I have many friends who are designers and creators in Second Life. Many have stories of dealing with irate and difficult customers. In this slice of SL Etiquette 101, I will discuss how to deal with irate and difficult customers.
Imagine that you are a creator or business owner in Second Life and you log in to find a few angry note cards from a customer. Upon reviewing the note cards you realize that the customer is very angry and seems somewhat demanding in their responses. Before you can even respond to the note cards, the customer is in your im box and is angry about several issues.
How do you respond in this situation?
Let the customer have their say: First remain calm, let the customer say what they want to say. Most people if angry, simply want someone to hear their side of the story. Do not argue back with the customer or engage them. Let the customer type out why they are angry and most importantly let the customer vent.
Whos to blame? After reviewing what the customer has ranted about, see if the customer may have misread the product instructions or if what the customer wants you to do is against your business policies. In any case do not blame the customer. If the customer has misread instructions or your policies, clarify nicely what steps the customer can take in order to rectify the situation. Do not take the blame, unless you are 100% sure that you made a mistake in any documentation that the customer may have a question about.
Rectifying the situation: At this point you can either replace the product if the customer has received a faulty product or you can offer a refund or a gift card. If the customer is complaining about rude employees at your business, assure the employee that you will speak to your employees about the situation and that you will take care of it.Do not say things that are negative about your employees to the customer. Simply saying “you will take care of the situation” or “you will look into the situation” is sufficient enough.
Of course throughout the process your emotions may be at an all time high, especially if you are being verbally abused or threatened by the customer. When dealing with these emotions remember to not take the situation personally. Some people are going to be irate and difficult regardless and you cannot please everyone. All you can do is offer remedies to the situation, it is up to the customer to accept the remedies. Remember to always try to remain calm. Do not lose your temper at the customer. In Second Life, remember that despite the TOS, people do share conversations and note cards and not just in Second Life, but on various social media sites as well. Your conversation could end up in groups and everywhere.
So what do you do if you simply cannot rectify the situation? Say you have given an irate customer every thing possible to make the situation better, from a refund to product replacement. This is where you have to question the “customer is king” mentality.
The Customer is Not Always Right
You may have heard of the phrase, “The customer is always right.” I have to disagree with this phrase in certain circumstances.Dealing with irate and difficult customers who are clearly in the wrong can take up valuable time that could be spent on your not so difficult and nicer customers. You simply cannot please everyone, no matter how hard you try. Energy should be spent dealing with customers who are loyal and reasonable and will support your brand no matter what.
Also remember that if a customer has insulted one of your managers or employees and if you back that customer, this will put unnecessary stress on those employees and they may less likely to bring up issues to you, if they know that they do not have your full support. Of course if your employees are in the wrong, then of course the customer is right, but in situations where your employees were harassed and verbally abused by a customer for no reason at all, you should back your employees.
Lastly irate and difficult customers can lead to ways where you can improve your customer response mechanisms. Review each situation and think how you can avoid those situations again or what you could do differently in case the situation arises.
In our next helping of SL Etiquette 101, we will flip the script and discuss how you the customer can handle irate and difficult creators and business owners in Second Life.
Until next time!