Saturday, January 17, 2009

What is Customer Service?

If you ask a Linden Lab Employee what Customer Service is, they'll give you a URL or ask you to contact Live Support. But IS that Customer Service? Personally I have to answer NO, and let me explain why. I currently own 3 stores in Second Life. Whenever a Customer of mine complains that they either didn't receive what they paid for or complained about what they bought, I don't haggle with them, make them prove they bought something from me, or tell them to talk to someone else. No, I have one simple rule to my business, "The Customer is HAPPY". I apologize to my Customer, then give a full refund, then give them what they didn't get in the first place or try and find an alternate to what they were looking for. To me, this is proper Customer Service, not only that, but it's proper Business and Marketing. The Customer, when taken care of properly, will gladly spend his/her refund in your store after treating them like they were KINGS/QUEENS, not only that but they will also tell their friends about this fantastic place where they treat you wonderfully!

Now, let's compare that to two examples I ran into recently.

First, I have this friend, who's a Premium Member New Resident (meaning he's already SPENT money for the privilege of playing Second Life. His main acct, on his Second Day, got stuck in world and wouldn't logout. So, he contacts Support and reports the issue. After NOT hearing back for two hours, he creates an Alt and comes in-world seeking help. I have him do some things, hoping to shake his Main Acct loose, but nothing we tried worked. I then asked a few Lindens that were online to help him out, seeing that the Lindens are all big on the "New Resident Experience". Robin Linden responded, asking that he email her the particulars and she'd look into it. Now, before we go any further, let's give Robin KUDO's for at least responding and taking time to help out. Benjamin Linden didn't respond at all and Siz Linden responded with the URL.

My friend then sent Robin in the information via email and got back a response that shocked even me. Boiled down it said, "Contact Support". So much for being Helpful there. Having the appearance of being Helpful and actually being Helpful are TWO SEPERATE things.

So, there's an example of how HIGH LEVEL management responds to cries for help in-world, now let's look at another example.

This morning I logged in, hoping to work on my store in Garman as I'm currently expanding it. I logged in, did my IM maintenance, and then tried Teleporting; as usual for the past week, I was told that the teleport took too long and I should try again LATER.

Now, here's my thinking on this. If Second Life isn't working, then those Linden's in-world should HELP those left in distress. That's the PROPER way to treat a CUSTOMER so they remain HAPPY and feel good about SL that they will tell their friends and more and more Residents come to SL. Frontier Linden feels differently of course. I asked Frontier Linden to drop me off in Garman, very nicely, since Teleports weren't working. After 15 minutes Frontier came back with the URL and told me to contact support. I said I didn't need Support, just needed a quick ride over to Garman. Frontier Linden refused my offer, and I then said, "Nice Customer Support". At this point, you would think, any employee would stop and think to themselves, "Am I handling this correctly?" I don't mean according to the "Policies", as we all know, Linden Lab Policies are flat out WRONG when it comes to Customer Service, and a number of other things too! Now, back to our thought here, "Am I handling this correctly?" What would be in the best interest of the Customer and our business? How can I best handle this request so the CUSTOMER is HAPPY with our product? All of these are valid business questions and SHOULD be asked before responding to any Customer. Instead though, our friend Frontier Linden just used the old stand-by "Contact Support".

Here's one of my BIGGEST PET PEAVES in all of Second Life and in Linden Lab employee's. If you read the profile of the Linden's you run into, 95% of them have in their Profile that if you want SUPPORT, you should contact the Website and leave them be. If you are going to be in-world as an employee of Linden Lab, you should be overly kind to ANY Customer that contacts you and before you brush them off to "Contact Support", you should LISTEN to what they are saying and ask yourselves those questions we mentioned earlier. IF the issue isn't something you can't take care of quickly and easily or you just don't know how, then perhaps you should contact Support FOR the Customer and put the two together for a chat, instead of coldly saying, "Contact Support and leave me alone". Remember, we pay YOUR salary. WE are the reason YOU have a job!

Without Customers Linden Lab employee's wouldn't be able to feed their families. Without Customers Linden Lab employee's wouldn't be able to pay rent or their mortgage. Wihout Customers Linden Lab employee's wouldn't have a job. What would they do next? Blame the Customers? If Second Life fails, it will fail in part due to the FAILURE of Linden Lab employee's practicing Common Sense Customer Service.

So here's to you Robin and Frontier, it's time to brush-up on your Customer Service skills. Don't, and you have no one to blame but yourselves if Second Life fails!


Anonymous said...

Um, so... if your standing in line at the bank and someone walks past the line of customers and goes up to the teller and asks to break a $20 and the teller refuses because she has customers waiting and asks them to wait in line like everyone else then by your definition that is bad customer service. Yeah. Uhhuh. Okay.

I don't think Lindens spend their time sitting on their asses playing zyngo. Whenever I contact live chat they fix me up right away with no problems. Sometimes it takes a while to get through though. I always imagined that's because they were busy. Now I know why. They have to spend their time telling people like you to please use the support tools as intended so they can get back to work.

Oh, here's a idea. If tps are broke how about logging out and logging back in to that sim instead of assuming Lindens are there for your personal taxi service?

Bob Bunderfeld said...

Oh I like this. Anonymous said :)

Let's see, did I say that a Linden should drop everything they were doing and take care of me RIGHT AWAY? Let's look....ummmm....ummm... nope don't see anything like that in the post, perhaps you are just angry cuz you like Auntie Robin and Cousin Frontier?

I never said Linden's spent their time playing with anything, let alone Second Life; perhaps that's part of their problem too?

BUT, if a Linden Lab employee is in-world, and something isn't working according to how it should, then said Linden Lab employee shouldn't be so rude to say, "Contact Support" and leave it at that. Said Employee should have some Common Sense and know that Customer Service is one of the KEYS to Second Life's survival.

When you forget Customer Service all together, you merely harm your business. Customers choose NOT to invite friends, business associates, etc., and therefore Linden Lab loses even more business.

Linden Lab employee's need to understand this and act accordingly. They need to remove the "See Customer Support instead of me" crap in their profile and take time for the Customer!

IF Linden Lab employee's practiced simple Customer Service, then Linden Labs' reputation wouldn't be as it is today; crap!

But I appreciate your comments, tell Auntie Robin or Cousin Frontier you gave it a try, just a morbid one, like Linden Labs' Customer Service!

Anonymous said...

Let me share my "lil experince" with customer service at LL.
Back on Sept 12 of 2008 my wife and I were in a very bad hurricane.
We didnt have power.phones,cable. or internet for almost a month.
About 2 weeks into this ordeal I was able to finds omeone who had a wireless laptop clear across town,but of course, he didnt have SL installed on it! lol
We own a very popular and very busy store in SL and we had know way of letting anyone in SL know what happend to us.
So when I was finaaly able to get to a computer, the only place I could get to was the blog page for SL. I had left a response in one of Katt's blogs telling everyone what happened to us and gusess what she did? She deleted it!
So I left another response in her blog telling her how cold blooded that was of her and she deleted that one also!
When I could finnaly get back into SL (apx 4 weeks later) all of our land was gone and so was our store we had over 2 years.
THey felt "So Bad" about what happend to us that they in turn "gave" us an O sim...then turned around and did there bait and switch tactic on everyone.
SO as a result we eneded up dumping the OS sim.
All I can say is customer service at LL sucks wind big time at any level.