In RL when I shop and sometimes there is a problem with my order, this is what I do: I contact customer service, or go back to the store (depending on the situation) and make sure that I do indeed get what I paid for.
Most people can relate to that experience and maybe have done the same thing. However, what is a mystery to me, is that sort of thing does not seem to happen very much in SL. Has everyone bought into the ex- CEO Philip Linden’s protestations that linden dollars are “fake money” and have no intrinsic value inside or outside of SL? That is hard for me to believe. If you buy or sell lindens, you have to access you RL money at some point.
Based on that, what you purchase inside Second Life has value, and if you have a problem with your purchase, wouldn’t you do what you for sure would do in the RL situation mentioned above? So:
Why are consumers afraid to contact the designers/content creators?
One thing to keep in mind is that we are all human beings behind our avatars. And as such, we make mistakes. Here is something that happened to me. I had some of my items for sale in a friend’s store. As it turned out, I had put the wrong design inside one of the boxes out on display.
I was finally told of my error by a person who had bought the design, expecting it to look like the box picture, and was surprised to find out that it was a whole different design. This person was making sure to get what she paid for. I had no problem getting her the correct design, and with the new information I was also able to fix the sales box.
I then looked back over my account history and found out that well over 15 people had purchased the same item and had not contacted me about the mistake I had made. I contacted each of the people, and gave them the design they had originally paid for.
It is still a mystery to me why only 1 out of about 20 people bothered to contact me. Do people just buy things in SL, and if they are not what they thought they were – they just shrug and move on? If so, why? Curious.
Not to mention if the first person who had purchased the fubared item had contacted me, I would have been able to correct the error and 20 other people would not have had to pay for something they did not want.
I will say this: If you contact the person who made the item/design/build or whatever it is you have purchased and have issues or questions about ~ it helps everyone.
You get your problem resolved. The designer is made aware of the issue. Other consumers coming along behind you benefit. Win-Win-Win situation.
For Consumers. What NOT To Do: Complain about the item to your friends, groups, blogs etc when you have not even contacted the creator to give them a chance to resolve the issue. Do NOT be rude when contacting the creator. That is simple manners and I cannot figure out how being rude would be helpful.
For Designers/Creators. What NOT To Do: Have poor customer service skills. If/When someone contacts you with an issue (hopefully politely) hear them out and do what you can resolve the issue. If someone does contact you in a rude manner; handle it as you see fit. I really cannot say what to do in that situation.
I am aware that there are bad apples in every bunch, but I think that if we all can stop for a moment, and conduct ourselves as we would in similar RL situations. For example, I am pretty sure that the majority of us would not scream at the person behind the Nordstrom’s customer service counter when going into the store to return an item or get a refund or whatever.
And remember: When in Doubt, Ask The Designer. Not your best friend, or a fellow fashionista~ talk directly to the content creator. I for one would rather know sooner than later if there is something wrong with anything I have created.
My IMs go directly to my email so none are lost. You can contact me here on my blog, you can leave me a message via my in-store Assistant. I am not a scary person, and if you approach me like the adults we are all supposed to be, I have no problem working hard to resolve whatever issue you may have. I am allergic to drama so try not to bring any nearby ;)
See you in world!