to know that i will do all i can to make sure you are VERY happy'. believe me this stops MOST people immediately. like WAIT, she WANTS to HELP ME? and i just called her a *&$#$#$*#( @#(*#(&$#*!!! wow!

personally i replace, resend, trans or no trans items and i usually throw in a few free things. my goal is TO KEEP THE CUSTOMER AND TURN THEIR NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE INTO A POSITIVE ONE.

i am often really appalled by some merchants who think their customers owe them all this respect and to speak to them like they are god's gift to the design world. news flash YOU'RE NOT!! neither am i, we're just parts of a greater community. not one of us is so AMAZING we should be treated like we're some sort of deity. save that for your role playing, hahaha.

if you WIN over an angry customer, in my experience you have a customer for life. if you LOSE one, they will make DAMN sure they tell EVERYONE they know. and again. YOU are not their only choice.

i personally LOVE to win over an angry person. i'm sorta weird that way. i try to see why they are so upset. and i love when we can resolve it.

again i don't get too many angry people maybe due to the fact i try to defuse it at the beginning by letting them know i am committed to making them happy.

do people take advantage of this? maybe. often? nope. usually i have people saying, "oh not this is too much, this will be fine".

when you really think of it, no one can "disrespect you" really. not unless you take angry people's words as some sort of huge offense. angry people yell. don't let it surprise you. i wish i had the maturity to always handle myself with composure when i am angry, but alas, i don't.

i have banned ONE person. i was happy to do it after many warnings. why? he was annoying MY customers over and over and i felt NO guilt, and it was the easiest time i hit "ban this avatar". of course he yelled at me but that is ONE thing i won't tolerate is hurting my customers. i value them and each time they step in my shop, i am thankful. i know there are about a bazillion infinity other places they could be shopping at.

that for me keeps things in perspective.

hope this bit of info helps.



p.s. excuse any typos. i just typed this very fast :)


Samara Barzane said...

Spot on Callie-it's how I survived some really our of control avis when I was working at ETD. It's not about you--it's about THEM!

Unknown said...

I really liked this post. I linked to it from my blog. I hope that is ok.

Gogo said...

What a great post, Callie! :)

Kala said...

I just wanted to add a respectful, but disagreeing comment. I think as designers, we have a right to be treated fairly too. I don't want anyone to read this and think that they have to put up with behavior that makes them feel bad or uncomfortable (which I know is NOT what Callie meant, but some people might). Everyone has a line where someone crosses it into a territory where you start to feel like crap, once that line is crossed, I think the mute/ban option is fine. I will strive very very hard to make a customer happy, but I will not be called horrible names. I know everyone has different levels of comfort, each person has to find them!

caLLie cLine said...

thanks all.. ;)

kala, let me clarify... way down on that list i said "you can act how you want even if they don't like it". well that sort of goes without saying but the meaning is, you can just say, "i don't let customers speak to me like this" and that's that. followed by "no one can make you do anything"(ok unless they have a gun to your head... but even then it's still a choice, but most of us choose life)...

what i am trying to say is, i think that no one can make me FEEL like crap, unless i let them OR unless they say something that i either think already myself OR a flaw i have.

example: if a customer says, "you have clothes made from bought biz in boxes AND your avie is as ugly as a 500 pound elepant!" is that going to bother me? not in the least, would it bother anyone? well not anyone i know. why? it's not true! now if you are using bought templates (which is not wrong btw) then it may tap into a feeling you already HAVE about that IF you think it's bad. (if you don't you're fine)

so what i mean is, if YOU have a belief that if someone says "a b or c" to you which makes it disrespectful, THEN you will have a point in which you start to feel disrespected... and like you said, it's different for everyone.

i am not saying some don't drive me crazy or may be unreasonable. i am just saying mostly that HOW we view them is often a huge factor in how we respond to them.

i see them as people just like me with different struggles in life, different ways they behave, and for me to give them great service does not mean they have to adhere to MY set of rules.

this puts me in the position of serving them and at the end of the day, most people just want to get their issues resolved, NOT bitch at a CS rep or me all day.

BTW, i will also say to a customer who's being less than cooperative... "did you hear that i want to make this right with you? that i will do all i can to make you happy? it seems you're still really upset, would you like to contact me perhaps tomorrow when we can sort thru this?"

that gives them another chance to hear you AND gives them the choice to either work it out now, or try again when they are a bit calmer.

(this has only happened one time or 2)

anyway, great comment and again and thanks!


p.s. now go shop at my store! hahahaha just kidding i know i need new stuff out, just waiting for the dang NEW computer to come!

Beanie Canning said...

/me stands up and cheers and appauds!

Callie, you are one awesome person.


Anonymous said...

thanks for posting this Callie, I am very nice to people in SL, and have even received special free items from store owners for being so, but to often I have run across the holier than though designers or hear about them. I never got why knowing how to use a graphics program gives them the right to act so. Everyone has an important role in keeping the community going whether it be the creator or the spender, one is not more or less important than the other.

caLLie cLine said...

that's so true, none of us is more important. we just have different functions. even those who are "snobby" or act snobby have a role... well for me it's a challenge to be patient and perhaps *gasp* even choose to be kind to them.

it's pretty easy to be kind to people who are nice huh? quite another thing to be nice to those who have those annoying behaviors we hate...

but guess what? to someone we have those traits too. i've eternally thankful to the VERY FEW people who chose to see PAST my annoying traits and care anyway. they helped me a LOT to see things i just didn't see.

ah life... fun stuff huh?

thanks for all your comments oh and tymmerie, of course that's fine :)

Shelby Rasmuson said...

I am usually nice to designers and store owners except for one time...
I was getting really frustrated because I was trying to buy from a vendor which (one of the fiddly ones) and totally kept buying the wrong thing! I sent a note to the designer but got no response. Then tried buying again...I made the same mistake. The second time I finally got through to the designer and I was livid...Well this person acted with amazing class, gave me a replacement (even though I was wrong..) and I am a loyal customer. I also learned an important lesson..

Jordyn Carnell said...

Great basic post about customer service and how to deal with customers! (found through Tymmerie Thorne)