Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Shopper's Pet Peeve..

Actually, it's more than a pet peeve.  It's the thing that makes me stop shopping at particular stores. real life, when you have a question, concern or comment regarding a purchase, stores have individuals (Customer Service) that are dedicated to helping you.  Because, let's face it, without the customer (ANY customer), no store can stay in business.

In Second Life, it's apparently acceptable that designers want zero contact with their customers.

Having run the fashion showcases and been an extreme shopper in SL for the last four years, I can tell you that there are two types of designers. 

The first type is the type I *love* buying from.  They're polite, friendly, and willing to listen to their customers.  They address your IMs or notecards promptly.  Old school designers like Sachi Vixen, Nyla Cheeky, Indyra Seigo, and djod Karu are some examples of AMAZING designers that still take the time to answer IMs and notecards - regardless of the topic.  They SPEAK to their customers (imagine that!).

The second type I truly dislike, and unless their designs are so phenomenal that you can't breathe when you see them.I don't shop in their stores.  Those designers are the ones that never return an IM or a notecard.  They're the ones with the really "READ MY FAQ OR I WON'T RESPOND" profiles.  Come.  On.

Seriously?  It's Second Life.  You opted to start a business.  Now provide customer service.  I'm sure there are very few stores where there are thousands and thousands of customers.  And I know for a FACT that larger/busier stores either give you a customer service contact name or employ several customer service reps to be IN the store at all times.    

No, I don't believe every designer should do custom work.  It's time consuming..I know.  No, I do not believe they should dedicate their entire second life to their stores - then what's the fun in that?  But I do believe they should LISTEN to their customers.  Hey, your glitch pants..kinda glitchy!  Hey, the super cute one side strap of this dress..doesn't attach without detaching my skirt!  I clicked the store sign, but it sold me a different dress - three times! 

I'm really lucky to be able to say that a lot of the designers I have encountered over the years have fallen into the first group.  The second group..well.  The reality is..nobody in Second Life makes something you can always buy it elsewhere if you find you're stuck with an unfriendly (or surly) designer. 

Listening to your customer makes all of the difference between success and failure. 

Happy shopping, kids!



  1. Nice post!!! It's about time someone spoke up on this. I know a certain designer who makes lovely stuff HOWEVER...their opening informational notecard says it all. DO NOT CONTACT ME>..IT'S YOUR FAULT IF YOU MISUNDERSTOOD SOMETHING. Thanks a lot,, but no thanks. I'll spend my lindens elsewhere.


  2. Hi there :)
    I completely understand your point of view. Now, I want you to listen to my point of view and hopefully you will understand it too.
    I want you to put yourself in the shoes of an owner of one of the half bigger stores in secondlife.
    Imagine making enough money from you SL store after taxes that you make an OK living off it. This sounds pretty nice doesnt it?
    Ok lets elaborate. Lets say you spend most of your days creating items. Creating things in SL is one of the most time consuming and tedious jobs there are. Just the creating part of it, aka the fun part! Now, imagine having to do book keeping too since you dont make enough money to hire an accountant (ever done book keeping? its not fun, and also very time consuming). Just with creating and book keeping you have a fairly long day of work every day. Add making ads, boxing, listing things on the marketplace (which can take days in itself if you have enough products), making sure your store looks at least decent etc.
    Now, all the things above are the ESSENTIALS to having a store in SL. this is the minimum amount of work you can put into it and still making money.
    Ok, lets add the other things. Lets say you have kids (ouch, that took a huge bulk or time and energy). And lets add the fact that everytime you log on to work you get hit by the message "to many instant messages, delivery capped." AND 25 blinking IMs AND 5-30 notecards (yes, every day). Also, while you are trying to work you get IM'ed/sent notecards constantly. I wish i was exaggerating. But this is my life daily. I am not saying people shouldn't be pissed at me for not answering their IM's/notecards within 24h. or sometimes not at all. But if I did, I wouldnt be able to work in SL, I would HATE my job.
    I love all my customers, and i am grateful for every purchase. But it all comes down to time. One IM can take up to 1-15 min of chatting. Now multiply that by 10-100 a day (depending on how messed up SL is being). I bow to any creator that make a living in SL and have time for every IM.

    And PS. I have 3 CSRs. Customers just rarely contact anyone but the creator.

  3. Hi! Thanks for commenting.

    I can respect your point - creators have an RL just like we all do. I'm fine if someone takes time to get back to me on a notecard. Or if they pass that notecard along to a CSR to respond to me. As long as my question has been addressed in a polite and professional manner within a reasonable amount of time.

    You sound like (to me) if you had the'd speak to customers that IM or NC you. But since you can't, you have CSR's. Which is the responsible thing for bigger designers/stores to have, and I applaud you for that. Not all designers have CSRs..or alternative contacts - NOR do they respond.

    I once dropped a designer a notecard because in her store was a poster/ad that showed a gorgeous white dress with a stamp on it that said the proceeds went to Japanese Earthquake victims. But here's the was just a poster. There was nothing for sale. It wasn't even a donate boxx. I walked around the entire store and checked her website before sending a notecard. I've sent the NC again (SL eats 'em..I it's nice to know what designer's do and don't respond) and there's still been no response. Months is too long to wait for a response from anyone in SL.

    :) But I appreciate your showing us things from your side of the mirror too.